Motel Special Ed

...there we stood in the doorway We heard the mission bell and we were thinking to ourselves "This could be heaven or this could be hell" Mirrors on the ceiling The pink champagne on ice. And she said: "We are all just prisoners here of our own device." (Eagles)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

How Will They Explain The Educational Relevance Of What Is Seen On Tape?


Footage shows school abuse: "'They grab him by his arms and drag him on his knees out of the classroom, down the open school hallway and literally throw him into a dark room.'"

Frequently, when parents try to obtain an appropriate educational setting for their children with disabilities, the kids are denied services and supports through the often used phrase "I am so sorry Mr. and Ms. Smith, we would love to provide those extra things you want, but unfortunately they are not educationally relevant."

This autisic kid's finger was broken the same day of this video, according to the story.

As usual, the school system will first blame the kid, then blame the parents.

Happens all of the time.

I wonder what type of professionally written and executed behavior plan they have in the kid's current IEP. You know, the one they professionally developed that met the unique needs of the student.

I sarcastically submit that the evidence will show that the kid tore his own clothes and broke his own finger just to get the adults in trouble. 'Cause that's how smart these disabled kids are.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


JUSTICE FOR CHILDREN 6/27/2009 - Wake up Call Show on Blog Talk Radio

Call-in Number: (646) 716-8675
Upcoming Show: 6/26/2009 8:00 PM



Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hillsborough County Public Schools and Special Ed Teachers Misusing Funds to "Adjust (students) Attitude" ?

Bullying seems to be the topic du jour. Recent media reports repeatedly quoted District personnel making the point that the kids and parents involved in the alleged recent ongoing rape sequence at Walker Middle school never told any of the district employees what was going on.

Now there is an apparent display of concern by the Board and the administrators that there will be increased training and awareness and focus on bullying. What puts my bull in the wool about behavior is that there are, and have been, standard policies and procedures that are supposed to be in effect and acted on when it comes to behavior.

Here is a public comment found on The Gradebook, a local education blog. I don't care who the individual teacher is; it is the mindset and display of ignorance by the system, and therefore the teachers, that is what should be a concern for all.

If the system can't respect current Federal laws that have been in effect, why should the public trust that the system will respect any other laws or policies.

Florida & Tampa Bay schools blog - The Gradebook:

"getsmart, my wife is a special ed teacher in Hillsborough. Her trick for this was to track the disruptive students through all of their classes and get all of their teachers to start writing referrals on them (documenting said students' bad behaviors and estimating how much time was wasted dealing with those behaviors and regaining control of the classroom). It's awfully hard for even the most spineless or clueless administrator to ignore five or more teachers writing referrals on the same students. When confronted with that much documentation, even the most defensive parent will get a wakeup call. As for the students, once their running buddies see that there actually *are* consequences then they may get a severe attitude adjustment.
Posted by: MenckenJr | June 12, 2009 at 04:06 PM"

Compare that statement to what is found in the Federal law:

IDEA - Building The Legacy of IDEA 2004: "Statute: TITLE I / D / 654

Sec. 654 USE OF FUNDS."

(a) Professional Development Activities.--A State educational agency that receives a grant under this subpart shall use the grant funds to support activities in accordance with the State's plan described in section 653, including 1 or more of the following:

(B) improve the knowledge of special education and regular education teachers and principals and, in appropriate cases, paraprofessionals, concerning effective instructional practices, and that--

(iii) provide training in methods of--

(I) positive behavioral interventions and supports to improve student behavior in the classroom;


I posted all of that to now address specifically how the above public comment displays blatant disregard for federal law:

IDEA - Building The Legacy of IDEA 2004:

"(3) Development of iep.--
(A) In general.--In developing each child's IEP, the IEP Team, subject to subparagraph (C), shall consider--

(B) Consideration of special factors.--The IEP Team shall--

(i) in the case of a child whose behavior impedes the child's learning or that of others, consider the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports, and other strategies, to address that behavior;"

In other words, a special education student, whose behavior impedes their learning, or impedes the learning of others, is supposed to receive specialized instruction for their behavior from professional education systems and their professional employees. What is not supposed to happen is an orchestrated attempt, by a professional education system, to punish the kid instead of teaching the kid.

The parsing of the word "consider" in "B"(1) is used by clever thinking District personnel to obfuscate their acting on carrying out positive efforts to address behaviors.

As we can see by the comment, these teachers have time to "(documenting said students' bad behaviors and estimating how much time was wasted dealing with those behaviors and regaining control of the classroom)", but we can assume they do not have time, and more importantly, nor the training, to document "said students' bad behavior" to conduct a functional behavioral assessment and the resulting positive behavioral support plan.

Richard L. Hancock

Friday, June 5, 2009

Where There Is Smoke, There's Fire - Florida Has Been Overheating For Years

One more attempt at exposing the system:

There are a few of us who think there has been something rotten in Denmark. Trying to unwrap it is very difficult. The system insulates itself at all levels.

This is why when I see a successful suit by parents, I know that their case was as solid as possible.

For you teachers and school employees who want to understand how the public loses respect for the system and how "honest" employees are victims also, read the above link with comprehension.

