Manipulation, IEP's, Lawyers...HELP
Joined: Oct 13, 2008
Posted Oct 13, 2008 at 4:36:04 PM
Subject: Manipulation, IEP's, Lawyers...HELP
I was reading a post on another Special Education forum regarding Independent Evals paid by the School District and how often they will pay for it rather than pursuing a due process. What struck me is in my county they love filing due process complaints and I'm now potentially looking at another one.
Let's see,(this is going to be kind of long and sadly is a microcosm of the actual events).
About 2 years ago, after another infuriating IEP meeting I pulled my son and placed him at a private school designed for kids with ld's. He stayed there 2 years as an 8th grader (flourished and began to really learn) but the school only goes up to the 8th grade. Last year, I initiated a tuition reimbursement request. We had a meeting in October of last year, and another in December. At that December meeting, they decided we needed to get updated evals (The last ones were done in June of 2006). I requested an IEE because they could not, for several years get their evals correct. That they couldn't even interpret the results right and they left many subtests out along with the data and scores.
4 days before Christmas they filed a due process hearing request against me because I refused to allow them "access" to my son for updated evaluations.
Meanwhile, I got independent evals done - A NeuroPsych and Speech & Lang at my own expense. My lawyer withdrew the IEE request, they withdrew their filing. We gave them a list of the tests that our evaluators completed, they tested him, and then we had two more IEP meetings in March and April of last year. In the March meeting, they presented a draft IEP based on the results of my son's files and their tests.
At this meeting, my lawyer said we disagreed with this draft, and we're going to file a due process req. Their lawyer said if we were to do so, they would consider it frivolous and that I was impeding the IEP process. My lawyer then interpreted to me that this meant that if I proceed with a due process hearing filing, that they would consider this frivolous and they would file a complaint against me. Were a judge to hear and file in their favor, I would then be liable for all legal expenses incurred to the county. Needless to say, we did not file at that time.
One day prior to the April meeting, a section of the proposed "draft" IEP that was revised from the last meeting was delivered only to me. The day of the meeting, they handed us a 35 page full IEP (still draft) and had us in this meeting for 5 3/4 hours!!! They got the diagnosis wrong, their goals and other verbage in the IEP was wrong and that was the last IEP meeting we had with the county.
Between April and September, I did everything I could to try and find another "affordable" school for my now 15 year old son with no luck. Then tried to begin homeschooling. After a week, realized this was not going to work and enrolled my son back at the public high school the middle of September.
Since that time, he has had only 4 nominal homework assignments, he does not have Science at all, they have put him into a blanket class which from the course description says the following: The focus of the course is to develop life-long strategies and skills that aid in organization, self-monitoring, time management, goal setting, and overall independence. Students will also develop their reading fluency and comprehension in order to best succeed in their other classes and in life in general.
This feels like a blanket to cover his IEP, but still like his IEP does not clearly enumerate how this is going to be done.
Also, their SL&P was pulling him out 6 times a week (twice during academic time and 4 out of this other blanket class). I requested they not pull him from academic time, which they have modified to now just during this blanket class.
Also, since he re enrolled, they have not initiated any IEP meeting requests, nor have they made an utterance of the IEP since my son returned to this school.
After three weeks, my lawyer filed a due process hearing and mediation request. The mediation is scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday)at 9:30. I also received from OAH a prehearing teleconference for 11 on the same day. This past Thursday, their lawyer filed a response, which includes the following statements: The Parents have filed a cause of action that is frivolous, unreasonable and without foundation. The Parents have tried to thwart the development of an IEP for my son by the IEP team. Also in this are numerous false accusations such as I have not been accommodating in scheduling meetings, and more in their 9 page response.
So... that's the background. As far as I know tomorrow's mediation is still scheduled, but my lawyer has told me she is not going to attend because of the statements the public school has included in this. They are basically intimidating me and if I have legal representation at this meeting, then they will too and the clock will begin ticking.
Do you or anyone you know have any suggestions? I have been advocating ardently for my son since he was in the 3rd grade - this is now 8 years. They have been trying to derail me at every turn. My son hates to read because 8 years ago, they decided there was no discrepancy between ability and achievement, and chose to ignore his blatant cry for help.
