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should I fight the school? *UPDATE*

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
I've been relying on this forum so much lately, thank you all. My dd age 6 has TBI and is set to start school on Tuesday. We just moved to Virginia this summer after her accident so everything is new to us. We are supposed to be developing her IEP soon. When I went in to the open house tonight the school nurse pulled me aside and told me that she met with the principle and dd's teacher and they are going to tell me next week that they don't feel like the school can meet her needs and they want to send us to a different school in the area. The school is the best in town, but it was built in 1915 and has lots of stairs. Dd can walk independently but would need help going up and down. We had no idea when we choose to live in this neighborhood about all the stairs, we just knew it was a really good school, and it is right around the block. The nurse also said the surrounding schools are terrible and she would never send her kids there. She also said she was not supposed to be telling us any of this, as she could get in trouble, and that she would help us fight it if we wanted. I'm so confused. On one hand I want to fight for dd, but I already felt like some of the teachers were looking at her as if she is an inconvenience and that breaks my heart. What would you do if you were in my shoes?
post #2 of 48
First off hugs to you I know how it feels (being a mom of a sn child) to feel as if someone cant "see" your child for who they are but for their perceived "inconvenience".

first off other than the stair issues can they meet her needs otherwise? if so HECK YEAH I would fight. If the stairs are the main reason they are excluding her from attending I would immediately ask them for what strategies that you guys can come up with to make it doable. I wouldnt even let them get in the whole another school bit. If they persist that they wont, because surely they can try to accomodate her or at least try to, I would state that you want their official response in writing from the head of the school/principal/district. But in the mean time I'd show up for school.

Could they allow her extra time before/after classes to make transitions to other buildings or classrooms?

just thinking about it really irks me...sorry my pet peeve people telling me my kid cant do something when they havent even let him try
post #3 of 48
She's 6, so is she starting 1st grade? I would maybe be concerned in middle school or what ever grade schools in your area start having students switch classes, but in 1st grade they should be in one classroom most of the time. When exactly would she have to use the stairs? To go to the lunchroom, gym, music, recess? Is there a reason that the school isn't equipped for special needs students?
post #4 of 48
If it is like my kids old elementary school, it could be historic and be exempt from accessibility regulations...


Yes, I would fight it it were me
post #5 of 48
Fight it.

If that is the school that is your 'homeschool' and the only issue is stairs, they should accommodate you. Really.

It would not be hard to write in her IEP that she have a 'moniter' on the stairs or to be supervised on stairs , etc....or extra time.

If she is ambulatory, then it should not be an issue really- as long as she can do it with assistance and they would not need to remodel anything (even putting in a hand rail would not be unreasonable or hard to do).


The nurse knows the schools--I bet she knows them well. Trust her judgement and fight staying there as much as you can- a different school may also include a long bus ride.
post #6 of 48
they could definately be an older building and be grandfathered in for not needing accessible bathrooms, elevators, etc. if your DD can do the steps at all, then there is little they need to do to help really- and what they have to do is very reasonable (and not expensive either). at the school I work in, we have one child with moderate CP. she is able to walk alone, but moves VERY slowly. She is extremely slow on stairs, and although she is in 2nd grade (now 3rd) she would go upstairs to use the library and computer room. She always walks on stairs with the teacher next to her or someone else who has been assigned for that trip (i.e. an aide from a near by room or a building sub). whenever there is a fire drill or any real or practice emergency, there is a special education teacher who is specifically assigned to be walking next to her to be her guide on steps and in crowds when others are moving quickly. there is an administrator back up whose job it is to visually SEE this person with the girl as they are leaving the building. I think you should fight the school- adn the nurse was brave for giving you this information.
post #7 of 48
((HUGS)) that sounds upsetting. I have no advice, but wanted to say hi cuz I live in Newport News too. Are you talking about kiln creek elem.? That's where my ds is going to be going and they have stairs so I was curious...
post #8 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabohl View Post
((HUGS)) that sounds upsetting. I have no advice, but wanted to say hi cuz I live in Newport News too. Are you talking about kiln creek elem.? That's where my ds is going to be going and they have stairs so I was curious...
We are in Hilton.


