Placement: DEFINITION – IS SCHOOL COVERING UP UNILATERAL DECISION?

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T.W.:  Hi, My 12 year old daughter just started 6th grade. She has an IEP and was given a schedule that required all kids with IEP’s to have Academic Success (Resource) and then general ed classes for everything else. She is dyslexic and nearly 3 grade levels behind in reading (if you don’t include the fact she was held back a year in Kindergarten which would make it 4 yrs behind). She did not meet her IEP goals, did not meet requirements for CAASPP testing, Assessments and classwork all show she is failing from lack of FAPE last year. With that said, her new Resource teacher at middle school has decided to change 1/2 the classes (all LD) students schedules to have different class schedules. She refuses to state why. I am arguing that if there is a problem with daughter’s current schedule/placement that would be the only reason to completely change her existing schedule. Thus stated before changing placement we need to have an IEP to allow parents to be involved in this decision as I suspect that her placement is in a classes with all LD students on campus at lower levels and this decision was made unilaterally by district and school without parent involvement. I was told it was not a placement change, and that no IEP would be done. Still not a single soul from school or district can tell me “WHY” half the LD kids will be placed with completely different schedules and most likely all in the same classes. It sounds very suspicious as if it is a placement change, but schools don’t want to call it that, so they can avoid the time, and money it takes to have IEP’s to get parents involved on such a decision, as the school is trying to pass this off as a simple scheduling conflict (but according to my daughter it impacts half of the LD kids in Resource). It’s way to fishy to not call it for what it is. False information given to parents. Resource teacher refuses to explain the need for the change or school principal.

With all that said, can someone clarify what the definition of “Placement” is in the terms of special education? They are trying to call it a scheduling change, but if all these kids are impacted and going into the same classes, it appears they are segregating them into LD classes, which is a placement change, and trying to avoid parent involvement in these changes though we are part of the IEP Team. Please advise.

Thanks,

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Sophie

Sadly, I have seen schools try to wriggle out of the parent participation requirement with this sort of trick. Keep advocating. If you have a meeting soon and agree to give their idea a try, make sure you pin them down to meet again in on month to evaluate the results.

Sharon L.

Based on your information this does not sound like a change of placement. An example of change of placement is to remove a student who is on an IEP to a “change of placement” off of the IEP and now to be in the mainstream class like other students. Keep in mind that you have a right by law to request an IEP meeting any time you deem necessary. You can request an IEP meeting to be sure that services as stated on your child’s IEP are being met.