Who They’re Messing With

Today was the meeting with the IEP team to go over the triennial evaluations done on the Monster.

As I’d mentioned on Twitter, I was dreading today’s meeting.  We’ve known about it for a month or so, and to be honest, we’re fairly sure also of where the evaluations are going to lead in terms of what the plans are for the future (or at least how it should guide his IEP goals for the next few years).

The problem is the evaluations themselves.

Last Tuesday (really Wednesday, but I like Ms. A so I’m not going to quibble too much), we got the educational assessment.  And nothing else, unfortunately, arrived from the school, which is troubling when we could clearly remember that we’d discussed that a full battery of assessments were going to be done – SLP, OT and psychological observation.

Maryland’s Education Article §8-405 places very strict requirements about giving parents enough time to review information – specifically, a requirement that:

At least five (5) business days before a scheduled IEP team meeting or other multidisciplinary education team meeting, school systems must provide parents with an accessible copy of each assessment, report, data chart, draft IEP, or other document(s) the team plans to discuss at the meeting. A “business day” is defined as Monday through Friday, except for federal or State holidays, when a local school system (LSS) or public agency (PA) is open for business whether or not students are required to be in attendance for instruction.

Extenuating circumstances are allowed to be dealt with – things like natural disasters and family emergencies.  However, none of those came into play on this one – the school district simply didn’t get us the reports.  (Indeed, the law allows for so many ways to deliver the documents to us that they could have emailed them to us while the schools have been closed for the snowstorms…. never mind that the snow happened within the five business day window.)  And… frankly, if we’d even gotten them by Friday, to have the weekend to review them, I’d probably have let it slide.

So we arrived at the school for the meeting, and the interim IEP chair (our IEP coordinator is off on maternity leave) started putting copies of the report out in front of us… and I brought everything to a screeching halt.  “We can’t review these reports here,” I said to her.  “We can review the educational assessment, but not these.  We didn’t have a chance to review them.”

There was a bit of discussion – a “what can we discuss today to make some effective progress?” kind of discussion – before I dropped the hammer.  “I’m invoking our rights under the Education Article.  The assessments that were not received by us prior to the five day window are out.”  And that brought the meeting entirely to an end – rather than meeting twice to discuss the stuff in two parts, it’s better, frankly, to not meet at all.

Now, these people – most of them, at least – know us.  They know what kind of people we are, that we’re usually very prepared for these meetings, that we know our rights better than most of the parents that come into their office.  So I’m not quite sure why they didn’t cross their Ts and dot their Is with us with regards to getting us the paperwork.

The meeting’s been rescheduled to March 4th.  We’ll see how that one goes.

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