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Derrick: Our son has bipolar disorder and RAD and experienced severe abuse prior to adoption. He has an IEP for behavior, but is incredibly intelligent. The district wants to move him to another school where they have “more resources” for kids with behavior issues. His current school is in the top 5% academically and the proposed new school is in the bottom 25%. District is acting like we have no say as they say he cannot get an education in his current school because of his behaviors. Besides offering him stickers for good behavior and offering breaks when he gets frustrated, they haven’t tried much else. Ideas?

  1. They are doing this to my son. He has Aspergers and has such difficulty relating to other peers. Recently he began picking on two kids (boy and girl) in his class. They both loss their mom’s recently. Son has been saying oh your mother is dead to both of them. I requested a meeting and an FBA to find out what his triggered are to help him. At the meeting i was told that the teacher has been writing him up for each incidence and he gets ISS. I was astounded at this. I told them that they are not to do that again and that he needs help. School has decided to remove my child from school and place him in a Behavioral school. They cannot help him and will not tolerate him bullying the other kids. I might also mentions that the kids friends retaliated against my son. Please help me?

    • Mary – you have a lot going on here, but it helps to understand the process. I’m assuming your son has an IEP. There needs to be a Manifestation Review meeting that involves you and the IEP team before a change in placement can be made. There is a defined process in IDEA for placement decisions related to discipline. Please read this article:

  2. I’m not an expert on this, but I think you might be able to file for due process and get a stay put order.

    Can you get an advocate from your county mental health association?

    This might be the sort of case a lawyer would take, with no charge unless the family prevails. You can try both private practice and your state’s disability rights advocacy law offices. Transfer out of Least Restrictive Environment over parent objections is a high priority case, more likely to be taken by disability rights folks.

    Try to work with the school to get more effective supports in place. Has there been a recent, good Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA)? If not, request this right away. See if your district has a behavior specialist who could be brought in for a consult. If there is a chapter of the Tourette Association in your area, they may be able to point you to some resources and ideas. I realize your child doesn’t have Tourette’s, but there is some overlap between bipolar and Tourette’s, and in some parts of the country, the Tourette’s folks are really on the ball, and you might be able to tap into that.

    The occupational therapist can provide equipment and consults to teachers. He should be getting programmed breaks in addition to breaks as needed. If he’s getting frustrated and then being given a break, that suggests to me that the break should have been given earlier. Also, why is he getting frustrated so often? That shouldn’t be happening.

    You may be able to get some ideas about specific supports from the Tourette Catalog of Accommodations:

    One more idea — do visit the other school to see for yourself. You never know.

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