Need to write a letter to Owen's school.... can you help? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-11-2007, 02:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I need to write a formal letter asking for a meeting with everyone who is working with/should be working with Owen.

I am pissed off beyond words at what is happening right now. He started there in September (beginning of September). It's now February and he's still not gotten the evaluations done and, therefore, is not receiving any therapy : I requested an AI eval at the beginning of the school year. They put it off and put it off. Finally in November I called the principal and more or less ripped him a new one and told him he needed the eval done NOW, not "sometime by the end of the school year". In December I had a meeting with the AI team and they said they were going to observe him during December and by the beginning of January the eval would be done and they'd call me in for another meeting to discuss the results. I haven't heard anything from them since our meeting in December. I had asked for an OT eval for sensory issues at the beginning of the school year. At the end of November they decided to tell me that they don't have an OT who works with sensory issues so he would have to wait for *kindergarten* to be evaluated In December I talked to someone (president of the parents board or something like that) and she told me they DO have an OT, but she's very busy which is why they told me they don't have one. She said they do that all the time to "weed out the parents who won't fight them" I called the principal the next day and told him off, again. In January I talked to the OT who sent home a sensory profile for me to fill out. I did, she said she was going to observe Owen in the classroom, finish her eval and get back to me about the results. I haven't heard anything since then.

I would like a meeting with all of those people (ST, OT, principal, and Owen's teacher) to find out what is going on, which evals are done, what the results are, and WHAT they are going to do to help him. But I have a feeling if I write this letter right now it's going to come off as me being a b*tch

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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Old 02-11-2007, 11:27 AM
 
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Dear head of Owen's team,

I have been requesting an evaluation for Owen since the begining of the school year. This is within my legal rights to do so. I have been told at varios times that this evaluation would be done, and now half the school year has passed and it still hasn't been completed. My son has been without services due to the lack of evaluation. THis is unacceptable.

On the subject of and OT evaluation for sensory issues, I have been told that there is no OT available to do this evaluation. If the school is unable to provide this evaluation, I will be seeking an outside evaluation. If the school does not have the personel to provide this services, it is obligated to pay for an outside evaluation.

I do not want to have an adverserial relationship with the people who will be working with my son, but it is my responsibility to see that my son recieves the services that he needs and the schools legal obligation to provide.
At this point, your school is in noncompliance with IDEA. I am requesting a team meeting immediately to discuss a possible resolution of this issue. If this meeting does not take place within two weeks, I will be requesting a due process hearing.

I hope that we can come to an agreeable resolution that will allow my son to recieve those services that are vital to his education.

Sincerely,



This is just a rough idea of what you could say. My spelling is pretty bad! You should add dates and the people that you have talked to. If you have anything in writing, your requests or their responses, make copies and send it along. If you haven't already, you need to contact an advocate, and really study up on the laws for where you are at. I'm not sure if this will help if you are in Canada, because this is really based on US law (IDEA)

 
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Old 02-11-2007, 03:49 PM
 
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Another little phrase to throw into the letter would be "appropriate educational services" as in "because Owen has not been evaluated, he is not receiving appropriate educational services."

Also, when I do these types of letters, I always make sure to cc: someone. If you have the name of the director of preschool educational services, cc: them. I find that cc:'ing indicates that you are very serious and that you are in the process of getting other people involved.

You might also want to give a date that you expect to hear back regarding this letter, and I would make a mild threat on what you will do if you do not hear back. For example "If I do not receive a response on what the exact plan for evaluation is by xxx date, then you will leave me no choice but to contact legal represenation. I hope that this won't be necessary."

I find that the squeaky wheel is what gets the oil, unfortunately.

Also -- did you receive a copy of your rights (can't remember what the name of this is) when Owen started this school? If you didn't, you need to request this immediately. This should give you an outline of who to contact when things aren't going well - a greivance process, so to speak.

I hope you can get this resolved quickly.

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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Old 02-12-2007, 04:15 AM
 
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oh my gosh, let me help you! this happened to us and we field a complaint with the state board of education and we got the mgr of special ed calling to apologize *that day*, quickly followed by top-notch evals and all the services we wanted.

this is not OK. Do you want me to post more here? email you? want to call? I just went through this.

