Cardiologist Says “No PE.” Principal Disagrees. What Can I Do?

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My son has pulmonary hypertension. His cardiologist ordered no physical activity.  The doctor said he must be excused from PE because of the strain it puts on his heart.

The principal informed me that my son would have to participate in PE by walking around the gym for the entire duration of class. When I disagreed, the principal accused me of “trying to be argumentative” and refused to speak with me.

Can the school ignore the doctor’s orders? What can I do?

You need to document what happened when you talked with the principal by writing a “Letter to a Stranger.”

Your letter should document:

  • your child’s medical history
  • what his doctors told you
  • what the principal said in the meeting

Ask your cardiologist to write a letter describing:

  • your son’s condition
  • what he can and cannot do
  • the doctor’s position on walking for 30+ minutes.

Attach the doctor’s letter to your letter.

Your Letter as Evidence

Your letter needs to be factual, not emotional. Let the facts tell the story.

Read this article before you start to write:

If you don’t “put it in writing” and you have problems with this principal in the future, you have no proof that he took this unreasonable position.

If you DO put it in writing, your letter is the best way to protect your son now and in the future.

  1. Your child now qualifies for either an IEP based on OHI or other health impairment or a 504 plan. either can fill the bill legally. request and emergency meeting with the special education director and since you already have the documentation that SHOULD BE all you you need.

  2. If the school still disagrees with your letter and your doctors letter. Then you should consider starting the complaint processes because if your child has a LD with a IEP there should be a IHP on file at the school. OR a section 504 giving accommodations to your child.

  3. I know it is so frustrating and common when the staff at school make statements that you are argumentative or disruptive. I was so confident when I entered a IEP with 2 psychiatrist recommendations for AAC in addition to the schools own pick of a AT expert who completed a AT evaluation. The fact is in a IEP meeting all the expert opinions or the parents and student opinions only have to be “considered”. The at will employees in our district wouldn’t dare disagree with the IEP the director shows up with.

    • Child with orthopedic issues (5 knee surgeries in the past 4 years and plates in the knees) but Special Ed Teacher at small school told us that she had to do PE. FYI – They are so small they don’t have an adaptive PE class. Note from the Doctor excusing our child and Special Ed Teacher still said she has to do PE, has to earn credits to advance to High School. We reviewed State Law and as expected kids can be opted out of PE with a doctors excusal and no penalty. We provided all to school and there was still debate until I said excuse my child or I will dual enroll her (ie: remove her during PE time) which meant loss of funding for them. Suddenly our child was excused. Push the limit – it is your child, anyone that tries to blame you for being argumentative is a jerk so ask them what they would expect if it is was your child and if they are personally going to pay the medical bills plus damages for any injuries/suffering that your child experiences. This should end the argument

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