My son Josh is in the 7th grade. He is very popular and very bright. He also has an anxiety disorder and has been labeled with "Oppositional Defiant Disorder." Josh didn't have an IEP until 6th grade when he entered Middle School and began having problems at school. He has an IEP under the classification of "ED."
One month after school began, his Spanish teacher decided he didn't want to deal with Josh. He didn't like his attitude. I never received a phone call or email from the teacher or anyone at the school to advise me that there was a problem.
I ran into the principal, and she said that there would be a meeting the next day to change Josh's schedule because he was no longer allowed in his Spanish class. I pulled Josh out of class and questioned him. He didn't know anything about this change either. He was devastated.
At the meeting, the special ed staff said that this was legal, that “the teacher has a contract and he is not required to teach a student who exhibits behavior of not wanting to learn."
With no warning, the school changed Josh from Spanish to Computers. He is doing well in all his other classes now.
Your son is either misbehaving and the school should follow the rules for kids who misbehave, or he is behaving like a kid with anxiety and ODD, so the school staff need to deal with this as an educational issue.
It is okay for the school:
It is not okay:
Reread Josh's Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Reread the school handbook or policy manual. Copies of discipline reports are usually mailed home to parents.
Read these articles:Disciplining Students with Disabilities and Functional Behavior Assessments: What, Why, When, Where, and Who? You'll find more articles about behavior issues here.
Make sure your son sees his outside therapist as often as recommended.
Get the Correct Process in Place - Right from the Start
You attended a meeting where the rest of the IEP team told you that unilaterally moving your child out of Spanish and into computers was "totally legal." It doesn't look like that to me and it doesn't look like that to you, but we are not attorneys. If Josh plans to go to college, he probably needs that foreign language.
The longer Josh is out of Spanish, the harder it will be to get him in and up to speed.
Today - Read the IEP, the handbook, and the articles about behavior problems.
Tomorrow - Call an attorney who has expertise in special education issues. (see directories of attorneys below)
But if you plan to consult with an attorney, do this before you make decisions and take action, rather than after the fact.
I don't suggest going into a school meeting with a 500 pound shouting attorney.
I do suggest that you get an attorney involved now, when you need legal advice, as opposed to trying to find an attorney when you realize you that really needed legal advice several months/years ago. The attorney may be interested in obtaining a copy of the teacher's contract that supposedly allows him to pick and choose whom he will teach, to see if this provision really exists.
this will save you and your son much stress in the future. And right now your son not only needs a good solution, he needs a good solution soon.
Directories of Education Attorneys Who May be Able to Help
More Articles about Behavior and Discipline
Behavior and Discipline. Today, schools continue to suspend and expel students with disabilities for behavior caused by their disabilities. If you are advocating for a child with behavior problems, the articles and resources collected on this page will help.
Behavior Problems and Discipline: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know by Sue Whitney Heath.
Functional Behavioral Assessments: What? Why? When? Where? Who? Dr. Stephen Starin describes problem behaviors, functional behavior assessments, environmental manipulation, and qualifications and training of evaluators.
IDEA 2004: What You Need to Know About IEPs for Children with Behavior Problems - IDEA 2004 and the special education regulations include specific requirements for IEPs of children whose behavior impedes their learning or the learning of others -- including the training of teachers to use positive behavioral interventions and strategies.
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In Doing Your Homework, she
writes about reading, research based instruction, No Child Left Behind, and
strategies for using federal education standards to advocate for
and to improve public schools. Her articles have been reprinted by SchwabLearning.org, EducationNews.org, Bridges4Kids.org, The Beacon: Journal of Special Education Law and Practice, the Schafer Autism Report, and have been used in CLE presentations to attorneys. Sue Whitney's bio.
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