The district had 30 days to respond to your request for evals with an assesment plan. They are now breaking that law and you will get results FAST when you write a formal complaint and mail a copy to the state and the district.
And then they'll know not to ever blow you off again, or try to mess with your kid.


(if you search my recent posts on this board, I've mentioned our steps a lot lately, and also posted great letter-writing sites)

PS- you've got to have copies of your letters and phone calls to prove the accuracy of your complaint. If you don't have a good paper trail, instead of doing this, you could write a formal letter to the district giving them notice of your intent to file, in case that spurs them to action. They'd know you know they're out of compliance and you demand evals now or else you plan to get them privately at district expense. They have to respond to that!

http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/ltrs.index.htm
here is wrightslaw on letter writing. I posted other sample letter links here just a day or two ago.

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and The Nurture Center Store and Resource Center 3399 Mt Diablo Bl Lafayette CA 888-998-BABY
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Old 02-12-2007, 04:28 AM
 
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OK, here is our complaint text. It's not a free-standing letter, but the text section on the form provided from my state's website. All correspondence and fax confirmations were attached..


Our family moved to **** and with an active IEP from the **** school district. We called the **** special education office throughout October alerting them of our arrival and our son’s right to speech therapy per the IEP. We faxed the IEP on 10/23/06. We were instructed that they would not accept a transfer and he would have to apply for special education placement all over again and so we filled out “form B: request for special education assessment” and returned it to the district on 10/30. On 11/1/06 we faxed 3 proofs of **** residency and a note reminding the district that our request had a “need for a hearing screening”, meaning that we expected the district to provide this.

The district did not send us confirmation of the receipt, a plan for assessment, or in any way keep us updated on the process. After repeated calls, I learned in the 2nd week of November that they were waiting for us to obtain a hearing screening. On 11/16/06 and 11/20/06 we faxed this back to them. Still no assessments or plan for assessment had been provided to us.

We wrote to the district on 11/29/06, reminding them of my son’s right to services in his IEP, reminding them what evaluations we had requested, ask asking for additional evaluations we feel are appropriate
I am writing this letter on 1/4/07 and my son has still not received his evaluations. Because the district is unable or unwilling to provide the necessary assessments, we will move forward with arranging them independently. It is our understanding that legally it is our right to receive reimbursement from the district in this situation.


the next section is "proposed resolution"
Independent Educational Evaluations obtained by parents at public expense. IEP meeting held as soon as possible after these evaluations to determine appropriate educational setting for ****

Berkeley mom of 3 and President of Tender Cargo Baby Gear
and The Nurture Center Store and Resource Center 3399 Mt Diablo Bl Lafayette CA 888-998-BABY
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Old 02-13-2007, 12:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the tips and ideas everyone! That website rocks, cchrissyy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraLoo View Post
Also -- did you receive a copy of your rights (can't remember what the name of this is) when Owen started this school? If you didn't, you need to request this immediately. This should give you an outline of who to contact when things aren't going well - a greivance process, so to speak.
No, I did not get one. Does anyone know what the name of it is so I can request one ASAP? Thanks!

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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Old 02-13-2007, 01:20 AM
 
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I pulled mine out and the title is:
"Special Education Rights of Parents and Children Under Federal and State Requirements"

It starts out with "The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amenendments of 2004 (IDEA 2004).......

I scanned through it briefly and there is a portion that discusses an "impartial due process hearing" under Dispute Resolution which you can request (among other reasons) for:
1. We refuse to identify, evaluate or apporpriately serve your child.

Good luck!

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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Old 02-13-2007, 01:53 AM
 
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Just a quick thought - when did Owen turn 3? Did he just age out of E.I.? Beware that if he did, the school district will say that even though you've been requesting meetings since September, he doesn't fall under their guidelines until he's 3, and then they have 90 days to get him evaluated.

I should say, that I don't KNOW that this will be the school's response, but this was just my experience. And I can't remember when Owen's birthday is! :
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Old 02-13-2007, 02:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by momof4peppers View Post
Just a quick thought - when did Owen turn 3? Did he just age out of E.I.? Beware that if he did, the school district will say that even though you've been requesting meetings since September, he doesn't fall under their guidelines until he's 3, and then they have 90 days to get him evaluated.

