Thursday, August 19, 2010
We'll Pass, Thanks
Have you ever felt like someone was avoiding you or did not want to talk to you? Have you ever felt like that someone was your school district, mainly the ones who are supposed to provide special services to your child? We have a long and varied, love/hate relationship (ok, you can leave out the love part), mostly with me leaving voicemail messages about my child’s needs and what they (Special Ed Administration) need to do to meet them. And mostly with them not responding or bothering to even call back. It would also appear that they try to get by with the least amount of effort on their part as possible. But we certainly hope this is not the case.
I suppose they started disliking me the first week we were a part of the district, when N came to first grade class. We had already had our IEP meeting and, upon their determination that he was not a flight risk, they made some sort of invisible note that he should not receive an aide for support, even though they determined out loud that that would be best.
After speaking with his frustrated teacher on the first day of school, I knew that their plan to not spend any extra money on my child would not survive. Their failure to provide an aide could, perhaps, be an effort to get him shifted to the self contained classroom or to make the teacher resentful and me give up. Me give up? No way. The first four weeks of school went like this: I went to the school from about 9:30 to 1:30, acted as my child’s aide, went home and called the district, Special Programs, specifically.
Usually into the voicemail recording (and into my log book), I would say each and every day, “Yes, this is Johnna, N’s mother, and I have been at the school today for about 4 hours acting as his aide. You see, he needs one quite desperately, and I am not an employee of the district. Please send someone tomorrow, as his teacher is very ready for her arrival. Thank you. Thank you so much.” I repeated this every day for 4 weeks. Finally, they sent someone. Yes, I was glad. This was only the beginning.
But today, 8 years after I first endeared myself to them, was the ending. The bus with our school district’s name on it pulled up in front of our house, someone hopped out and put a notice in our mail slot and rang the bell. The bus was driving off as I answered the door. Oh, so this is how I find out the high school he is assigned to? Why had no one bothered to tell us before the day school started? I have no idea what sort of plan they expect him to be met with tomorrow. And, I do not plan to find out. Good thing I had something else in place and he has already started at a school outside this district.
Yes, I have always felt that “someone” was avoiding me—the “someones” who are supposed to be providing a “free and appropriate education” for my child. What we got was not free; it cost me a lot. And appropriate? Maybe I’ll save that for another post!