Advocating for your Child, A Success Story

I just thought I would share my sons victory against the school district.

After struggling for the past three years with behavior issues due to an acquired brain injury and ADHD, the district started putting my son in an isolation room starting in December 1996.  After sitting in there for more than two months my son finally had had enough and refused to go there.  On March 27th, 1997 I pulled my son out of our district after being told by the Vice Principal (he also held the title of Special Education Director for our District) that he would be physically restrained if he left his chair.

In April, 1997, the district started homebound tutoring to go through the summer in order that he could complete the 7th grade curriculum which he was severely behind on.

At the beginning of the current school year we went to mediation to try to get the school to agree to an out-of-district placement.  Mediation was exhausting - and all that was accomplished was that I missed a days work because after reaching a tentative agreement, the district backed out and mediation isn't binding so that was that.  My son continued with tutoring for the current school year.

I filed a complaint with the State Department of Children Families and Learning in December, 1997 on two issues: 1) the district failed to develop an educational program based on the students needs and 2) the district failed to provide special education services since March 1997.

We won on both issues and here are the decisions:

1) the district must immediately contact a specialist in the area of traumatic brain injuryu and behavior management for consultative purposes.

2) the district must immediately conduct an assessment of the student's educational and behavioral needs to determine the extent of harm caused by a prolonged and egregious failure to provide special education services from April 1997 to the current date.

3)  the IEP (Individual Education Plan) team must reconvene and develop an interim IEP reflecting the needs of the student.  The IEP team must consider the inclusion of this student into regular education classes with appropriate behavior support systems.

4)  to date, the student has been denied approximately 465 hours of special education services, the complaint investigator will determine the amount and extent of compensatory services for this student.  The decision regarding the award of compensatory services will be made by May 15, 1998.

The most important point of winning, is that it gave me the sense that my instincts were right in believing that how they were treating my son was not okay.  I finally feel that what I did was the right thing.  Most people told me that I was strong and doing the right thing, but in the meantime, my son was still not in school and I was still questioning my decision to remove him.  Winning this has made me finally understand that I was right, I was not being an overprotective mom, and that he did not deserve what they were doing to him.

If you would like to write Sandy, you can email her at

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