Why Schools Usually Say “No!”

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My son is going to middle school. Same district, new school, just blocks apart. His 1:1 (same para for 3 years) has been the best thing that has come into his life ever.

We want his para to follow him to middle school.

The Special Education Director says this para can not follow him. He will have a few different paras at his new school. Can we get around this?

When parents ask for a specific service or person, schools usually say “No.”

They don’t want to be in the position of doing what a parent asks, even when the parent makes a reasonable request. Even though the IEP team may work well together, it is a small part of a large system.

If you have an unusual request, sometimes you run into an “invisible administrator.” You need to learn about school culture and the rules of the game.

You need to learn about school systems and how your district resolves problems and makes decision.  Your district is a bureaucracy with rules, customs and traditions, and a chain of command.

When you learn the rules, you will be a more effective advocate and negotiator for your child.

It’s time to learn the rules of the game! Turn to Chapter 4 in your Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy book.

You will learn about:

  • Gatekeepers
  • One-Size-Fits-All (OSFA) special ed programs
  • “We can’t make exceptions” rules

See “10 Reasons Why Schools Say No” here: http://www.fetaweb.com/02/10_reasons.no.htm

Next, read “Why ‘No’ May Not Really Mean ‘No'” here https://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=66

To learn more about how to help the school WANT to help your child, review the Special Ed Advocate, Oct. 16, 2012.



  1. I was concerned about the change of aides/Para too. But my spec. Ed. Coordinator convinced me the change would be a good thing. First, my son has to learn to interact with many people. Second, if that Para were ill or absent, if he were not familiar with the other paras, he might have more difficulty. Third, new paras can sometimes make our children grow. IMHO you should give it a try. You can go to ARD again if you find your son can’t adjust.

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