Home > Ask the Advocate > Advocating for Field Trip Bus Transportation: How to State Your Case by Pat Howey
Advocating for Field Trip Bus Transportation: How to State Your Case
My daughter uses a wheelchair. I received an email from her school asking if I would be willing to transport her on a field trip. The district can not provide a special needs bus that morning and get her there on time for the field trip. My daughter is the only one affected because she's on wheels.
Does the school have to get her there at the same time the other students will arrive so she doesn't miss out on any of the special activities?
Or do I have to settle for her arriving after the fun has already begun. Arriving late will cause her miss a cruise down the river.
2. Read Chapter 24 in Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy.
4. Write a "letter to a stranger" documenting the details you have described in your email to me. Thank the school in the first paragraph for giving your child the opportunity to go on the field trip with her peers, even though the school will not be able to transport her with her peers.
Note: If you must take time off from work to do this, be sure to put that information in your letter, asking the school to reimburse you for any amount of work time that you will lose from this arrangement.
8. Indicate that should the school find it is able to transport your child, to please let you know as soon as possible. Otherwise, you will plan on being the "school bus" for your child.
State that you:
Indicate that you are not filing a complaint this time, but that you would appreciate any technical assistance each agency could provide your school. Ask for confirmation of your understanding that it is the school's responsibility to provide transportation for your child, just as it does for non-disabled children.
Meet Pat Howey
Patricia Howey has supported families of children with disabilities since 1985. She has a specific learning disability and became involved in special education when her youngest child entered kindergarten. Pat has children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who have a variety of disabilities and she has used her experience to advocate for better special education services for several of them.
Pat began her advocacy career as a volunteer for the Task Force on Education for the Handicapped (now InSource), Indiana’s Parent Training and Information Center. In 1990, she opened her advocacy practice and served families throughout Indiana by representing them at IEP meetings, mediation, and due process hearings.
In 2017, Pat closed her advocacy practice and began working on a contract basis as a special education paralegal. Attorneys in Indiana, Texas, and California contracted with her to review documents, spot issues, draft due process complaints, prepare for hearings, and assist at hearings. In January 2019, she became an employee of the Connell Michael Kerr law firm, owned by Erin Connell, Catherine Michael, and Sonja Kerr. Her duties have now expanded to assisting with federal court cases.