This has been the hardest year yet with my 16yr old being hospitalized and having lots of medical issues. Even though I've told them why she's been out, a letter stated they may report us to social services. She's been to specialists and gets fluid buildup on her joints. Shes had a lot of pain and struggle. At this point they are doing a 2nd round of blood work to check for Lyme disease, then muscular dystrophy with genetic testing and if all come back negative they will label it juvenile arthritis. Will we need to worry if they do harass us? Our struggles, sick days and numerous appointments are legit and whatever they determine is the cause of this, all diagnosis are quite serious
Social workers and educators do not choose their professions and do what they do because they want to harass you. They do it because they are concerned for the well-being of children. In this case, they are concerned that your daughter is missing too many days of school and that it is affecting her education. You need to meet with the principal (if you haven't done this already) and share the facts of your daughter's condition, the problems she is having, and notes from all the doctor's visits. If her absences exceed the allowed school attendance policy, then you may need to request a 504 plan to get allowances for excessive absences.
If the school does report the matter to social services, go ahead and welcome that. Meet with the social worker, explain the situation, and ask for whatever help they can give you. Their role is not to harass you but to help you and help your daughter.
Be aware that this response does not create an attorney/client relationship. I live and work in Massachusetts and may or may not know the local laws where you live. I hope people find my responses not only helpful but somewhat entertaining as well. If you rely on this as legal advice, remember the old saying, "You get what you pay for."
You don’t state this in your question, but have you submitted documentation from you child’s doctors? Also, you might write a letter to the school’s principal and the district’s superintendent for pupil personnel services stating that your daughter is suffering with medical issues that are interfering with her education and you’d like her to be considered for accommodations in a 504 plan - and I’d submit actors report with that request make sure your request is written, addressed to a specific person and that you have a record of delivery.
I see this all the time. Many school personnel have blinders on and don't care to figure out WHY a child is absent. They know they are mandated reporters so they report parents for "educational neglect" when they don't see the child in school. However, educational neglect is meant to protect kids whose parents are preventing them from going to school - not kids whose parents are caring for them at home while treating a medical issue! You have to make sure that you document - send your school, in writing- the reason(s) why your child is absent and substantiate each absence with a doctor's note.
I agree with my colleague Bonnie Schinagle who suggested that you should request a 504 Plan. That is good advice and will not only provide you (and your daughter) with legal protections, but may also provide her extra supports and services when she is out sick AND when she is healthy enough to return to school. If the district doesn't work with you and your doctors to develop an appropriate plan with adequate supports, modifications, and accommodations OR denies your request for a 504 Plan outright, you should definitely consult with a special education attorney in your area. Good luck to you both.
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