School District may want to place PA daughter in the Special Ed Class

Posted on: Fri, 08/15/2003 - 4:32am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

HI everyone,
Please help!
I just got a phone call from the Principal at my daughter's school (just started kindergarten).
The District Office had the school nurse call our Allergist to talk about PA.
The nurse, and staff at the school have been wonderful so far, but the district office is getting involved (not helping!) They told the nurse to ask our Allergist if my daughter should actually be in school!
The Principal also told me the Head of Special Education wants to address this as a "Special Education" issue. He may want Lindsey placed into the special-ed class!
I told the Principal that I really appreciated everything she and the staff have done thus far. But I also let her know that I found the questions comming from the District Office in regards to wether Lindsey should attend school to be outrageously inappropriate and discriminatory.
***Someone posted a letter they had rec'd from the OCR***does anyone know what date that letter was posted?
I'd really like to email the person at the OCR to see what she has to say.

Any help is greatly appreciated!
thanks
Lori

Posted on: Fri, 08/15/2003 - 7:30am
Nutternomore's picture
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Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

Lori,
I'm sorry you're having to deal with this stress.
I think the thread you are looking for is this one
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001056-2.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001056-2.html[/url]
I did participate in this thread (pages 2 and 3) and I did mention that I've been in contact w/OCR to research some things.
First off, if you decide to contact them, you should call (either Washington or regional office). I don't think they respond via e-mail. You can find out contact info here:
[url="http://bcol01.ed.gov/CFAPPS/OCR/contactus.cfm"]http://bcol01.ed.gov/CFAPPS/OCR/contactus.cfm[/url]
Also, in the thread mentioned above, there were some good suggestions about purchasing some of the Reed Martin written materials on advocating for your child when dealing w/schools and school districts.
I hadn't been following your posts, but just quickly scanned them to get a sense as to what has transpired. I'm assuming that you ended up w/a signed 504 plan prior to Lindsey's start of school (although I'm not sure if you ended up w/a more detailed 504 as you proposed, or with a less detailed plan that the school was pushing). If you did jointly signoff on the 504 plan, then since you were a member of the 504 team which signed off on the document, I don't see how the district could turn back the clock (especially since you have 504 designation) and suggest a different approach unilaterally. If you don't agree, and can't resolve this, then it may be that you'd be headed to a due process hearing (although I'll defer to the REALLY knowledgeable resources here like RhondaRS) for her take on the situation.
Hang in there...
Gary

Posted on: Fri, 08/15/2003 - 8:00am
StaceyK's picture
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Joined: 05/06/2003 - 09:00

Special Ed! Would that be with the learning disabled? I would doubt that would meet her needs intellectually/be appropriate at all. Isn't that breaking the 'equal access' spirit of the law? I would think she should have equal access to education appropriate to her abilities. Right? Oooo I dread school. My daughter is only 3 1/2. I forsee fights (nice word: disagreements) a'plenty. I wish you luck. I hope this turns out better than the direction it is going. Keep up the good fight.

Posted on: Fri, 08/15/2003 - 8:45am
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

This must be a communication blip.... could the "Head of Special Education" that your principal referred to also happen to be the "504 Coordinator"? Often times these roles are held by the same one administrative person. I'm thinking the principal is just interchanging these names?
Surely this must be a mistake. I can't imagine that they are thinking they'd place your child with learning disabled children. (My PA dd also happens to be learning disabled, BTW.) Why not directly call the "Head of Special Education" and ask him what's up?
Also, have you given your written consent for your allergist to share information about your child's medical issues with the school nurse, or anyone for that matter? If I'm not mistaken, this information is considered confidential and you need to sign a "release" of information form, because without your expressed written consent[b]your doctor cannot provide medical information about your child[/b].
I really think this is a misunderstanding and that you'll get it worked out. Does you dd have a 504?
Gail

Posted on: Fri, 08/15/2003 - 9:25am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Thank you everyone for your input!
This is such a mess!
I met with the Principal 3 days before school started because we were forced to change schools due to before/after school care (thankfully! the last Principal was not really someone I would trust). My daughter goes to a peanut/tre-nut free preschool, who is taking her to school and picking her up after.
The Principal was wonderful! She allowed me to stay at the school all day on the first day to be available for the staff if they should have any questions, or concerns. The kind. teachers were all very concerned, and the one my daughter is with has had PA kids before,and has one other little boy in her AM kind. class
The Principals in our school dist. are the 504 coordinators, so I thought we were in the clear with ours and she has been so cooperative.
Today is when I found out about the dist. office getting involved. It looks like I am the first parent to come along with a 504.
****The first Principal we were dealing with was really unhappy that I had written a detailed 504 plan, and wasn't going to settle for the 2 sided form the district uses that is completely geared for learning disabilities. Then when I called him to say that we had a serious issue arrise with our child care and had to keep our daughter in her current preschool, thus a variance to another elementary school. HE WAS MAD!
Not that he had done anything tangible all summer concerning our 504, but I appologized over and over, and thanked him for all of the prepairation and work he had done (choke).
I think he called the district.
What can I do?
------------------

