Special needs parents know what I am talking about. THE LETTER.
Not the request to evaluate, not the hey can we touch base on my child’s plan with smiley face emoji’s but the Big Whopper of a letter (to reference the 2nd best Mathew Broderick movie ever)…you know the one that references playing chess?
|War Game is the movie …. love it!|
So my child’s school isn’t following his 504 plan. I addressed it at the 504 meeting which was referenced in the meeting notes as me being a hysterical mother. No really. The notes said “Parent wants to reassured plan is being followed” No I am not looking for reassurance guidance counselor, I am looking for the PLAN TO BE FOLLOWED. I was told it would be addressed at a core team meeting but I received no follow up.
What happened next was a series of events that led to a even worse series of events because the plan was not followed. So I was no longer waiting to hear back from the team and instead sent a strongly worded email to the school. I did put data in the email and words like “not in compliance” and “I have not received prior written notice…” which if your back is up against a wall and the school isn’t following the plan it is well within your rights to call a school out on their lack of compliance. 504 plans are legal documents schools cannot just be like Bill Bellichick who has a habit of giving an angry blank stare to questions during press conferences
|Photo courtsey of Patriots – still love you Bill!|
So what happened next? The school did not respond for three school days, three days and I received a one line response. So the dance continues…I will request to meet with the team, I will request the minutes of the 504 meeting be amended to reflect the true nature of my inquiry and not that I was seeking reassurance.
I could also say was there a different way to approach the situation? Yes and only because it would be less upsetting and cause less stress on my child. I should have sent a non compliance note and insisted the major assessment not be given to my child that day. I should have also immediately requested a meeting with the team. Not sure what I would do the alternate route because I worry they would have given him the assessment anyway (counts toward 50% of his grade) and I wouldn’t find out what really happened for weeks later.
I think my two biggest takeaways from this situation are.
1. If you think that school isn’t following the plan, don’t wait for a big ugly situation to happen before calling a meeting of your child’s team. You can call a team meeting at any time. I sensed the plan wasn’t fully being followed for some time. When I accumulated the data it was even more clear, which upset me even more (not at the school at myself)
2. Think through the scenarios before you make a move but remember you are the primary advocate for your child.
I have parent teacher conferences next week, should be awesome and not at all awkward. Maybe I should bring chocolate?