I have had a really hard time lately finding the words to form blog posts that have been swirling around in my head. I suppose it's a bit of writer's block which is discouraging as this as always been an outlet for me. I have always believed in sharing our journey honestly but tastefully but doing this lately has been a challenge with all that we are going through again with Colin's education.
This year has been far different than last and we owe a portion of that to the general education teacher, special education teacher, and paraprofessional that have been working with him this year. They have believed in him, learned a lot about him and accepted him as a valuable member of their classroom. There were some logistics to figure out this year that were due to the settlement from last year but once everything was worked out and "settled" so to speak, things started to really fall into place and we have seen such great progress with Colin. He has made gains this year in areas that were not even attempted last year. We have had several meetings in which this progress was discussed that were mostly positive and incredibly encouraging.
However, once it came time to discuss placement for next year this progress was no longer good enough as the district wants to remove Colin from his least restrictive environment and place him in a class that is more restrictive for him. With there being no discussion or attempts at keeping him where he is, our only option was to file a petition for mediation which was held yesterday. It was over before it started as the district refuses to consider this as an option for Colin and obviously has the resources we don't to continue the process to court in front of a judge.
I can see how parents become hardened and changed because of this process. There is supposed to be a law that supports and protects Colin to learn alongside his non-disabled peers but many parents have to negotiate and fight to secure supports, services and placements for their children that are the most appropriate. When parents advocate for their children, they find themselves in situations like ourselves fighting against a district that is blatantly wrong in their actions and needing to hire advocates and attorneys to go through a lengthy court process to get what's right; to be supported in ways that they are entitled to.
Colin has done everything he could have possibly done this year to "prove" he is capable of being placed where he is alongside his non-disabled peers but it's still not good enough. To say that I am discouraged is an understatement...