When we got a 504 at the of his 5th grade and it was for his difficulty with written expression. When we got his IEP in the 7th grade it was for Math Fluency. At the end of his 7th grade it was because he cannot process audio and visual information simultaneously. He is dyslexic, dysgraphic, and APD. It has only been in this last round of evals that the school has actually agreed with APD and have loosely put into his IEP Auditory Processing Remediation. They still have not clearly addressed anything else. As every parent knows, these epiphanies the schools seem to have about their diagnosis don't just appear overnight and other disappear. The same things have always been there all along.
What can I do about tomorrow's mediation? What should I do about their complaint and if they follow through? I have a plethora of information, and I do have a lawyer, but she bills me for everything and I do not have any means to be able to keep in regular contact with her to answer every question or concern. If you have any insight or suggestions, I THANK YOU!!!
Today Part Two...
In speaking with my lawyer after I posted the first time today, she said she did withdraw our hearing request because of their lawyer's response regarding the 'frivolity'. However she said since it was filed on Friday, and today was a holiday, that she is uncertain whether the withdrawn request has been accepted. That being said, she told me to show up, and if the mediation does take place to let the mediator know that I have withdrawn my hearing request, play the recording from the March IEP meeting, they are using intimidation to "thwart" my parental rights, and that they are using tactics like this to prevent any form of resolution. That by putting in their response the "frivolous" complaint, knowing what that translates to is more liability that I will retreat.
I really have no idea what is going to transpire tomorrow and it concerns me a lot. If they try to press forward in this, what can I do? I won't have legal representation, and we did rescind the due process/mediation request, but what next??
Something I read earlier today gives me pause about all of this too - 20 U.S.C. § 1415 - Procedural Safeguards
Reading this, and if it appears I will be doing this on my own, how do I present any of my concerns without getting stuck with the above and eliminating any grounds to follow through if we are approved for a hearing? Do this mean that I can still present my concerns, or what can I say or what should I not say during this?
My lawyer said to call her if their lawyer does show up, but that she is anticipating they will not. However I do need to show up just so they don't find a way to make another manipulation of fact... If their lawyer does show up and they want to proceed with the mediation, am I correct that if I don't have legal representation that their lawyer is not allowed to participate either?
Yes, many questions, but it has taken a very, very long time and a lot of money to get this far, and I really don't want to get taken advantage of or have this all go awfully wrong, because I was not ready. I mean I am, but I'm not because this is very different than sitting in an IEP meeting with 12 of their cronies. I can handle that now. This seems different and it has made me very, very concerned and full of anxiety.
Unfortunately, while IDEA was written to protect the interests and needs of the child and parent, as you can tell, it has not helped us yet. Also, this is why it seems many families just give up, don't even bother to go back to the public school for reimbursement - it's horrible and it scares so many away from pursuing accountability. I'm one of ten other families that are in the same spot and only 3 of us are actually at the lawyer stage. The other parents are just not going to fight for reimbursement or any form of complaining to the county. The caveat is that if the majority continue to this, then the schools stay above reproach and accountability. Believe me, Joan of Arc is not a role I like playing.
I will let you know how it turns out, but if you have the time to answer a few more of my questions, I will really, really be most appreciative!!!
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Joined Jul 11, 2005
Posted:Oct 14, 2008 1:23:48 PM
First, you may need to ask some of these questions to a legal professional. http://www.wrightslaw.com and http://www.reedmartin.com are lawyers that deal with special education and may be more able to answer your questions.
Have you filed a complaint with the state board of education? If not, that might be another direction to explore.
scifinut mom to: ms 16, bp/adhd/anxiety/complex ld mr. 20, add/dyslexic I hear and I forget I see and I remember I do and I understand. -Anonymous
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Joined May 05, 2008
Posted:Oct 15, 2008 1:57:13 AM
I find this interesting... I am not a lawyer or a parent or an expert or involved with education in relaly any way. I just, remember my parents going through similar stuff. I recall how my mother just.... cracked... At first...many times soo many problems... So some of what i am going to say will be common sense and it may sound.... Kind of bitchy or like stating the obvious. I hope that is does sound like stating the obvious atleast.
