Monday, September 30, 2013

Special Education

Just recently, our school district started announcing some informational meetings they were going to have for the parents of students with special needs in the district.  Chris and I thought it would be good for us to attend so that we could hear what they had to say and also to start to immerse ourselves into this community that we are still relatively new to.  

The purpose of the first meeting (as described) was to talk about the changes that were being made in the district for the special education department.  Going into this meeting, I knew there were some unhappy parents because just prior to school starting there were some changes made where special education classes were moved to a new building (the basement of that building) without much notice given.  The interim director tried multiple times at the beginning of the meeting to say that it was going to just be informational and that they didn't want to address personal issues at that meeting but would be open to talking about them after the meeting was over.  

Once the first question was addressed, the meeting started to get pretty heated and people were having side conversations, people started yelling and then slowly, the meeting changed gears and started to lose the purpose that it was intended.                                                                                                            

There was a second meeting held tonight with an itinerary to discuss the technology being implemented in the district for both general ed and special ed with special monies and grant money given to the district.  He was not 2 slides into the presentation when the questions started to get personal about what kinds of things their children should be getting and what they weren't getting.  He tried to address the fact that this meeting was to discuss what IS happening from this point forward but I think the general feeling is of skepticism by parents there.  

While I completely understand that these parents have legitimate concerns about the education of their children, it upsets me to see the way things are approached and get handled.  While I attend for information, I leave with incredible anxiety over what's in store for my child (not because of bad experiences we have had but because of the bad experiences people are voicing).  People scream about what's not being done and can't ask basic questions without tones in their voices and incredible negativity. I don't want to judge because I haven't been down their roads yet, but I still feel that there are appropriate ways to handle things and voice concerns when asking questions.

I will be quite honest here.  We have been incredibly fortunate so far in our process of starting Colin out in the public school and in creating an IEP that we've been happy with.  We love Colin's teacher and feel that she is working hard to meet his needs.  We think that we have had a good transition so far into the IEP creating process and know that there will be some challenges ahead as we try to find a good balance between our high expectations for Colin and what he needs academically.  It just scares me to attend these meetings and listen to this raw anger because quite frankly, it's intimidating.  I am hoping that the changes that this department is voicing will come to fruition and the changes that some people are looking for will happen for their children.  

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