I should say, that I don't KNOW that this will be the school's response, but this was just my experience. And I can't remember when Owen's birthday is! :
Owen stopped receiving EI services in August (July they were off for the summer and he only went to ST I think 2-3 times in August so he's basically been off since June). He started preschool at the beginning of September (requested evals right away). He turned 3 on October 3rd (yes, they used the "we can't do anything until he's 3" already, when they wouldn't even meet with me for the first time until his birthday). It's been 132 days since he turned 3.... or do they only use "school days" to count the 90 days? In APRIL/MAY/JUNE I was told by the EI people that they weren't going to do any evals on him (I verbally requested an AI, ST and OT evals, never written request though ) because "he'll get all those evals in September when he starts at school. If we do them now they'll just have to re-do them in a few months so why don't we just see how the summer goes". Yes, I'm kicking myself in the butt now. Hindsight is 20/20 and those people have a way of talking down to me to make me feel this tiny and that I don't know what's best for Owen :

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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Old 02-13-2007, 10:42 AM
 
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If you can't get your federal laws packet, the main law being IDEA, check this sight out.

http://spannj.org/BasicRights/what_is_iep.htm

It not only gives you all the laws, but it explains each one, gives you sample letters, and explains your roll and rights in your son's education.

 
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Old 02-13-2007, 10:43 AM
 
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Or just google federal special education laws, and I'm sure the official handout will be there too.

 
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Old 02-13-2007, 11:55 AM
 
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[QUOTE=LauraLoo;7284031]I pulled mine out and the title is:
"Special Education Rights of Parents and Children Under Federal and State Requirements"

It starts out with "The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amenendments of 2004 (IDEA 2004).......
[QUOTE]

Also wanted to let you know that within the document, it also refers to these rights as "procedural safeguards." They must give you one of these upon request - and they should have done it a long time ago.

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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Old 02-15-2007, 10:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, so apparently just writing the letter was enough. I've been working on it all week (revising it slightly every day as my anger starts to fade a bit so it's not so angry sounding). I was going to print and send it tomorrow, but I'll hold off for now. Today I got a call from the AI team saying they want to have a meeting to discuss the AI eval We're still working on when but it's looking like the beginning of march I'll give the OT until then to call and, if she doesn't, I'll pay her a little visit after the other meeting. So I'm holding on to the letter for now. When the ST from the AI team calls back I'll be asking her to send a copy of the rights I should have gotten before.

Thanks again ladies!

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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Old 02-16-2007, 02:55 PM
 
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I'm telling you Steph, you really need to move here!

Jillian wife to Ryan and mommy to Janelle Ashlynn (9/09/2002), Kincaid Chance (3/29/2004), Travis Neil (8/13/2007) and River Anderson (5/02/2009).
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Old 02-16-2007, 06:24 PM
 
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Even if they are calling a meeting, I would still send a letter. Because if this meeting get cancelled or postponed over and over, or if they drag their heels after the meeting, Owen will have to wait even more.

I would change the letter to still include all the info about what you've already asked for and been ignored, but add in the information about the meeting about to happen and what you will do if he is not evaluated but such and such a date.

IMO - If there's any way you could get a lawyer to draft the letter for you for free or a small fee, I would do it. I had a client recently going through something similar and having the letter coming from the lawyer instead of the parents made changes happen right away. I would also request that a district representative be included in the meeting. Here in CA, you can request one, and that person serves as support for the parents and child while having the knowledge of the services, etc. It helps sort of like mediation but without being formal. I've had other parents use this and it was very helpful as well.

Early intervention specialist and parent consultant since 2002.
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Old 02-16-2007, 10:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PikkuMyy View Post
Even if they are calling a meeting, I would still send a letter. Because if this meeting get cancelled or postponed over and over, or if they drag their heels after the meeting, Owen will have to wait even more.

I would change the letter to still include all the info about what you've already asked for and been ignored, but add in the information about the meeting about to happen and what you will do if he is not evaluated but such and such a date.
ITA! They are out of compliance despite your repeated requests. I hate to say it, but they've already shown you that you can't rely on what they're supposed to be doing. AND -- it may speed things up, because after a formal meeting they have "x" amount of days to line things up. If this letter raises some higher level concern, hopefully they'll get things in order very, very quickly. You've already waited WAY too long, mama!

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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