You are fighting for your child. Calling the sky green won't actually change it's color in reality. This sort of manipulation, i have found is VERY common. (I like to read contracts. My mom's lawyers offered me a job more than once because i have found things that they couldn't believe they missed.) I just love it. The law and science are VERY much alike. Because in both of them, there is only 1 single thing that matters when you boil all the big lame words down and get rid of the stupid posturing, and that one thing is what you can prove. Or what they can prove.
You are getting caught in the net. I saw my mum do it too and now lately again as well some silly business lawsuit she has filed for actually a damn good reason. I would have pressed criminal charges not civil ones if i were in her place but her life her choice. She has been sooo scared sometimes that she has these freak outs last winter for example she saw tracks in the yard and she hit the roof. I hade just been out in the yard to pee the dog. The tracks were mine and i am not threatening. But in her mind it became hitmen and lawsuit. My mom, up until this and aside from the similar stuff she went thought on my behalf years ago, maybe a work-a-holic and as imperfect as every human is, but i would never have questioned her psychological competency or her control over her own mind. There is nothing more frightening to a child than to have to question those things. Which is why i bring it up. It seems off subject. But, the point is, my mom's reactions of such a heightened nature scared the hell out of me and caused me to have reactions of my own. (some of this will sound obvious i told you earlier) Find some sorrt of calm place inside yourself when you are around your child/ren otherwise You could wind up with even more problems and fighting a war on 2 fronts 1 at home to regain control of you kid who is losing it cuz you are losing it while you have to fight a formidable system is just not going to help you. Take it from me! I lived it!
The legal system is one that is designed for 2 opposing sides to duke it out in a fashion in which no one is physically hurt. There are zillions of weapons i have found in reading all the legal papers related for example to my mother's lawsuit. (She asks me to. Because she knows for some reason my mind wraps around logic very well.) She also knows i am very detail oriented. Part of my LD actuually, i take things apart and put them back together i do it with legal texts too for fun. Then she asks me how i would take certain things or to explain what they mean. using terms like "frivolous" are really annoying. Because they have decided without exploring the susbstance of the matter in full and complete as being lacking in necesity. Thyey pick this word instead of another, because they know it is what i call a uhh "buzz" word. Don't let this manipulative tactic scare you! DON'T let it freak you out. Don't let it move you. What it REALLY boils down to when they call it frivolous is this "Your son lacks importance. He is broken nothing we can do will fix him. It's not our fault you spit out human waste instead of a little genius. We would rather save the money for less frivolous pursuits such as spending it on the gifted who are already ahead of their class and really don't need it." Who is more frivolrous?! I would have to argue, THEY ARE. And as for baseless, You are a tax paying citizen. Your tax dollars contribute to the education of all kids in your area. Asking that your child with a real special need to get help that is actually going to help him and provide him with an equal or as close to equal as possible education, is their obligation under the law. Otherwise, they would be refered to as a private school rather than a public school. Using the buzz word and making such a umm... assertive statement with it, they are trying to confuse you. Make you only aware of the voice in the room screaming the loudest when there are 2 ppl at the next table right beside you that you then are not listening to who are discussing something relevant to you. They are playing it like it is their decision to make. As a public school, they are in essence funded by tax payer dollars. They can't legally require you to pay taxes for education in your area, whilee providing your child with an education that is not equal to that of others and not equal to his needs. taxation without representation croaked with the signing of the magna carta. (someone should remind the current presidictator) So, if they don't want to give your child what he needs and provide an equal education tell your state you wont pay an equal amount in taxes till they do... Or, you can say to them, "As a tax paying citizen I PAY FOR THE EDUCATION AT PUBLIC SCHOOLS WITH MY TAX DOLLARS! If my child's needs are declared frivolous to really explore or argue over then obviously it is even more frivolous for them to educate him at all. And as a tax paying citizen who contributes financially to the education in your area, to want to dispute *ANYTHING* with them at all through the court system is hardly 'baseless' because they are declaring your cause frivolous they are certainly not representing your interests and doing right by your son. And as a tax payer you have the right to governmental representation. the cout system is a branch of government. If they will not represent your interests while spending your tax dollars and if they will not make your priorities their priorities then you have the right to due process, and there is a base for it that goes all the way back to the f*cking middle ages, and there is NOTHING frivolrous about demanding that your causes get equal benefit as you are paying the equal tax dollars and therefore have the right to that representation. And your son, has the legal right to an equal education. There are really only 2 rights that i can think of that a child in this country has which is rather disturbing in itself. The right to education, and the right to not be physically damaged by a parent or a gaurdian. Beyond those rights children seem to have none which is really sick and twisted. As if women can qualify as being included in the "all men are created equal" crap in the consistution, then on what grounds are children denied the right to bear arms etc?
