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School wants to place residential


Jen T
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I have a 16yo boy in IEP for depression, anxiety and social anixety who has previously had an extremely difficult time attending school on a consistent basis due to school refusal. He would miss 20+ days a year. I think the refusal was due to bullying, not fitting in and not feeling safe/comfortable in school  from pre-k till 10th. He's been in different settings including public, home-based, 2 private placement, back to public, home-based, to private placement and now back to home-based. This last private placement was perfect.  But due to difficulty settling in and feeling comfortable he only attended 20% of first 30 days, though still more then any school prior. School rule is student must have attendance rate of 85% including excused absences. They gave him an extra 20 days to prove his could attend at higher rate. Due to unforseen circumstances child had an absence of 7 days and then  was ill 2 days. Even though all were excused his attendance rate was only 51%. School dismissed child stating he needs a more theraputic setting to deal with his anxiety and can return next year. Well public school is insisting that best placement is a residential setting. I would agreed previous years when his depression and anxiety were not well managed but child is so different now. He doing so much better. We finally found the right medication, we found a safe school that he loved. To put him in a Residential Placement is just going to send him spiraling backwards. On top of fact he at age he can refuse. Even his psychiatrist said that is not an option for child, he needs be home with family. We have found another private day that is theraputic and it's geared toward ED. Only 7 students so he would thrive. But public school is insisting on residential which he won't go to, which means they would keep him on home-based. This is not FAPE for him. He has to be in a school setting socializing.  What options do I have? He wants to be at school learning. Home-based has been a joke. He hasn't even needed to meet with teacher as he able to do all work on his own. I need public school to agree to private placement as residential is not an option and he's learning nothing on home-based. All the work given to him he's previously done.

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Have you had multiple IEP meetings regarding this? If so, it sounds like it's time to consider your procedural safeguard options. Have you considered mediation? Due process is another option, but review https://adayinourshoes.com/iep-due-process/ on that.

Do you have an advocate? There are Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs) in each state (https://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/). You may want to reach out to yours if you haven't already to see what assistance they could provide. Maybe they would attend mediation with you?

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Thank you Jenna for the information. We only had one meeting so far regarding new placement. The case manager does not even know how the process works to put a child residential due to attendance. IEP team keeps saying it's what's best, but I strongly disagree since he's proven he's able to attend school in a safe place. What's sad is the IEP team keeps saying they want what's best and care about my child. Well where these people 10+ years ago when I asked for help and continually denied an IEP even though the testing showed high depression and anxiety. If things were dealt with back then we probably wouldn't be here. I plan on contacting the parent training center in VA see if they can help. I guess i will give school permission to talk to psychiatrist so he can also tell them no residential as it would be detrimental to his mental health.

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 I hope your parent training center can help you. Would the psychiatrist write a letter and/or call in to an IEP meeting to share his recommendations and why he feels that residential would be detrimental? (He could send the letter to you so you have it for your records and then you can send it to the district.)

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