This is Pam Lindemann. I’m sending you this message because there’s a sense of urgency to it.
I just got off the phone talking to some parents that we’re helping and their story is heartbreaking, and I wanted to share it with you so that hopefully you can avoid the same pain that they’re going through right now with their son who’s in elementary school, in fifth grade and who will be going into middle school. So he has an IEP. He’s had an IEP for quite some time, and he’s not making any progress. Academically, he’s two or three years behind. He’s having a hard time keeping up. Socially, he’s struggling. He’s had some behavior issues because the lack of being academically on grade level is being a challenge for him.
So the school drafted an IEP. We had an IEP meeting two weeks ago and we didn’t finish so they wrote a draft of the IEP. This morning I compared both IEPs. I set the old IEP down to my left side and the new IEP on my right side, and I’m describing this to you because this is what you need to do. I go word for word, comparing the old IEP to the new IEP and I highlight things that are different. It’s critically important that you do this because as a parent, you don’t think to compare to the old IEP, and these parents didn’t. This mom and dad are really sharp. They’re extremely sharp and tuned into what their son needs, and they’ve been frustrated because he hasn’t been receiving help.
I compared both IEPs. The school’s proposed new IEP, all the goals are exactly the same as the old IEP. Exactly the same. There are no new goals. He never achieved the old goals on the IEP, so because he never achieved them, he never accomplished them, the school just copied them into the new IEP. They’re not providing any more services. In fact, they want to cut back on services. They want to remove him from speech and language, a couple of things like that, and they have the nerve, the audacity to copy the goals exactly the same and they’re expecting mom and dad to come into a meeting in the next couple of days and sign that IEP. It is unconscionable. It is absolutely… I can’t even say the word. You fill in the blank. It is absolutely reprehensible.
This IEP team is sitting there with the parents, telling the parents how wonderful their school is and they should be so fortunate that their son is at this school because they really care, and they have done nothing to help him. For a whole year, this child has not received services, has not made any kind of benefit. Look, an IEP is… The purpose of an IEP is that your child benefits, is that they make progress. If he’s not making progress, we don’t copy the same goals. We don’t do the same thing that caused a year of failure. We have to look at what’s new. What do we have to do to help him? Not this school. They honestly thought that the parents would come in, sit down, sign the exact copy of the old IEP and that the parents would be happy and satisfied and go. It is absolutely reprehensible.
So I want you to please look at your child’s IEP. Don’t just accept it, review it. Sit down with the old IEP, compare it to the new IEP. This is IEP season. A lot of families are having IEP meetings. Please, if you don’t understand it, if you’re not sure, if your child is struggling… If your child is struggling and you know, in your heart of hearts, something’s not right, please call us. There are so many pitfalls and so many mines, it’s like a minefield in an IEP of things that the district can do, can gloss over, can lie to you about, can weasel out of.
There are so many ways that they can deny your child services. They lie to you, they tell you things that aren’t true, and you are a loving, unsuspecting, trusting parent, trusting that the people sitting from you across the table really had your child’s best interests at heart. I’m going to tell you, most of the time, they don’t. Now, there are those who absolutely do. There’s wonderful teams out there, fantastic principles and teachers, and they’re wonderful, God love them. But I’m going to tell you, in this day and age, most of them don’t care or they don’t want to fight on your child’s behalf, and it is a horrible system.
Please, you don’t have to call me, call someone and get help, but I don’t want you to go through what these parents went through. These are two outstanding, well educated, tough parents, and by the time I hung up the phone, they’re in tears because they can’t believe what the school is doing for their child.
Okay, I wish you the best, I hope you are doing well, and I just pray that your child is getting the best help that they possibly can. Take care. God bless you. Bye-bye.
The IEP Advocate is your best shot at helping your child succeed in school (and life). We help parents get the school to approve and follow individual education plans (IEPs) for their children who are struggling in school. Even if the school is saying “no” to you, we’ll get them to say “yes” to us!