Thank you all for your words of wisdom. I think because it is a historical school they are not up to the same standards for special needs. I think everyone is really worried that she could fall on the stairs, and if she were to fall and hit her head it could be fatal. However, you're right it shouldn't be that hard to accommodate her on the stairs. There are a lot of stairs though. Stairs leading to the basement where the kindergarten is and then upstairs to the cafeteria. I want what's best for her. I just hope that their not wanting to deal with us and are trying to get rid of her. That makes me want to fight for her. At least give her a chance.
post #9 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by camracrazy View Post
Is there a reason that the school isn't equipped for special needs students?
There are a lot of schools in older buildings that are not equiped to deal with children who are in need of physical accomodations for stairs, etc. As a matter of fact, I ran into one of them the other day.

I had no way to get to the office with my kids, because I had one asleep in a sling and one in a stroller. You couldn't get more than 5 feet into the building without encountering stairs to go anywhere.

The response was basically that I just needed to carry the stroller up the stairs (yes, while I was carrying a 30+ pound sleeping toddler in a sling) to the office to unregister my son.

They have no elevators, or ramps. When questions about what the school would do if they had a child in a wheel chair, I was told they would send that child to another school in the district.
post #10 of 48
I personally think that you should make a decision for your dd based on where you think she would receive the best education. If it is in your neighborhood school, that's your answer. If you are comfortable with your dd attending the school, then it seems worth fighting for.

I am so sorry that you feel at all that anyone felt that your dd is an "inconvenience". She is not, and the problem is with those who hold those attitudes, not your child. Bravo for the school nurse.
post #11 of 48


I would fight it

But i could see how it'd be better for her to be in a school that is all on level ground. Even if she has a aid to help her with the stairs, she could still slip and fall.

If it was my child i'd want to minimize the risk of her falling especially on stairs.

post #12 of 48
Thread Starter 

*update*

The first couple of days of school have been terrible. On the first day I went in to take dd to school and the teacher made her sit at a table away from all the other students while everyone else sat on the ground. She said she didn't want to be liable if she got knocked over by the other students. I was pissed off She has basically been treated like a freak.

Anyway, we had the meeting today and they said they would send her to another school in our area, one without stairs, we all agreed that was best. They said we didn't get to choose the school though. The schools in this area have very bad reputations and I am at a complete loss as of what to do.

Part of me wants to homeschool, part of me wants to beg our landlord to let us out of our lease so we can move to the "nice" area of town so she can be in a better school.

Does that sound right that we would not get to pick the new school?
post #13 of 48
You get to choose where your dd goes to school not them. I cant even imagine that being acceptable.

I think you should look around ant all the schools then pick the one that fits your dd best.
post #14 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MCatLvrMom2A&X View Post
You get to choose where your dd goes to school not them. I cant even imagine that being acceptable.

I think you should look around ant all the schools then pick the one that fits your dd best.
That's what I thought. I asked the special needs coordinator for the district and he said the district would decide where she would go instead of us. He said he was going to contact a few schools and then get back to us. So frustrating.
post #15 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by MCatLvrMom2A&X View Post
You get to choose where your dd goes to school not them. I cant even imagine that being acceptable.

I think you should look around ant all the schools then pick the one that fits your dd best.
No- you dont get to pick for sure. You get to pick the district (by living there). Most of the time schools have a 'home school' that certain addresses feed into., but it can be flexible.

Most, if not all, schools have a written statement of kinds that says they can shift students beyond school boundries for 'balancing'. If a school is capped and all classes are at the legal limit, they can send a student to a school in the district that has space...usually if it happens they have to provide transportation though.

