If you're unfamiliar with the entire story you can get up to speed here and here .
I'm sitting in a blissfully quiet house sipping coffee, contemplating my day, my week, and what to do next after a devastating outcome to what appears to be the final meeting with Bean's special ed provider at school.
I was not able to persuade them to allow Beans to go to another school. They stated it violates Least Restrictive Environment, due to the other structured learning room being further away than the one he was attending. I know that there will be 20 comments about how I can fight that, but their wording, and their reasoning doesn't have to make sense. I had 2 of the best advocates in my entire state helping me through this. If there was a way to fight effectively against our special ed coop they would have done so. If there was words to use, and ways to fight that wouldn't be wasting my time, and money they'd have jumped on that opportunity. The fact is, our local special ed coop is run pretty much like our government. We all know they're not doing things right by the people, but there isn't much we can do. We can take it to the courts, where their friends, and acquaintances work, and there is rarely ever a judgment in the parent's favor. Government agencies rarely like to step on the toes of other agencies.
With that being said, I am of course going to go forth with reporting the misconduct of the whole situation to
our state board, district representative, and governor, complete with every photo, and document, Someone needs to be aware of this who can do something about the unshakable power our coop represents. It's unlikely to change anything for Beans right now. Though, it might just start a movement to dismantle some of the corruption.
I know that seemed like a long intro to this, but I had to explain why getting lawyers, and such involved at this point would be a waste of time, and money. I don't have anymore resources to waste. My husband has missed so much work due to this ordeal, and when you're self-employed that means no income on missed days, but possibly having to still pay out. In other words, every missed day is a hole he has to fill up somewhere. All these meetings, and such mean me researching, copying, phone calls, and emails. That has taken up most of my day, and the rest has gone to caring for Beans, because he has been at home at this point with me for almost a month. That is a month without any education. I have done some one on one table work with him, but not a lot. I haven't had time with all the other stuff. I am working on getting more respite hours, but I don't know who can fill them if I do. I have no family, or friends to help. It's just me, and my husband. When I am on the phone, or doing housework, or whatnot Beans is on his own, bored. So for me to invest my time, and resources into a solution I need to be fairly certain it will work, because I don't have another month to waste.
So, I am sitting here making my plan for today. Making my plan for tomorrow, and trying to not think about the long term future. I get overwhelmed just thinking about next year, and the year after. I am a big planner. I am always one step ahead of everyone else, because I am typically a quick decider when I have the opportunity to gather the facts, and weigh my options. This case is not one that I have found easy, or came to my decision with any kind of solid confidence I typically have. Normally, I know my choice is the right one. I researched it, and planned for it. I am confident that what my decisions can, and will be productive. This time, I am making my decision borne out of desperation. I am choosing the least sucky out of 2 really sucky options. It's not fair, and it's not right.
My choices were :
A: Send him back to the school with the same staff, who granted are on high alert, but still do not in any way have my son's best interest in their mind at any given time.
B. Homeschool- which is not the same as homeschooling other kids. Beans doesn't follow a curriculum. He functions overall at a 12-18 month old level, so he needs lots of different approaches to learning. We don't necessarily do social studies, and science, but rather lots of matching, and learning to hold a pencil type of tasks. In other words, I'm on my own. There is nothing to guide me on how, or what to teach. And, I have to do all of it without much help, unless I can find someone to provide respite services outside of a few hours in the evening.
See what I mean?
After thinking on it for a few hours (remember I said I am a quick decider) I made the harrowing decision to keep Beans with me, at home where I know he is safe. I cannot trust a school that would fail him in every way possible to keep him safe. I can't trust a faculty that sees him as having less rights than any other student due to his inability to speak. Maybe they will never allow him to be hurt in their care again (in ways I can see) , but that doesn't mean they will be nice to him. I also am riding on the principle that their behavior was so wrong, and the whole thing was so mishandled that there is no way I am letting them win. I am taking my son, and all the funding they get for him, which is a lot. I won't get that funding, but neither will they.
At the end of the meeting one of the advocates spoke up to comment about how the whole thing would have been such a vastly different ordeal if the school had apologized, and acted toward my family with empathy, rather than extreme defensiveness. She noted that the nature of their behavior from the get-go was extremely adversarial, and spoke of how all the staff I had on FB unfriended me. This little factoid brought a audible gasp from the entire table, and mumbles of "I didn't know that". I was floored. Of all the things that I felt were relevant to this case, and this situation that fact was what shocked people? No, I didn't inform the IEP team, or anyone else from the school about the status of my FB friend numbers, because I didn't think that was something that really mattered. It's Facebook. Sometimes, I don't understand people.
Yesterday, I got right onto locating speech, and OT services for him. I found somewhere, and am awaiting the doctor's script to be faxed (to bill insurance) so that I can begin the process of that. I will be discussing obtaining more respite hours, and where to possibly find someone to help me fill them in this afternoon.
I am trying to take it all one day at time. I have a to-do list a mile long from things not being done, and more that need to be. Today, I am just going to get a little housework done, at least a small workout, and a couple emails out. That is about all the more I think I can realistically do today besides the regular stuff, and appointments. The future is looming in the back of my mind as I stand unwavering in today. It's a hard stance to take, and I can absolutely admit I don't know quite what I am doing, but it's the path I chose in the midst of all of this chaos. To send him back to that classroom because I don't know how, or with what time to educate Beans would be making the same kind of decision they made, which was to do what was more convenient for them, rather than what was right. I'm not putting convenience above virtue.