My point is this, they are saying loudly that it will be declared frivolous as it is declared so by them. It is a risk it may be. But. They are misrepresenting the simplicity of the matter in an effort to make you do just what you are doing. The more unstable you seem the more easy they are to believe. And all that matters in the end, is who can prove what. Not who is more insulting in their manipulative wording and genstures. How can anything un fully explored be declared frivolous so conclusively? It can't. And the relevance of the matter isn't in the hands of either side. It is instead in the hands of someone else entirely.
How can you advocate for your son when your personal power is stolen by this manipulative nonsense? My advice is, do what i do... Enjoy... My mom got really screwed and i am sad for that i feel bad for her. I also find the law and the legal systems and the laegal rights etc and the balance extremely interesting... In that though they say your position is frivolous the fact is these laws and rights remain what they have always been, open to interpretation. Interpretation, is based on proof. How can anyone see your position if you can't prove it? How can anyone not see their position, if you can't disprove it? Don't focus your energy on the insults and the manipulative tactics. Don't get involved in that. Develop YOUR argument. Find in that argument and position key points that are provable.Look into your rights, you have the right to an educated child. How dare they offer you anything less when you are PAYING for it. That is like... the equivalent of theft. Let say.... You have a problem with your toilet. So you call a plumber. He charges you some arbitrary amount of money for your toilet's ability to function equally to other toilets (Ok bad analogy i have't slept in 3 days i am NOT comparing your son to a toilet. I am comparing the school system to a conman.) So you pay the plumber the cost of the function of your toilet. But then he doesn't do the job...And it is too late to cancel the check. What do you do??? No one has a right to make you pay for services or a result not rendered. You see, we DO live in a capitalist system. It is based on consumerism consumer consumes pays market value for what they consume, gets a market value consumable thing. Not even the state has the right to tax you for services NOT rendered and results NOT delivered when youare paying the fair cost that others are paying for the result of an educated child. Baseless my ass. What is baseless is their huberus to proceed in such a fashion as to manipulate a mother trying to do what is best for her son. What is even more baseless is their huberus in acting as judge and jury on the matter of the basis of this issue without exploring it in a fashion that actually explores the issue.... Bu paying taxes you embrace the right to get what you payed for. What is most amusing is that they actually want you to believe that they are the deciders in the end. (they could win in court... They could lose.) It's a game of chicken. Who will cave first? So far, they have you right where they want you. Terrified, Nervous, annoyed angry, irritated confused uncertain, desperate and most importantly easily manipulated. The only power anyone in this world ever has is the power they give to themselves. The only one with pwer over you is the one you choose for whatever reason to give your power to. Right now they hold all the power, and it sux. They hold all the power, BECAUSE YOU LET THEM! you give it to them. You CHOOSE to embrace fear, and then to give up, Or to go round and round and round jumping through hoops seeking something from them which they are actually winning by having you wasting your time jumping through hooops going round and round looking for middle ground when they already know (judging from the tone of their response) The treat you are doing tricks for, is never going to be yours. But the longer you keep trying to earn it or negotiate it the better. Because they can hold out forever until it becomes an issue of money. Don't let them have all the power. I don't think when i have kids that i will ever send them to public or private school.I find at public school the education is too often too poor. Your son is hardly the only one getting shafted by your school system. What is expensive for 1 to fight, can sometimes in some cases and situations and circumstances become the battle of manyie rather than having a war with Iraq alone, you take all of our allies with you. Or every other family you can find having similar problems or who have been injured or otherwise denied an equal result for an equal amount of tax dollars. If you can establish it is a trend, you showfor example find other parents see how many children are int he same boat. What percent of the pover all population of the school does that add up to??? (If it is a significant percentage even as a minority percentage, especially if there is documentation of the standard reaction if there is a standard reaction from the school (ie call it frivolous.)inquire then not so much about your son, but how such a percentagcan be sooo inconsequential as to have their needs and the fight over their needds declared frivolous.
