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Expert Q&A

What do you do if your child is “stuck” in a segregated special education class?

Can I remove my son from a self-contained class if it’s not helping? He has been there for two years. My seven-year of boy has ADHD, Cystic fibrosis, and a speech delay. They tell me he is slow, but I can get him to do math and his colors and things a Kindergartener should know, just not read.

They think because he is sick he doesn’t need to learn. His teacher let us know there was no need for him to learn because he may die before he sees a job. They alone have him in that class because of his medication and there is a nurse in there. I would like him to be in a real class with help in problem areas. He wants to learn and can if they would try.

Dear Anna,

Under the IDEA, you can request an IEP meeting to consider a change in placement. Options could include a regular education program with support or a more appropriate special education program. In either case, your child has a right to a program that includes access to the general curriculum to the extent possible (20 U.S.C. § 1412 (a)(5)(A)), IEPs that provide for meaningful benefit, Ridgewood Board of Educ. v. N.E., 172 F.3d 283, 247 (3d Cir. 1999), and a program that is based on peer reviewed research (that works!) 34 C.F.R. § 300.320 (a)(4); 34 C.F.R. § 300.35.

The teachers comments are not only inhumane, but reflect a position that is contrary to the law. Your son has a right to an appropriate education. His health condition, coupled with his lack of progress, should lead to further evaluation to determine why he is not making progress, rather than a conclusion that he can’t be helped or doesn’t deserve to be helped. You should consider asking for a new evaluation. You should also consider seeking help from a parent training center or a protection and advocacy office or other advocacy group concerning the teacher’s comments and position, and seek help from your states Department of Education Special Education office.

Your son not only wants and needs to learn, he has a right to learn.

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