IEP Meeting: CAN WE INVITE THE DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT?

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Heather: The brief background is that the school has engaged in unprofessional and bullying tactics at previous child study, IEP, and 504 meetings. As the parent I have been the model of decorum and have not engaged but the principal is beyond the pale, blurting predetermination statements, yelling at me as though I am a child in the office in the presence of parents and staff, calling me to pick up my autistic son for “an emergency” and then refusing to tell me what happened to facilitate my leaving work and rushing to the school to get my autistic child. I have written a letter to the superintendent which I am afraid to send because I fear she will deny my son services or enact vengeance on him in some way. I was thinking if I could invite the district superintendent, her supervisor, to the next meeting, either he will witness the behavior or she will keep herself in check which would ultimately result in a better outcome. Of course that is dependent on whether he would choose to attend as well, but perhaps you can answer if it is allowed?

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Rosalie

I did this too. I invited to the Director of Special Education and the Superintendent and it backfired on me. They both showed up and turned against me and my daughter. If I made suggestions for accommodations and modifications they changed them. Both of them decided that my daughter who is Autistic will not be mainstreamed so that the other kids can have a break from her. She will be placed in a self contained classroom. I tired explaining to them that I don’t want this and they don’t care. I filed a state complaint and requested for mediation. What else should I do to help my daughter?

Chuck

You certainly have the right to invite the superintendent, but they can choose whether or not to attend. Often school attorneys will tell them not to attend. Districts have policies/procedures regarding making complaints up the chain of command. I suggest a letter to the superintendent to request concerns that you have about your child’s education that you have not been able to resolve with the principal. Then present a letter with more detail at that meeting.

Jill G

I agree with this, and want to add a few thoughts.

Your state may have what is called early/alternative dispute resolution options – things like facilitated IEP meetings, ombuds, or case managers. Such options are often very helpful in situations like yours. Your local parent center can give you info about these, if they exist (http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/).

Chuck mentions the “chain of command,” which is important to follow – perhaps there is an intermediary between the Principal and Superintendent? Is there someone in charge of special education in your district? Has he/she been attending meetings? If not, perhaps invite him/her instead, or at least keep them in the loop.

And whatever you decide to do, you and your child do have protections against retaliation (see here: https://www.wrightslaw.com/info/retal.index.htm).

Heather

Thank you for your response. I sent the letter, it is called a third party complaint. You are right, the head of special education is going to run the next meeting.

Patti

I love it when the Do Ed director attends. We can usually cut to the chase, shake hands and move forward

Patti

Take a knowledgeable advocate with you. What state are you in?

Heather

Thank you for your response. I did send the letter and it is being taken seriously and handled by the district.