Our area has a K-2nd overflow and so students were sent from 'home school' to another school that had lower #s. It was legal. The papers were all over it and tried to change it, but there was no space at the 'home school' and to meet fire code, legal class size, and other requirements - it was allowed.

Many students in a special education are sent away from home schools for specific programs if the 'home school' does not meet their needs. For example---a self contained classroom, specialized program (Hard of Hearing teacher), Gifted programming, or other reasons. Usually the only requirement is that the district provide transportation....they are meeting the need for a free and appropriate education.
post #16 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtyhipegirl View Post

Anyway, we had the meeting today and they said they would send her to another school in our area, one without stairs, we all agreed that was best. They said we didn't get to choose the school though. The schools in this area have very bad reputations and I am at a complete loss as of what to do. What about an aide or adult supervisor?? It seems if mobility is the only issue it could be resolved with keeping her at the school. I would also talk to an advocate. I doubt the school would be held liable if she were to fall and get hurt and 'falling' is a known part of the TBI. All the more reason for adult support

Part of me wants to homeschool, part of me wants to beg our landlord to let us out of our lease so we can move to the "nice" area of town so she can be in a better school. He might if you found a renter to replace you, but then again he may not

Does that sound right that we would not get to pick the new school? IT does, and chances are you will be sent to the worst school since it would have the lowest enrollment.....they will place her where it makes the most sense both for space and transportation. The most space will be at the school with the lowest #s, most likely one of the least desirable schools. I doubt you could pick- it if is in district, they could probably pick any one that does not have stairs.

I woudl fight it if you could. Really. If mobility is the ONLY issue than she has a right to stay there if accommodation could be met. If if it is the 'best' school by a mile in the area there is a reason.
See above
post #17 of 48
Why can't she have an aide?

There is a little girl in my son's class who wears braces on both legs and walks (barely) with special crutches. She can not stand independently, and she needs a lot of time and space to walk with her walker.

During circle time, an aide sits behind her to help her stand up during the songs. An aide helps her "walk" from the circle to the table (where she has a special chair to sit in that has a strap around her chest to help support her) When the class transitions to another room (gym, library, an assembly, etc) an aide accompanies the little girl, helping her with her walker, giving her plenty of room in the hall way, keeping her company since it takes her SO long, etc.

Can't something like that be done for your dd? Someone to help her at circle time, at transition time, etc?

Can your dd wear a helmet? Would that provide any kind of protection in case of a fall?
post #18 of 48
Thread Starter 
I also assumed that an aide would be an easy solution. So far the assistant teacher has been helping her. Today in the meeting they said that the assistant can't be responsible for solely helping her, she has to be responsible for all the students in the class. As far as a helmet goes, I think that would be a solution also, but I would worry about kids teasing her. It feels like they are trying to get rid of us. Meanwhile my dd is devastated. I had to tell her that she won't be going there anymore after having to persuade her for weeks just to go. They want her to keep going there until they move her, and I'm going in the morning to tell them I'm not taking her back. The more I think about it the angrier I get. They knew all along that this would happen and yet they let us start school there and get excited, only to have it taken away.
post #19 of 48
I would keep going and fight a move.

Ask for an IEP meeting to discuss it more.

Request an aide. Safety will also be a concern if they move her (gym, recess, normal movement around campus) so really.....if they can accommodate her, they should if it is your home school.

A one on one aide (not classroom aide) for mobility reasons is not unheard of and is practical in this situation.

I forget, how old is your DD?

If you go the helmet route, you could always talk to kids in the class about why she wears it and how it helps her. Ages 3-7 tend to be fairly kind and compassionate---much more so than tweens or teens.

There is no reason to move her if they can meet her needs in that school, it is odd the teacher would treat her that way. Most classroom teachers have had students with spec. needs.

Hope you get some resolution that works for your daughter!
post #20 of 48
In theory an aide would be the best solution. However in reality aides cost the school money it may not have. Different schools will have different special needs funds & services.
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