With no warning, the school changed my son from Spanish to Computers because the Spanish teacher decided he didn’t want to deal with Josh. He didn’t like his attitude. Josh has an IEP, E.D. He has ODD and anxiety.
I was never notified of a problem. Josh knew nothing about this change either. He was devastated.
The principal said that there would be a meeting the next day to change Josh’s schedule because he was “no longer allowed” in his Spanish class. At the meeting, the special ed staff said that this was legal, that “the teacher has a contract and he is not required to teach a student who exhibits behavior of not wanting to learn.”
What can I do to prevent this from happening again?
Your son is either misbehaving and the school should follow the rules for kids who misbehave, or he is behaving like a kid with anxiety and ODD, so the school staff need to deal with this as an educational issue.
It is okay for the school to:
- provide a teacher who is able to teach your son.
- expect all teachers to follow the steps in school policies for disciplining students.
- get teachers more training in classroom management and discipline when they need it.
It is not okay:
- just to teach the easy kids.
- for a teacher to take his personal issues into the classroom.
You attended a meeting where the rest of the IEP team told you that unilaterally moving your child out of Spanish and into computers was “totally legal.” It doesn’t look like that to me and it doesn’t look like that to you, but we are not attorneys. If Josh plans to go to college, he probably needs that foreign language.
The longer Josh is out of Spanish, the harder it will be to get him in and up to speed.
- Reread Josh’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).
- Reread the school handbook or policy manual. Copies of discipline reports are usually mailed home to parents.
- Read these articles: Disciplining Students with Disabilities and Functional Behavior Assessments: What, Why, When, Where, and Who? You’ll find more articles about behavior issues here.
Make sure your son sees his outside therapist as often as recommended.
Speak to an attorney early on to get the correct letters written or perhaps file a civil rights complaint, depending on the attorney’s advice. You want to get the correct process in place right from the start.
I don’t suggest going into a school meeting with a 500 pound shouting attorney. I do suggest that you get an attorney involved now, when you need legal advice. But if you plan to consult with an attorney, do this before you make decisions and take action, rather than after the fact.
What may be a solution is to take the transfer to computers now, and let the attorney work on getting compensatory education, or another teacher, in another year, for Spanish. The Spanish teacher does not seem emotionally stable. I would be careful about fighting for the right to spend a year with this Spanish teacher as the prize.
Today – Read the IEP, the handbook, and the articles about behavior problems.
Tomorrow – Call an attorney who has expertise in special education issues.
Read all of Josh’s story at Behavior Problems: It Isn’t OK Just to Teach the Easy Kids at http://www.wrightslaw.com/heath/behave.not.teach.htm.