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Sound Off! Your Reactions to the Settlegoode Case

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What did you think when you learned about the one million dollar verdict for Pamella Settlegoode, the special ed teacher in the Oregon retaliation case?

Many parents wrote to thank Pamella Settlegoode for battling the system and to wish her a good Thanksgiving. Oregon parents expressed relief that they were not alone.

Several special ed teachers wrote to describe personal experiences with retaliation when they advocated for their students.

We thought you would enjoy reading what others wrote about the case.

Kay, a special ed teacher wrote, "Thanks so much for sharing this powerful story with a lesson of which we must always be mindful. What a brave woman. I wonder how many of us would have the necessary persistence she maintained?" (Good question. Pam)

Mark, father of a child with autism wrote, "Please send our congratulations to counsel. We should devise a strategy to deal with our school district which has similar practices. I am a Past President of the State Bar and the father of a child with autism. We follow your approach and teach what we have learned from your materials. Keep up the momentum!" (Thanks Mark. We will keep it up! Pam)

Richard Light from UK wrote, "Because of a message forwarded to our mailing list, I read about the Pamella Settlegoode case (which I plan to report in our monthly bulletin) and visit your site. I will be adding a link to Wrightslaw from the Disabilities Awareness in Action (DAA) site. DAA is an international disability and human rights information network. Our site is at http://www.daa.org.uk/ Keep up the good work!"

Gary Mayerson, attorney for children with disabilities, wrote: "Pete, I have always communicated that if a district employee blows the whistle against their district to help one of my clients and that person gets fired, we will find a way to represent them for nothing under the whistle blower statute . . . what a great decision . . . it should send shock waves" (We agree. Pete)

Keith from Oregon wrote, "The problems Dr. Settlegoode was experiencing seemed to mirror that of what I and other parents were experiencing in Oregon. It was discrimination against my daughter, KC, and the unwillingness of the school administrators to stop the discrimination that got me started in the special education maze. "

"Chuck Levin's excellent review of the Oregon Department of Education complaint process in 1999 seems to describe what Dr. Settlegoode experienced accept from the teacher's side. 'Oregon Department of Education's Complaint System: Why Isn't it Working?' was published by the Oregon Advocacy Centers (OAC).

The Oregon Education Association also needs to represent the teachers so they can do their jobs without fear." (Keith, we agree. Pam)

Jerry from Minnesota wrote, "From 1956 to 1963, I attended John Marshall High School of Minneapolis. In those days, Marshall was a magnet school for disabled students because it had elevators. Disabled students from all over the city were bussed to John Marshall."

"Year after year, the gymnastics team for John Marshall was Northwest High School champions for a multi-state region. And on that team were boys with one leg, one arm, all sorts of impairments. They won state championships in the rings, the pommel horse, the high bar, you name it."

"Fully abled, I joined the team. I was sent over to the wrestling team because I wasn't good enough to compete with these guys. Every year, the team performed for the student body. It was really something -- to see those kids with disabilities out there doing things I could not dream of doing. I will never forget it." (Jerry, Thank you for sending us this story. I can see this in my mind's eye. Pam)

Jana wrote, "Awesome! I congratulate Pamella Settlegoode for her perseverance on behalf of children with special needs. Dr. S's success will bless the lives of many. When I read her story, I was reminded of the poem 'Success' by Emerson"-

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden path or a redeemed social condition;
to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded."

Sheila wrote, "Wow. How much do you want to bet that her husband's secretary typed all those letters." (Pam says, "No way!")

Kim wrote, "Everyone thinks this is a hoax. Last name of "Settlegoode" with a huge award? Please check the facts." (We did! Here is a link to the article.)

Dy wrote, "This case was of particular interest to me, personally. At first, I did not understand why she was directed to stop writing letters. Your comments reminded me of my favorite quote, 'If you didn't document it, you didn't do it!' The sample letters in FETA were excellent!" (We are glad you like the letters in FETA! Pam)

Jean, a teacher, wrote, "Thanks you for writing about this important case. I had a very similar experience as Dr.S. in a Florida school district. My professional license was dragged through the mud . . . Perhaps I can clear my name. I only wanted to help my students." (Good luck Jean. Pam)

Kate from Illinois, mother of child with autism, wrote, "Bravo! What an amazing story, and a wonderful write-up. Thank you for making my day." (Thanks for taking the time to write. Your letters keep us going! Pam)

A mom wrote, "I am amazed at how you keep us informed. Thank you for all your hard work. I was inspired by how one person can make a difference for so many. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!" (Thank you! Pam)

An Arizona special ed teacher wrote, "I was raised in Portland - I loved it! Anyone want to come to Arizona? I was harassed, received a letter of reprimand for something I didn't say, another letter from the special ed director stating she would get me. Sometimes, there is Justice in the world! Hip HIP Hooray!! I applaud the lady and wish her well." (If you have letters . . . well, think about it. Pam)

A California mom wrote, "This made my day. As the parent of a Special Needs child in California, this bolsters my faith. Thank you." (You are welcome! Pam)

If you missed our Alert about the one million dollar verdict to Pamella Settlegoode, the special ed teacher who was fired in Portland, you can read the inside story of the one million dollar verdict on the Wrightslaw site.

URL: http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/retaliate.settlegoode.htm

The "inside story" includes Pete Wright's interview of special ed teacher Pamella Settlegoode and her attorney husband Bill Goode, an analysis of the case, and links to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Portland Oregon, the proposed Pre-Trial Order detailing the factual and legal issues of this landmark case, and the Judge's Jury instructions.

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