Take back your mind take back your power. Take back your control of your reactions to their tactics. Do not be underhanded youself. You must always have clean hands when you declare someone else's dirty... Otherwise it is just a pissing contest of who's hands are more dirty? And that never goes anywhere.
There is something precious that they rely on taking from you even more than your power. Your time. Your time , is the greatest threat to them that there is. Because, what you do with it, is something they have no power over. So instead of wasting your time and energy getting caught up in the reactions to their manipulative tactics, take some time list your priorities organize. Go through everything step by step. Take notes of all your questions so you wont forget highli9ng anyuthing that doesn't eem to add up. Look into your rights. And your son's don't just rely on a lawyer. No one in this world there are 2 trustable things in this world i have learned the hard way.
The fact is this, Public schools are a system, a system paid for and designed to be utilized by the tax payers. It is a sacred duty to NEVER trust our systems. I mean the last 8 years should show us that much. We have a duty to question our systems if we have a question We have every right to have a disput with our systems when we feel we are being short changed. It is the very foundation upon which this country was founded. These systems are local systems it is true, not federal, However,. they do receive some sorrt of federal funding regularly and they recieve local taxes as well. Questioning or disputing with systems is NEVER frivolous. It ensures that we, and anyone else in a similar orr same situation can get optimal use of the system in question. Systems are designed to run. It is the good samaritans that demand what is rightfully theirs and don't back down. Because others, who also need have a more difficult time getting if no one ever steps up. People spend so much time advocating for their individual child that they forget that as a result, others also benefit from a better functioning system, as what is not denied to one then legally must be available to the other otherwise the public school has broken the law in that it has violated the constitutional rights of students to all be provided not only with a babysitter to watch them while time is killed but to provide *all* children with a better education, especially those havint trouble like you are.
Don't play chickedn with anyone unless youa re prepared to accept the results. Don't accept less than adequate for you r child and by equality all childrne. Stay strong. Say to yoursel every day that you fight for your son, but you fight for your son, in the name of all children who need something they are not getting from the system.
Get smart, not rattled. Don't give them your only weapon. Don't let them make you useless for yourself, pitying yourself and your son and being scared.What purpose does that serve? Right it is more time you are NOT spending proving the truth, or disproving things you call lies. I have not heard their side od the story fromt hem. So i put it that way. Court is expensive. But, figure out how much you pay in a life time in taxes for an education that is equal as it is through a public school for education that is far far far far below the line of equal and is infact substandard by default. Think if you kept half of the money you pay in taxes that goes to education instead of paying it... Then think about what the cost of the legal system is And compare the numbers. Add into it too your son's future earning potential without this equal eeducation. then, remember your son isn't the only one getting shafted and filter in their fiancial loss in earnings as a result of the system charging you taxes for results not rendered. And then you have a very accurate view of what all the costs are and you can make a choice for the least expensive if it pleases you. Education, can NEVER be called a frivolous matter. NOT under any conditions! For the simple fact, that future earnings depend on education. I don't think it is frivolous at all to demand your child get an equal education with the one that will grow up to be a rocket scientist. As opposed to being taught to read just well enough to do basic grocery shopping and the menu of the Mcdonalds he is then relegated to due to his substandard education. Such horrible jobs should be visited only on those given equal education and choose for themselves to throw iut away and make a bunch of big mistakes etc... Then it is just karma. But when your child makes the effort and is a bit different in learning style is denied equal education resulting in, ultimately the loss of carreer choices and financial independence and you are PAYING them with your tax dollars to cripple your kid in such a fashion... I just can't wrap my brain around any parent who does that. So, i aplaud your efforts. Your son is lucky to have you. You need to teach him as he grows to ultimately advocate for himself. Otherwise he will not ever acheive independence. The best teaching tool is a good example to follow. Would you want your son in your possition, wasting his best weapons on butter rather than the threat just outside the walls of the structure that keeps you all safe? Would you have your son open the gates to such a devestating force manipulated into it, just as youa re into your fear and confusion and desperation?
