Last week I got an email from a district employee who had specific concerns that kids with IEPs in the district aren't being serviced properly (I'm going to be intentionally vague here, for reasons that will soon reveal themselves). I told her I would look into it, and I did. I talked to some people, I put out a few emails, I started learning some stuff.
The first thing I learned is that there is, in fact, a problem at our district, and kids are not being serviced properly, among other things. This happens because parents don't always know their rights, and the district is happy to take advantage of that by not informing them. I've heard a bunch of stories today and I'm pretty pissed off about it, and I know there are probably more stories still to come. It reminds me of me at my first IEP meeting, pregnant with #2, totally clueless about what was going on. I had a nonverbal 3 year old with a formal diagnosis of autism, they were offering me 15 hours/week of a special needs only classroom, speech therapy 30 minutes/week and I thought I did pretty well. What did I know? Nobody told me otherwise.
Well, guess what, district? It's not okay to lie to parents about what their rights are in the hopes that they'll just accept what you say because they don't know any better. I know you've pretty much always been successful with that approach, but it's still not fucking okay, and if I have to personally call every parent of a kid with an IEP and inform them of their rights under IDEA 2004, I will do so. (Okay, honestly, I would probably get somebody to help me with this part. I mean, let's not go crazy).
The one thing I heard from every single person, however, is "I am X and and this is my problem but please don't mention my name because I don't want to jeopardize (either my kid or my job) if the district hears I've been talking to you." Everybody is just scared shitless of what kind of wrath the district will bring on them, just for talking. Well, guess what else, district? I'm not scared of you. My son has autism, and a well documented history of needing 1:1 support, are you going to try to deny him services because of something that I do? Fucking bring it on. I dare you.
I don't know yet what I'm going to do, but I'm going to do something. We'll see what happens....