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Question
My son (EI disabled) under his IEP was placed in gen ed classes this year. He was suspended for 10 days due to hitting a child and (he disagrees) hitting a teacher. The determination stated the incident was a result of his disability. The school declined to call the police or complete a police report. During the Manifestation Determination hearing the superintendent stated my son was a danger to himself and other students and would not be allowed back into the school. He also attempted to get me to sign a paper stating homebased schooling was acceptable. I refused and walked out. 4 days later we had an IEP meeting where they decided to remove my son from school and change his placement to homebased schooling. I explained to the IEP team that the last school year my son had been homebased schooled and due to his disability it did not work. He is ADHD, RAD, ODD and needs a more structured classroom and a teacher. I explained I had to hire a educator to assist him with the online work and he also had to attend 3 weeks of summer school with a 1v1 teacher from the school and they still had to delete all the testing and a significant portion of the coursework in order for him to pass the grade. They implemented the new IEP and I did not consent but they said they did not need my consent except for the very first IEP. I am presently writing a letter for a hearing but I have little ability and do not think it will be very good. I searched for an attorney but the closest one that works with special education is 7 hours away from me (I live in a VERY rural area of N. Michigan). My question is:

Does homebasedschooling violate LRE when he was in gen ed classes?

They gave him minimal homework the first week he was suspended but I requested more for the second week but they did not respond or send any homework so not only can he not so some of it on his own but he is behind his classmates by two weeks.

Where does he go to school when they refuse to let him back in? I have searched for the last 4 years for an alternative school but due to location there are not any except his public school.

I cannot afford a private teacher again as I went through all my savings the last school year when he was "home based schooled". I am not qualified to home school him and that is what they are forcing me to do.


My son is so beaten down he does not want to do anything anymore. He feels it is all his fault and just wants to do anything to make people be nice to him again. They targeted him during the IEP by asking him if he wanted this IEP and that it was a very good thing for him and asking him to agree to it (he is 15 years old).

I think I will fail him during the due process hearing. I know what they are doing is wrong and they will retaliate against him and me (they did it in the past) by writing him up for every infraction no matter how small even as gen ed kids get away with the exact same actions.

Should I just accept the home based schooling knowing he will not pass the 10th grade?

Answer
Troy,

Based on what you reported, your school district is in violation of many laws. Normally, when the Manifestation Determination concludes that the offense is a manifestation of the student's disability, the student is not punished. Rather the student's Behavior Plan is modified to attempt to keep the unwanted behavior from happening again. There are exceptions, such as harming other students and staff. But then an Expulsion Hearing must take place. Even if the student is expelled, the district still has an obligation to educate the student in the least restrictive environment == home schooling is one of the most restrictive environments.

A change of placement can not take place unless the parent agrees and signs an IEP calling for the change. The parent must sign each IEP. The school can not implement a change without an IEP. If the parent refuses to sign, the school can file for Due Process against the parent to see if a judge agrees with them.

The district has a legal obligation to provide your son a Free and Appropriate Education (FAPE) that meets his unique needs in the least restrictive environment. This can be another school, a private school, or district paid one on one teaching. Home schooling does not qualify in your son's case as a FAPE since he requires a teacher to make educational progress. This being the case, they must provide this teacher at no cost to you.

Home schooling does not help your son to overcome his disabilities. He needs to be in a school with other kids his age. Obviously, he requires supports such as counseling and one-to-one aide to keep his behavior in check. The district should give him these supports in another school -- if need be, a private school.

I do work with students in other states, but to go to a due process hearing is very expensive since I have to travel and stay locally while the hearing is going on. Unfortunately, the deck is stacked against the parent representing himself in these hearings.

I wish you and your son the best,
Tim Runner, Advocate
Advocates for Kids
Email: timrunner@gmail.com
Phone: (949) 582-3601
You can learn more at my web site:
www.special-education-answers.com  

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Tim Runner

Expertise

Questions concerning special education: IEP, assessments, Due Process, mediation, resolution conference, federal law, state law, qualifying for services, residential treatment, special day classes, resource specialists, procedures, having your child assessed, adaptive PE, speech & language, non-public school, FAPE, and tuition reimbursement.

Experience

I have been an education advocate representing students and parents for six years. My experience includes: representing my clients in IEPs, SSTs, Due Process, review assessment results for my clients, and mediations. I have represented clients with learning disabilities, autism, Downs Syndrome, cognitively challenged, emotional problems, learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, and physical disabilities. I have also represented clients to County Mental Health Departments and Regional Centers. My clients range from pre-school to college students in many states.

Education/Credentials
I have a degree in Mathematics from the University of California with minors in Psychology and Physics. I also studied applied statistics in psychology at the graduate level. I have taught college classes, conducted seminars, written articles for various publications, and testified as an expert witness.

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