It may be difficult going at first, but stick with it and you will see the light.

Monday, April 27, 2009

“Deliberate indifference is discrimination,” she said.

This story sounds typical of how school districts don't "get it".

The system has basically left it up to the parents to be the legal experts and entity to enforce compliance. No part of the system seems to do it.

"She said she tried for years to get the Collier County School District to properly evaluate her student for a learning disability. Frustrated with what she said was a lack of district response, she has removed her daughter from Collier County schools."

Compare that statement with what IDEA 2004 says:

(b) Request for initial evaluation. Consistent with the consent requirements in Sec. 300.300, either a parent of a child or a public agency may initiate a request for an initial evaluation to determine if the child is a child with a disability.

c) Procedures for initial evaluation. The initial evaluation-

(i) Must be conducted within 60 days of receiving parental consent for the evaluation; or

(ii) If the State establishes a timeframe within which the evaluation must be conducted, within that timeframe; and

(2) Must consist of procedures--

(i) To determine if the child is a child with a disability under Sec. 300.8; and

(ii) To determine the educational needs of the child.

Collier School Board criticized for not addressing special needs students complaints : Education : Naples Daily News

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Balancing Truth With Accountability

The story in the below link is not an isolated incident.

When a child is born with an obvious disability, society seems to adjust and make whatever needed rationalizations to accommodate the individual.

When a child has a not-so-obvious disability, society blames the kid, the parents, and the parenting.

For those of us who have lived with and loved a kid with a disability that is above and beyond the "typical disability" and involves behavioral issues, we know what it's like. School personnel didn't need to tell me how bad my kid can act in the same breath they were telling me that they were the educational experts. I didn't count the times in 1996 (13 years ago) that the Principal's secretary at Mann Middle school called me to come get my kid because he was unruly. Now that I understand the challenges and the system from a better perspective, it was indicative of the systemic issues that it was the secretary calling me. Not the Principal. Not the teacher. Not the ESE specialist. Not the Supervisors of Hearing Impairments, Visual Impairments, Deaf/blind or the Director of Special Education. It was the secretary.

For those who don't get it, there had been six years of extraordinary supports and services that were undone by one or two people at different sites. While many were striving to educate my son and my wife and I, there were a few who insisted on making sure we all knew how bad a kid he was and how bad we were as parents. These events changed the next 10 years of my relationship with the HCPS.

It's a hell of note when you are threatened with trespassing and truancy at the same time.

Educating kids with Asperger syndrome, autism and others on the spectrum - St. Petersburg Times:

"'They have nothing for kids who are in-between,' Sandy said. 'They honestly don't know how to deal with him. That's what the assistant principal told me. Which floored me, because I'm thinking, how can you not know what to do? They have to go to school, right? It's the law.'"

The HCPS defense lawyers will cringe when they see this. Of course, this article is simply heresay. My guess would be that unless this poor, misguided assistant principal had said this in an IEP meeting that was taped, the chances of a parent proving that a statement like that was made is slim and none.

These kinds of things happen when regular ed employees don't know to speak the truth. Special-ed employees are routinely coached in what not to say. Here is a sample:
Motel Special Ed: The Training of Coded Language - Another Brush,Another Incident, but keeping out of legal jeopardy

From : THE EXCEPTIONAL COMMUNICATOR November-December, 2004 Vol. 4 No. 4

When parents make requests at IEP meetings there are some things that you shouldn't say in response; using these phrases could place the district in legal jeopardy if the parent files for due process later on:
 We can’t do… - We don’t believe…
 No student gets more than…  It would cost too much to…
 It would take too much...  We don’t do…
 We never do…  We only do…
Instead, show that you’re listening by asking:
Where did you hear about that ?
 Which IEP goals do you see that addressing ?
 Do you have data on that ? Can you get us information?
 Have we described what we’re doing in the program we’re using ?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Where Are All The People That Are Protesting Terrorist Abuse at Abu Ghraib?

My Way News - More 'fight club' allegations at Texas school

"Mar 22, 1:22 AM (ET)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Nine employees are under investigation over allegations of new fights among mentally disabled residents of the troubled Corpus Christi State School, a state lawmaker said Saturday night."

If this story is true, I hope there becomes widespread awareness that there are "cancer cells of abuse" across the country.

I understand that school employees should not be subjected to violence by disabled students. None of us should.

The requirement that behavioral education is to be provided by our public school agencies is clearly stated in the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Without behavioral education, academic education can not occur. Without social and emotional education, academic education can not occur.

How many professionally trained behavior specialists are there that are overseeing the behavior requirements of the students? How many teachers and school sites are left to their own to provide behavioral education? How many teachers and school sites that do not have the necessary skills and resources provide an environment that makes the behavior worse. In other words, are they inadvertenly teaching wrongly?

No school system would ever admit that their practices actually increase the inappropriate behaviors, despite the numbers of disabled kids that end of being arrested in special education centers. Even when there is evidence that 82% of students did not receive (see page 3)the services written into the IEP's. Apparently the District misrepresented their actions to the parents, their employees and to the state, as the state was providing money for these services based on the Matrix of Service provided by the district to the state.

