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Monique:  My child is in high school and her Spanish teacher is refusing her to use her notes on test and quiz. Her IEP ACCOMMODATIONS on her IEP is that she can have use of notes generated in class and go to testing center. What can i do?

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At my child’s school IEP’S are changed without any type of meeting or notification and placements can be changed as well. Teacher are allowed to decide if they feel like following an IEP or 504 plan. Principal says its his school and he will do what he wants. Superintendent backs him up and complaining to the state is not helping. My sons placement is now a self contained Autism classroom instead of being mainstreamed and his goals are all vague now. What should I do now?


If a complaint to the state is not working, request for mediation or a due process hearing could be tried. Usually, you have to go to due process before you can file a suit in a court. Your state parent training and information center can assist you.


Your next step needs to be in writing. First, write a query note to the teacher (if you haven’t already), copy the principal and sp.ed. director, and state that your daughter (or whomever) says she has not been allowed to use her accoms in class and could teacher explain why. That should get the wheels cranking at the admin level. If you already know all of this, I would recommend sending a letter of inquiry to the principal and sped director, asking for a clear, board approved policy (there won’t be one) which allows the teacher to refuse to provide accommodations, and give a reasonable date by which you expect a reply. If still nothing, file a complaint, attaching your paper trail.


The case Chuck referred to is “Doe v. Withers,” decided by a WV jury in 1992. Doe v. Withers was also the first special education dollar damages case. The jury awarded $15,000 in damages to the student.

Facts: history teacher refused to provide accommodations in child’s IEP (oral testing by an LD teacher), despite being told that he needed to do so by the principal, special ed director, and special ed teacher. The child failed history. The history teacher belittled the boy in front of his classmates. Later the school had to retest the boy’s knowledge of history. The boy spent hours studying for this retest. This caused his grades in other classes to drop. And he failed history.

The complaint & jury instructions are here:


It is possible that the teacher in question may not know what to do. In this case, a person from the Special Education program should step in and assist the teacher. In addition, the campus’ leadership team should step in and provide training in understanding the basics of Special Education program. Not a lot of teacher education program provides a succulent understanding of this federal-backed program.


Do you find that more and more teachers are non compliant in this matter? I do. Worse, some principals, etc. are not enforcing the teachers to accommodate. I find this more at the middle and high school level. For some friends, it has been very frustrating. In one case, the principal moved my friend’s son out of one class into another of a more accommodating teacher. The principal and special ed director had NO influence on the non compliant teacher–small town, politics, nepotism, etc.


The union made sure in my dd elementary school that teachers weren’t forced to do a thing. They attacked the parent in retaliation for trying. The middle school is much better in our case


I am a special educator and have been for 22+ years. This is part of the problem. Most sped teachers I know will always do what is best for the child and step in as a team. Personally I have given copy of notes or whatever the accommodation happens to be for the child. It is districts not providing enough PD on special education and that’s sad.


You can discuss this, verbally, & in writing with the principal, & special ed director. There is a case from 10+ years ago, where a HS teacher was sued by the parent for not providing accommodations. The teacher lost & had to pay some $. School attorneys use this case to remind educators to follow the IEP. Wrightslaw should know the citation for this case.


I am facing this issue with my daughter whose Science teacher refused to provide accommodations throughout the year and even laughed when another student pulled a chair out from under my daughter. The Science teacher gave her a D on her final exam, no accommodations (she got A and Bs on her other subjects that provided accommodations) and her study guide was blank. I have been arguing with the district for re-testing. They are saying they can not accommodate my request because the school year is now over. Any advice on what step I should take next?


If I were you bring it up with BOE or your school committee