Dear Mr. Cohen,
My son is 15 years old and in tenth grade. He has been on an IEP for LD/ADHD since first grade. He still has not reached his grade level in reading. He is having problems in math, which was his strong point in elementary and middle school.
All of his state-required test scores are below-level. He’s not committed to or focused on his academics. He is always getting into trouble and the school is always calling me with negative reports. He’s not on medication; he states it makes him depressed so we discontinued it and the doctor agreed.
My question is, what are my legal rights in terms of putting him into a private school and the state paying for his education? Our property taxes are very high for education here in Georgia. The public school system here is not good, in my opinion, and I feel he is falling between the cracks. It seems they are pushing him along with the No Child Left Behind Act.
I have tried putting him in another high school and was denied the transfer. He is on a block schedule and that is not working out for him. We have IEP meetings and we’ve set goals and have all these resources and my son is still failing classes.
I feel I have done all I can for him but I will not give up on my son’s education. How can I get any financial support for putting my child in a private school, and, if possible, a military academy? Thank you.
I think you need good legal help. If you go to the COPAA search engine, you will find there are a number of excellent special education/disability lawyers in Georgia.
Among other things, it sounds like your son’s evaluations and program are inadequate. There are circumstances where private school funding may be the responsibility of the public school. However, it is unlikely that a military academy would qualify.
In addition, there are very important rules requiring that you give notice to the public school of your intention to place your child in the private school because the public school is not providing a free appropriate public education and you want the public school to pay for it. This notice should be given to the public school in writing at least 10 business days prior to making the placement.