Families Against Restraint and Seclusion

Monday, February 16, 2009

Any Validation Of This Person's Opinion?

Thanks to The Gradebook for this link and the accompanying public comments:

When is 2010? A class-size question that matters

Can anyone validate this person's comments? Anonomous but truthful comments accepted.

"School systems have been running class size numbers through a "business accounting" model for nearly eight years.

Step 1: County-wide class size average was achieved by hiring more special education teachers and firing the aides who worked in the classrooms with the children. For instance, a school's special ed program that once served 28 students with disabilities with one teacher and three classroom aides (An inexpensive solution to a labor intensive process.) now serves 28 students with two teachers and 1 classroom aide.

Step 2: School wide averages- The "business model solution" to reach this benchmark was to divide and conquer. Let's say a system of schools served 3000 students with disabilities with programs concentrated in 10 of their 30 schools. The special education programs were broken up and divided over the 30 schools in the system and whoa la, abra cadabra-school wide averages are met adding no additional resources. Too bad those concentrated special education programs served students, teachers and schools well by creating atmospheres that supported special needs learning. Whether it was a playground equipped for wheel chair bound students or an atmosphere accepting of behavior challenges equipped to curtail even the most egregious and socially unacceptable behaviors. No matter. The kids, the teachers and the programs were dismantled to avoid the cost of implementing the class size amendment with integrity.

Step 3: Classroom by classroom- When it finally gets down to what the voters wanted in the first place: smaller classes to make learning, teaching and (accurate) accounting methods feasible, well...the answer is to thwart the will of the people again, right!

The people did not want learning disabled students to experience less support in classrooms through losing non-certified, but highly trained classroom aides.

The people did not want special education programs dismantled.

The people wanted ALL children to experience more classroom support. Those with disabilities as well as those with abilities. The people wanted to assist teachers with their workload by diminishing the number of students they were responsible to teach.

This is the same unethical behavior exhibited on Wall Street. Cook the books and dam n the consequences!

If you think the fall of the stock market is a crisis, you just wait until we fail to educate an entire generation of public school students!

Is it too quaint to expect our leadership to simply do the right thing?

And we wonder why our kids don't just do as their told! With today's role models, it's no wonder kids don't think the rules apply to them. The lesson here is-just don't get caught!

Posted by: | February 16, 2009 at 12:08 PM"

Sunday, February 8, 2009

What? In Times Of Hundreds Of "Isolated" Incidents, I Was Told That The Staff Was Expert

Many Florida teachers may be ill-equipped to handle special-needs students:

"Even teachers who earned degrees in education may have taken just one or two classes in special education, making them aware of their legal responsibilities but unsure of how to manage a class in which one child may not respond the way other children do."

"Scott said many teachers rely on 'old school' punitive methods of discipline, most of which don't work with special needs students, particularly those with autism who may miss social cues.
'You can't punish these kids into behaving well,' he said."

Imagine a pro-active parent such as myself, along with the assistance of a pro-active teacher, taking my deaf/blind kid to Florida State University to be evaluated by the leading expert in the education of deaf/blind students. Imagine the main reason this time and effort was done was so that we could share the results and the educational implications of this report with the staff that was unsure of how to manage a class which one child may not respond the way other children do.

Imagine the excitement that we had when we received the report and saw some of the same strategies that we had been trying to help the teacher and principal with.

Imagine the disappointment, frustration and later anger that we had when we were told by the school personnel that "Those are just recommendations. We don't have to do them."

The arrogance and ignorance of the system stifles the growth of the very teachers they depend on.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Defining "Primary Disability" And The Educational Implications Of Same

I was hoping to get a little more information, but I'll go with what I have.
On a previous post, a public commenter and I had a discussion and this was stated:

Motel Special Ed: IEP Tip for the day:

"We do have to choose which one is the 'primary' disability. This is the one that requires the most service time."

I wanted to know how one determined which disability requires the most service time, and the response was this:

"I think I can answer that. I have an SLD/Hearing Impaired student in my class. The SLD is "primary"(I think that's the term) because he's with SLD teachers in 5 classes a week(FUSE) and has only a weekly meeting with other teacher (of the Hearing Impaired)who visits a number of sites per day(s). In IEP meetings, both are present."

We can assume that the student is Hearing impaired the same amount of time that the student has a specific learning disorder.

I bring this up because in one of the difficult school settings that my son was in, the frustrated primary teacher that he was with most of the time made a comment that she was only responsible for my son's hearing disability and that the vision department was responsible for his vision disability. This was the same time that he had been provided a computer that apparently caused some problems because the need for the computer use was written into his IEP, and no one else in the class had a computer. He had done quite well with large fonts at his previous setting and had a proven track record. To add a little flavor, after things started going bad we discovered that the computer screen he was supposed to be using was so bad that all of the normal sighted adults that had to get involved with this issue could plainly see that he couldn't see it.

While there is certainly more to this small part of what started the big story, it was shortly after that that I made it a point to say that he was profoundly deaf and legally blind all at the same time.

Some people think that is a mocking statement. I was simply stating the facts.

That happened over 10 years ago, and I am sure that all of the ESE divisions work together in full support with each other now.