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Tiffany:  I teach children with learning disabilities, low-average to borderline IQs, in a self contained setting. I am case manager for a student with OHI in a crisis situation because they stripped him of his meds after he overdosed. This student has been serviced in the regular classroom, initially with a behavior plan that we’ve been able to move away from. Our coordinator wants to dump him into my classroom. He does not have a learning disability. This is not the least restrictive environment for him because I cannot support his learning when he’s grouped with kids who require a modified curriculum that is well below his ability level. I have stated that the law says placement can’t just be dumping him somewhere he doesn’t belong. The law specifically states “common learning need” when considering placement in a special ed self-contained classroom. There is not a common learning need with my grouping and his ability level. I am not sure how else to defend my position. I have a good rapport with this student. I could let them dump him in my room where it would be easier for him and he could do all the work and get straight As. It would also make my life easier. But this would be a disservice to him. I need support in how to handle this situation…

  1. Tiffany –

    First, good on you for looking out for this student’s needs. Second, this is a tough situation. Your ability to advocate for him is pretty limited.

    As I’m sure you know, decisions about a student’s IEP and placement are to be made by his IEP Team (which I’m presuming you’re a member of) – not by some outside administrator. One major thing you can do is voice your opinion about the inappropriateness of your classroom as a placement in any Team meeting called to address this.

    Another key thing you can do is Team up with the parent. Speak to him/her about your concerns and provide them with the information he/she needs to advocate for their child. The parent certainly has more tools at hand that are inaccessible to you, like the ability to request mediation or due process hearing.

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