The Right Way

Last night, after all the hullabaloo about the Monster’s failed IEP meeting, and more so about how I responded to it, the wife asked if getting a facilitator for the next meeting might not be a “good idea”.

Personally, I don’t see the point, if only because I’m not quite sure what a facilitator would be doing at the meeting.

I think what my wife is looking for, honestly, is to ramp down the level of animosity between us (me, really) and the current IEP team while our usual IEP chair is out on maternity leave.  There’s only one meaningful issue I have, and that is that the animosity is not the real problem.

The real problem is that the current IEP chair is not doing things the right (read: legally correct) way.

I’m only so antagonistic at the moment because I feel like she’s intentionally taking short cuts with the Monster’s IEP process.  So let’s go down the actual chronology that is going on my IEP Violation complaint:

  1. The Monster’s triennial assessments were ordered on December 5, 2013.  At that time, we scheduled the review meeting for February 18th.
  2. We arrived for the assessment review meeting on February 18th.  Of four assessments that had been ordered, we only had one in our hands – the educational assessment from Ms. A – in the legally appropriate time frame per Education Article 8-405 (5 business days before the meeting).  We were presented with 2 more – the physiologist’s workup and the SLP’s assessment – at the meeting itself.  Due to the lack of paperwork, I called an immediate halt to the meeting and insisted we do things the right way.  The interim IEP Chair issued a new ‘notice of meeting’ with a date of March 4th.
  3. My wife made the IEP chair aware of the fact that we’d not received an assessment from the OT, but a report instead, sometime shortly after the meeting on the 18th.  She was told we’d get a copy of the assessment PDQ.
  4. We had a delayed opening on March 4th due to ice and snow, and attempted multiple times to find out if we’d have to reschedule due to that fact (school wasn’t opening until 11 AM).  I arrived at the school at 9:35 AM – a little late due to the aforementioned ice and snow – to find an email from the interim IEP Chair with:
    1. The OT assessment to be discussed at the meeting, in violation of Education Article 8-405, and
    2. that she had, on her own, rescheduled the meeting to 11:30 AM without any notice to myself or my wife.
  5. I then went inside and protested both facts.  She then tried to assert that we needed to have the meeting to avoid a violation of the 90 day rule about reviewing ordered assessments, and accused me of not doing what was best for my child.

So what are the violations?

Two individual violations of Education Article 8-405.  I do not have to allow any reports, assessments or materials at an IEP meeting if I have not had 5 business days to review them.  8-405 also does not permit the IEP team to pressure me into relinquishing those rights.

One violation of the law regarding ordering and review of assessments.  Even if we had held the meeting at 11:30 yesterday, I again would have refused to review the OT assessment given 8-405… which means they’d be in violation anyway, since the earliest they are permitted to have a meeting to discuss that assessment is March 11th, due to the date she got us the paperwork.

One violation of the meeting notice law, regarding a requirement of agreement to attend by the parents and sufficient advance notice.

My major issue is this – if you know you’ve already violated the rule about getting documentation to the parents in time… it’s almost intentional when you do the same thing a second time.  And then to try to throw it back on me, when I’m unwilling to yield on the basis of her deadline?  That just cements in my mind that she’s trying to either reduce her workload or make me seem like the bad guy.  (Plus, let’s be honest – if she’s doing this to me, how many other parents are just putting up with it?)

good IEP chair would have, after that last meeting and after the notice that we didn’t have the OT assessment, made sure that we got that last document by February 25th.  She would have been proactive on the 3rd when the snow started falling, to find out if 11:30 was doable on Tuesday morning for us and if we’d be willing to waive the notification requirement, instead of whining to me about how she’d not had to work on Monday.  She’d be working with us, instead of against us, to help the Monster, which is the right way to be doing things.

And that’s not something a facilitator can fix.

At this point, we have a new meeting scheduled for March 18th, and I have the IDEA Part B violation paperwork printed out.  We’ll see where this goes.

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