I come from a weird place. My parents were hippies. The only place you will ever find your answers for the questions you have created for yourself is in yourself. (Philosophy school commune brat, sorry... maybe even mildly brain washed.) because, no matter what answers you get, it is then still upto you what to do with these answers. And an answer is only really an answer if it resolves the issue to which it is applied and aplies. Other people's answers though can be helpful as a guide as we form our own answers.... But beyond that... they are useless. Nothing anyone says here can change your situation or that of your son. All it can do is offer you some directions to explore. And as every situation and case is different what ultimately works well for 1 may not for another. But to call anything related to education frivolous, seriously... its ridiculous. Perhaps you should point out that those claiming you are being frivolous do NOT have their children educated in the *limited* system they provide with your equally green tax dollars. And if it is so frivolous to want your child properly educated , why do they NOT send their children to your son's program? And what gives them the right to be frivolous and not you if you both pay green tax dollars? Perhaps if your son is getting the standard education that is inline with your equally green tax contribnution, maybe all children should be in his program then??? Afterall, it would cost alot less to just get all the kids in the school a babysitter that sometimes works with them on being able to read and learn from the script when their next line will be, "would you like fried with that?" as opposed to wasting all those green tax dollars on actual text books.
Yes,you are a very bad and frivolous person insisting that you get what you are paying for. I mean just imagine! You go to a restaurant and pay for a 5lbs lobster and you get one that is almost a 1 whole single pound!!! Then they refuse to give you the majority of your money back. better to be in my opinion anyway what a cruel, maniplulative defunct, likely atleast marginally dishonest, hypocritical system declares to be "frivolous" with no real soap box beyond their own self importance to stand on while they do it.
Next time they call you frivolous. Respond with something in loine with the general idea..... "there is no help that is too small or too much of a luxury for my son, if event he remotest hope remains that some small margin of positive development may occurre as even the most remote of possibilities."
now take your power back. Let go of the fear they are promoting. and keep your best weapon handy at all times. No one messes with an armed person whent hey know they are armed. (unless they are sucidal) I have yet to see a school system that has a seratonin imbalance equal to the that which it causes in it's students.
Court no court i don't know. But choosing fear i promise you will only leave you more a slave to and a victim of the school system.
My folks sued. My folks won> I do believe they actually sued more than once but not entirely sure. My folks are not the sue happy sort. But there is no risk too great and no cost too high when it comes to the education of a child. Atleast, there shouldn't be.
Best of luck, to you and your son. I hopew you get this all sorted out in a way that benefits him and provides him an equal education.
Systems funded by the people are ultimately answerable to the people and owe the people the service which the system was created to provide, not something lesser to make it easier for the system.
No child is left behind in america by america. All our children are just left behind byt the rest of the western world when it comes to quality of education. That is a fact.
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Joined Sep 12, 2006
Posted:Oct 27, 2008 10:33:26 AM
From your post it sounds like you want to be reimbursed for your child’s past private educational costs, which you sought for your child with a learning disability.
I have never personally heard of a parent being reimbursed for such an expense except for one instance. A teacher in high school had told me about a child with a learning disability who had affluent parents. She stated that apparently the child’s parents did not want to deal with him, so they sued the school district so that he could be placed in a private school (out of town I believe is what it was but I can’t recall for sure). She stated that since this student had parent’s with the money who could afford good lawyers that the school district supposedly backed down and paid for the private costs of educating the child.
I am sure that there are other cases that we do not hear about regarding people in your similar situation, but if the school district is legally meeting education requirements IEP etc., then you might be out of luck. I’m not sure if you have the data to show that your son had progressed from when he was in public school to private school and vice versa. I assume that the private school was far costlier than the amount of money your school district would have received from the state so that is another reason they are probably fighting you because they definitely do not want to open the flood gates to other parent’s wanting their children placed in private school. If it doesn’t look good you might want to just ask for the amount of money that the state pays to local school districts to educate them.
I wish you luck in your lawsuit!!
[Modified by: LDintheOC on October 27, 2008 10:34 AM]
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Joined Apr 29, 2008
Posted:Nov 27, 2008 5:38:14 PM
I just read your plight. I find this entire episode quite alarming. There are several concerns I have regarding your requests to the LEA, your legal representation, the responses to you by the LEA, and what you are describing. I think you have been mislead in a lot of ways with regard to this notion of "being frivilous" in your attempts to seek resolve. But before we begin to isolate the issues, what is the status of your pursuit to seek resolution with the LEA?
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Joined Jan 31, 2009
Posted:Jan 31, 2009 5:44:17 PM
maryland has cyber-schools
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