School doesn't answer for disabled child's neglect at school
My special services child was not changed (diaper) twice in two weeks, the second time I happened to be at the school to speak with a staff member because I had other concerns about my child at the time. My child came in from the special services preschool (they are under 4) and was again wet, no diaper, with a mark/scratch in a private area. The police completed investigation and did not charge anyone because my child is unable to communicate. The school district will not answer any questions/concerns. How can I find out what has happened, do they have any laws that allow me to know what happened or an incident report. Also, is this something that would be covered in an IEP? How do I take the next step to place my child in another district? Staff has been rude and unhelpful.
4 attorney answers
Yu will most likely need to hire an attorney. There are avenues of relief here to find out exactly what is going on, but you need someone trained in the law to get that info -- you need muscle.
The information is for general information purposes only. Nothing stated above should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.
I will leave the questions you asked to the Washington attorneys, but I hope you will analyze all aspects of the issue re removing your child to a different district. I certainly understand the impulse to do that, and perhaps on further reflection that will necessarily be your decision. But if your child has any attachment to the faces and personalities of the present placement, it may be a hard adjustment to have to start over in a new placement. It may be that rude and unhelpful staff can be dealt with another way that does not require quite so much of your child.
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Send your DIstrict Superintendent, and School Counsel a Certified Letter Return Receipt Requested demanding an IEP review and modification. Also send it to the person in charge of Special Needs Education. This should not be tolerated. Contact a Special Needs Advocate or Attorney familair with this area of law.
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Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), an IEP must include accommodations that allow the student to access their education. If a student needs a protocol for diaper changing and communication with the parent about what happens at school those should typically be included on the IEP as accommodations. Additionally, the IDEA requires districts to provide specially designed instruction (SDI) in the areas where a student needs that help to make progress on skills related to education. Toileting is generally an appropriate skill for SDI if the student needs help to develop toileting skills. The concerns you are raising are usually addressed in IEP meetings.
If the IEP is not meeting the student’s needs, a parent generally has the right to request an IEP meeting to address concerns. Asking for an IEP meeting is usually the first step in resolving this type of issue. If asking the special education teacher or other school personnel for an IEP meeting is unsuccessful, the next step is typically to send a written request to the district special education director to help schedule a meeting and resolve the issue.
Under the IDEA, if you do change districts, the new district typically has the option to either accept the old IEP or convene an IEP meeting to develop a new IEP to address the student’s needs. Transferring does not impair a parent’s right to request an IEP meeting to address concerns with the IEP or the student’s education.
If you want additional help in this matter, you should contact an education attorney licensed in Washington. The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, a special education advocacy group, provides a directory of attorneys and advocates at http://www.copaa.org/find-a-resource/find-an-attorney/. The Washington State Bar Association also provides information about lawyer referral services to help you find an attorney at http://www.wsba.org/Resources-and-Services/Find-Legal-Help.
This answer is given for informational purposes only and is NOT legal advice. This answer does not establish a lawyer-client relationship. If you need legal advice and assistance you should contact an attorney in your local area immediately.