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Cat:  I’m an SLP who recently began working in the state of California. I’m working in a junior high school.

I have several students who receive curriculum support, but spend the majority of their day in regular education classes. I was told not to pull these student from their curriculum support because their special education minutes are written into the IEP. I’ve been trying to pull the majority of my students from their electives (most of my students receive speech therapy 1x per week and they have their elective every day).

Today I pulled a student from his elective and his teacher stated loudly in front of the class that he would be penalized for missing class, unable to make-up the work, and that his grade would suffer. I tried to explain that his speech therapy time was mandated in his IEP and it was binding, legal document. She said she didn’t care.

I apologized to the student who was blinking back tears and said I would find another time to see him. Unfortunately, this student seems to be struggling to maintain an average grade in all his academic classes.

I’m furious, but I can’t seem to find anything legal and specific that states that teachers can’t penalize students for missing general education time to receive special education services. I spoke to administration and they said there was nothing that can be done. I feel like this teacher is basically punishing this student for his disability.

Is there any legal recourse?

  1. As a FINE ARTS teacher, we have laws in my state as to how many hours are allowed to be missed for pull outs from a fine arts course. You are degrading the value of our subject. We are accountable, as well as our students, for our classes. Nothing makes us angrier than a “core” teacher believing they are superior. We all need the SAME credentials to become a teacher. It is likely, your student will obtain a career in the arts. Your students need to be a whole learner. How many times in life have I ever needed to use algebra or disect a frog? Zilch! How many times have I need to understand art and design? Too many! Stop making school miserable and stop acting almighty! Kids need the Arts! Period.

  2. I am a Gen.Education teacher in Middle School. These days we are preparing the students for the State Exam in May. As I have observed, the special education teacher is helping the SPED students by doing intentional small group (pull out) to help special education students review for the test. Campus Administration has instructed that they can not do pull outs because it is a Violation of their IEP. Some of the students are more comfortable in small groups. Is it an IEP Violation and what other options can they do to help the students?

    • The answer may vary state by state, and even by district. I suggest taking it up the district’s chain of command. The special education director may want/need to take the issue to the state education agency.

  3. I am the gen ed teacher in a similar situation, except I am a core teacher. The entire grade level pull-outs get pulled during my class. Can any SPED people tell me why they can’t be pulled during art, music, computer, etc? I don’t penalize when they miss, but I do try to make sure they catch up. They miss at least 3/4 of my class each time they are pulled. Why are they pulling from a core class?

    • Bottom line this is an “administrative” decision made at the campus level by principals, &/or counselors. On some campuses students are pulled out of these classes or not allowed to take them or be in sports/extracurricular activities. In some cases it may be that someone feels the student needs the “fun” classes because of the stress in the gen ed class. In other cases it may be because the provider is only on the campus for a while, or has a heavy load. Scheduling can be a “nightmare” at the upper levels, but to me educators, & parents need to try to get campus leadership to address this like other campus-wide issues, i.e. discipline, school climate, safety. Thanks for your concern about the students.

  4. I just wanted to share an incident that my daughter had in 6 grade, we had to have here pulled out of her music class, for RTI for math. The music teacher (of all people) said to her. Oh… your one of those RTI kids. Of course this was in front of the class as she was handing her the slip to leave the class. She treated her no better then her classmates,
    who is the adult here. She was later diagnosed with NLD

  5. Put the teachers name and the school principle’s name ( and school) on Facebook , twitter etc and create an example of how to be unprofessional and insensitive! This may sound absurd, but the truth is sometimes you have to appeal to the court of public opinion to get results! Possibly it will get the BOE to notice and deal with such an uncaring educator.

  6. I am also a SLP. I have students on IEPs who need “pull out” instruction. The principal is informing the related services providers that the student(s) can not be pulled out during core class, electives or RTI to provide the IEP services. This leaves us with the first 30 min in the morning and lunch to see all the students on the campus. Of course, we take into consideration each students needs and best time to pull them for services. Many students are seen using a “push in” model but for some student that model does not allow for the direct instruction they require. Do state/district (related services cannot happen as pullout during core curriculum, elective or RTI/MTSS time) rules and regulations override the IEP? Legally, when can a service provider “pull/not pull” students?

    • The services listed in the IEP are to followed. The district SLP supervisor or special ed director need to get involved with the principal to resolve this.

  7. I have a similar question. My son is in Special Ed. He is in first grade, and has pull-out or resource class 3 times a week. At the 1st parent teacher conference we found out that his general ed and P.E. teacher both gave him failing grades because he missed assignments/class from when he was in pull-out.
    Why are they not just grading him on the assignments he did? Is this legal? Why are they punishing him for his IEP accommodations? What can we do?
    I have requested another IEP meeting this morning.

    • It is not legal under the California state law and the capitol law says that you have to make exceptions and try to help and not penalize them for any thing due to their aliment. You can also get it in writing that they will give um a choice. Anything said allowed in front of students is another violation against the rules for personal information.

  8. There may be a FERPA violation here, if the teacher said these things in front of other students.

    I’m sorry I don’t have any more specific information for you about your main question; but I would encourage you to contact your state education department’s special ed unit.

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