Posted on: Fri, 08/15/2003 - 1:55pm
skanb's picture
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Joined: 05/24/2001 - 09:00

Another link to try is one posted by LAM titled "Direct from OCR." It was started in Feb 2002. If you do a search with this info it will come up. There is the name of an attorney who works in OCR, along with contact info for her. HTH. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Kristi

Posted on: Sat, 08/16/2003 - 9:45am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

In our school, the 504 paperwork is handled through the Special Education Department. The 504 is covered under Chapter 15 in Pennsylvania as a Protected Handicapped Student Service Agreement.
Most likely, this should be handled by the Special Ed. department. But that does not mean placement in a Special Education class. Remember, the student is to be placed in the "least restrictive environment"--P.L. 94-142.

Posted on: Sun, 08/17/2003 - 4:04pm
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

My information may be old but....
I am a credentialed teacher/special education teacher in California. (Currently a stay at home mom!) Anyway, I taught a special education class in LAUSD for two years almost 10 years ago. The class was labelled OHI or other health impairments. With the help of three aides, I dealt with 10 students (K-3)each having a different health issue including severe asthma, diabetes, congentital heart disease, cystic fybrosis, spinal defects, etc. All of the students were of normal or above normal intelligence and many were working above grade level. I could see a principal wanting to place a PA child in this type of environment. With a good teacher, a child can certainly excel in this type of special education class. But, I wouldn't want my PA son in an OHI group. Many students are absent for months at a time (hindering developing friendships) and there is a great possibility of one of these delicate students passing away. I don't want to sound cruel, but I don't think my PA five year old needs anymore issues with which to deal. Also, law requires these students to be mainstreamed into regular classrooms for as many hours as their health can handle...so either the PA child is not mainstreamed or the peanut issue is dealt with anyway! I don't know if this is the type of special education the principal had in mind or not but not all special education means "slow".
Hope this helps,
Cheryl
P.S. I don't know about all states, but I believe in CA if a child has a 504 plan they are already labelled "special education" even if they are in a regular classroom. In LAUSD, there would be a green folder in their CUM file holding all special education documents including 504 plans. The Green Folder marks that CUM as
"Special ED" just as an orange folder would mark that child as "Gifted".

Posted on: Mon, 08/18/2003 - 3:10am
mtal's picture
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Joined: 04/11/2001 - 09:00

As a special ed. teacher, I find this idea of placing a PA child in a special ed. class completely inappropriate. Even if it is a class just for students with health related concerns, PA does not in any way have to interfere with learning if proper steps are taken to ensure a safe environment. Under law, it is the school's responsibility to place all special needs children in the "least restrictive environment" necessary to accomodate their needs. So, even if they want to write up an IEP (individualized education plan for each special ed. student), the special ed. classroom is certainly not the "least restrictive" environment. I would stick to a 504 plan & immerse yourself in knowledge of your state laws concerning 504's and special ed. Good luck and let us know how things go!

Posted on: Mon, 08/18/2003 - 9:21am
cathlina's picture
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Joined: 06/29/2001 - 09:00

They absolutely can not put her in the special education class or resource unless she has a learning disability or is mentally handicapped that is documented by a physician etc.
Peanut allergy qualifies only under Section 504 of the Handicapped Act of 1972 without any of the above.
This is so ridiculous that this was suggested...I can't believe it.
If they try to do that, call your state department of education and ask for the special education and/or 504 coordinator and let them know what is going on.
You also can call the federal department of education, office of civil rights (find it on the web)...there is a district office for your state and ask to talk to a consultant.
(By the way, the school gets 1.5 x the money for a special education student vs. a regular education student.)

Posted on: Mon, 08/18/2003 - 9:58am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Thank you everyone for all of your support, and encouragement!
I just got out of the meeting (10) people were in the meeting besides my husband and me. I'm so very happy to report that everything went great!!!! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
The Principal was completely on our side! She basically told the head of special ed
that she was very happy with the 504 plan we have, and the rest of the staff is very comfortable dealing with me. Our kindergarten teacher said she really has enjoyed having Lindsey in her class ( just nervous about the peanut stuff still appearing in the room from some of the kids even though they don't have a snack time).
We discussed that issue at length because she has several children in her class that don't speak english. The district office is going to have our letter translated into spanish asap [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/cool.gif[/img]
The head of special ed was really watching me throughout the entire meeting to see how I was going to react to some of the "curve balls" thrown, but I conducted myself through the entire meeting as if I were in any other business meeting I've been in. It really was shocking to this guy! Many of the staff members couldn't believe how calm, and "prepaired I was, as well as how I presented my materials.
I really hope the district office is going to allow the Principal and I teach throughout the district (she has me scheduled to speak at some parenting classes she teaches).
I can't thank everyone enough for the last minute "fire power", it made a world of difference!
Love to all!
Lori
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