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Parents Spouting Off – What Options Do You Have?

by Debbie Larson

Upset with the IEP process? Concerned about the constant chaos at IEP meetings? Have trouble maintaining control in your dealings with the school?  Turn that “chronic complainer” label around. Kill them with kindness. Personal notes, treats at meetings, and accentuating the positive first are strategies that will help.

Having Difficulty With Your Child’s Teacher?

  • Is your child struggling in class?
  • Does the teacher think you are blaming her for your child’s difficulties in school?

Consider talking with your child’s teacher so you better understand the teacher’s concerns. Express your concerns. If you find there is reason for her concern, discuss options and listen to her choices.  Document your conversations.  That way, you can refer back to the details and follow up with questions or action.

Sometimes parents who are under pressure “spout off.” They may not know other ways to express their concerns.

On the other hand, teachers may see parents as adversaries.  When someone does not share your professional perspective, it is normal and human to feel defensive.

Control Your Emotions

Take a deeper look. The empowered parent can be a teacher’s best ally.

When you can articulate the issues without bombast and realize the school is hearing your concerns, the chaos may decline.

Again, when parents feel empowered, they get their emotions under control and are less likely to explode.

Parents who spout off, chronically complain, or exhibit overtly aggressive behavior feel powerless to help their child. They feel left out of the team. They believe school personnel see them as less competent than the “professionals.” When parents become involved in the action plan to help their child, it is easier for them to calm down and take advantage of other options.

Can’t Afford an Attorney?

If a parent does not have the money to hire an attorney, there are other options.

For a much smaller amount (though still not cheap) you can consult with a special education attorney. This can result in developing a valuable action plan.

Consider connecting with an advocate from the Wrightslaw Yellow Pages for Kids.  Lay people are frequently very well versed in regulations and case law.  They also have the important experience of working directly with parents and districts.  They have been in the trenches and have seen the nitty gritty of special education issues.

If a district is not implementing an IEP, there are complaint processes through your state Education Department or Office for Civil Rights in DC.

I know, from experience, that the processes can be overwhelming and intimidating. If you are persistent enough, you can get results.

If you are like many parents, emotions are your Achilles heel. Learn how to use your emotions as a source of energy and power. Focus on getting an appropriate education for your child – that’s What Advocates Do.

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19 Comments on "Parents Spouting Off – What Options Do You Have?"


HOMESCHOOL!!!!! Want to see your child thrive? Wish for a happy, well adjusted child? Tired of beating your head into a wall? Tired of chasing nickles,wasting dimes… HOMESCHOOL is the answer! Parents, don’t be bamboozled by the “socialization” nonesense arguement. You CAN w/half a functioning brain do a FAR FAR FAR better job than any/ALL factory public school model. Fact is, they ONLY teach to the left brain, it’s all memorization, regurgitation w/a little a** kissing. The easy to teach kids get all the gravey, positive feedback while your great quirky mpaybe right brain learner gets the beans. What kind of life set up is that? Its your child, take your power back. You are the boss, they like it or not WORK FOR YOu.

I never EVER thought i could homeschool… He’s THRIVING!!!


Dori–by law they HAVE to have the meeting within that time frame. It is called a “compliance date” and schools can be in huge trouble if they do not hold the meetings within the compliance date. They should have had the meeting, decided on nothing because parent wasn’t there, started another timeline and then had another one when the advocate could be there.

K Davis

Killing with kindness does not always work! I tried that for 3+ yrs. They made the IEP with minimal help. Several time I called meetings, same old thing. My child was almost failing at that school. Then i refused to take no for an answer after getting up on the special ed laws. Then they did a bit more, but not what she needed. With constant bulling at school, she hated school. I wanted her school changed to a nearby school that had what she needed. They kept making excuses, finally A letter was sent to school that if they did not let her transfer, they would be sued. My oldest sent the letter, I don’t know what all was in the letter, but within two weeks we got the transfer and now she makes almost all A’s and is on grade level on all subjects. Mind you I did not get all emotional when dealing with them I was stern and direct.


It’s the Office FOR Civil Rights , not Office of Civil Rights :)

Julie K

When a school district is not abiding by IEP stipulations, and if IEP meetings are NOT diplomatically run, you should immediately quit messing around with your admin staff (that you pay with your taxes and they need to be reminded of that). File a complaint with your state education agency, and describe your problem. If the school receives certain types of funding, they HAVE to respond in a helpful and timely manner. It works! I’ve done it!
Once the IEP team knows that you “know the ropes,” things may improve. And if thing don’t improve, continue to contact you state Education Commissioner. I am serious. Good Luck. Remember, they are YOUR children!