Special Education/We just signed off on exiting my son's IEP and we feel very uncomfortable!!
Our 5-yr old son just started Kindergarten at a charter school and tonight we attended a "Special Evaluation" meeting called by the SP a week ago and ended up signing off on exiting my son's IEP and we completely regret and feel uncomfortable about it. It's a pretty complicated story with the school's situation (in regards to their financial and staff stability) and my husband and I feel we were pushed into signing off on exiting the IEP.
Is there a way to revoke or negate that signed paper, which we have no record.
Here are some reasons we want to negate:
1. It was our first time meeting the new principal, special ed specialist, psychologist, and OT at this meeting.
2. We went into this meeting thinking it was to discuss the postponed 30-day interim services meeting, hence the purpose on the invite was listed as a "Special Evaluation" meeting.
3. Our son was born with bilateral hearing loss (which is fluctuating) and have always been on a IFSP/IEP so his disability is permanent, yet the team very quickly decided to drop him from his IEP, had us sign off on it and did not give us a copy of it.
4. Since our last transition meeting with part of the the "old team," which consisted of only one person who attended tonight, they were supposed to evaluate my son because they could not adopt his previous IEP from the school district, and the last time we talked with that one remaining team member she mentioned they did not have the staff to evaluate my son. Yet in less than one week, the "new" team which we met for the first time tonight all agreed my son does not qualify an for IEP.
Help! What do we do now?
Time is of the essence-- thank you!!!
The best thing to do is to call the school and ask for another meeting to discuss your son's need for special education. When I teach new special education teachers about eligibility I tell them that they has to ask 3 questions to find a child eligible for special education. 1) Does the child have a disability? 2) Does the disability impact the child's educational progress? 3) Does the child need specially designed instruction (IDEA's definition of a special education)? If all 3 are yes then the child gets the unique individual services that he or she needs regardless of existing program staff, ability to hire staff, program in place, cost of placement, etc. The decision is based only on those three needs, not any administrative concern.
I have a couple of questions for you to think about...in the meeting they discuss any testing or evaluative tools that made them think your child no longer needed service or did they base the decision solely on their capability to provide what he needs? Was there data that demonstrated that your child could progress at a normal rate without special education?
I those two questions are answered as I think they will be, then your child is being denied FAPE because of the school's perception of ability to provide what he needs. Denial of FAPE is a violation of your son's civil rights. I often ask school officials to replace disability with the word black or Christian and see if they still feel the same about what they are discussing.
Your signature on the IEP unless it was the first one for your child, is not giving permission to place. The very first IEP/IFSP requires you to give permission for placement, the rest do not even require a signature. Only when the child is diagnosed with Specific Learning Disability does the law require you to approve or disapprove the plan. In practice most educators don't know this and feel that the signatures are somehow magically binding.
In your case, you need to ask for another meeting...then ask the questions...What data does the district have that your son won't need special education service as provided by his previous IEP? How do they know that when the child hadn't attended school there prior to the IEP dropping services? Then you share your concerns as you stated them to me, they are clear and valid concerns.
If they still conclude that he is dropped, then your next step is to call your State Department of Education, Exceptional Children Division, Dispute Resolution department...talk with a dispute resolution specialist and ask to file a formal complaint. The state will take 60 days to investigate and render a decision. At the same time, find out where your local Civil Rights Department is (usually a State Attorney General's office) and file a civil rights complaint against the school. Then make sure you understand each of the other resolution methods used by that state.
The school is required to have given you a copy of the IEP and a Prior Written Notice form informing you of the decision. Call and ask for those documents, if denied include them as part of your complaints.
You have valid concerns that come up often with Charter Schools. Rules for Charter Schools are relaxed because they somehow create innovation in education (reality...some do, some don't). Those rules are NOT relaxed in the Individuals with Disabilities improvement Act.
I wish you luck!