Information for parents of disabled children

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Special education as a contact sport

PITTSBURGH - APRIL 17:  Evgeni Malkin #71 of t...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

The parents of RISE Learning Center took it to the media, and here are the results. It's a whitewash. Parents are complaining again. Silly parents. Their claims can't be substantiated, I guess. Oh, but wait, they were. Key facts were left out, again. Personal relationships were cultivated and friends called in to "talk it over".

Students in this building have been routinely bullied. We had the evidence. Our claim was a lack of supervision, and we could prove it. Students in the building lack vital services, speech in particular. Autism programs were not available to autistic students, until we seriously went to war. Complaints routinely came back in parent's favor, and orders of correction were issued.

This leads us to the most concerning part of the piece, the flip response of the Director of Special Education, Anne Davis, which I read to suggest that parents just want too much. Well, these parents think she stinks at her job. She's ignoring systemic problems and couching it in terms of economic crisis. If that is true, why was it happening before the crisis?

 Dr. Tim Smith, the center of the allegations, wasn't even mentioned, and why not? These parents have presented the state with AUDIO of him erupting at parents and staff in a conference. That isn't mentioned, but it's true. He leaves the school to sell real estate. It's not mentioned, but it's true. He can't write an IEP if you hold a gun to his head, also not mentioned, also true.

If Special Services is protected all the way up to the State Director, and even a record of lawsuits and orders of correction do not point out systemic failure on Indy's south side, what are parents left to do? I guess we could move to Illinois. That's popular lately.

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