Inflexible School Policy… “We Do NOT Retain! Not Ever!”

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My 8th grader is deaf, has dyslexia and a language delay.  Her current center-based deaf ed program has a teacher of the deaf and peers who all communicate directly with her.

She feels safe, has friends, and is finally making progress. The school wants to “promote” her to high school. For stability, I think she should remain one more year at the center.

School says “absolutely not.”  We do NOT retain…period.  Our policy is to NOT hold students back…ever.  Can I ask the IEP team to make this decision?

Short answer: Yes, the IEP team can – and is legally required to – design an educational program that is individualized and designed to meet your daughter’s unique needs.

This includes decisions about where your child will be educated = placement.

If the school district has a policy on retention, it needs to be flexible enough that the IEP team can design a program specifically for your child.

The IDEA requires IEP teams to make individualized decisions.

The IDEA does not include any exemption or exclusion for one-size-fits-all school policies because these policies cannot meet the unique needs of all students including students with disabilities.

In fact, most school policies are often designed to make life easier for school administrators. It’s much easier to say “we don’t do that” than to take the time to make individualized decisions.

 The school’s policy is to advance all students including students with special needs so they don’t suffer the social stigma of retention.

  • Every child will not feel “social stigma” if retained.
  • Social stigma will be less important than feeling safe enough to learn.

In general, research on retention shows it is not an effective intervention for children. Social promotion is a problem as well.

One-size-fits all programs and policies do not work.

This is why the law requires schools to provide services that are individualized to meet the unique needs of each child. Many schools don’t seem to understand the requirement that they must individualize instruction and educational programs.

  1. I have grandson, I am his legal guardian. The school kept him back this yr 9-10 grade. Not sure about diploma going to happen either.I Had have a IEP. Asked for tutoring no life skill offered not sure of anything. I know he has no social skills.They tired Sharpn training. That didn’t work out either. I have talked to Special director of the school. We haven’t even talked about Summer School or ESY. He had it last yr due to getting involved with DCF some other service. I feel the school doesn’t want to deal with me. I have been told by the school I am a bad parent because he fight with me to go to school. The only thing school did, shorten his day. The also push his annual review to the end of May. What’s the time frame by law in the need to have this done by? Thanks for any help.

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