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School divisions issues, possible IDEA violations.

Steven S.



my oldest (8) is supposed to be enrolling for 3rd grade, we have been going at it with the IEP team for a while. A little background, he was a victim of abuse in and by the school back in 2019. As a result of this we will not allow him to attend school without safeguards. In this instance, as the school refuses to install a video surveillance system, we have requested 1) a properly staffed class and 2) 1:1 support. We are aware this is a hard fight to win, and while that’s fine the issue I’m fighting with right now is this.

Wwe are working off of a “transfer IEP” with data from 2019. The senior coordinator for learning support- special education offered us home based school services. This was a massive win!!  Until the contact expired and they are now refusing to renew it. They are using the new IEP (that is far from complete and accurate) as the magic key that will unlock the services previously provided. 
 I believe what the district is doing is illegal. They are refusing to provide a SAFE, free education. 
I do not feel comfortable sharing any personal info regarding my child, we are in Virginia and I’m in the military. 

Any real i do, guidance etc. Would be greatly appreciated. 

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Schools do not abuse children.  Buildings don't do this.  It's the people in the buildings that abuse.  What I would want to look at is if the people who did the abuse (and anyone who turned their back on it where they should have/could have stopped it and didn't) are still working in this building and if they have been re-trained to use a different approach in the future.  Requesting that the people who did the abuse not work with your child, IMO, is a reasonable request.  That would be my approach with looking at my child returning to a building after abuse.  (I'd also be looking to see if the building reminds my child of the abuse where going back would cause anxiety to the point where they cannot focus to learn.)  There was a big shake up in Virginia where students were restrained/secluded.  Not sure if this is what happened with your child.  I know they are working to make changes.  The safeguards you are insisting on seem to be excessive given what is done for other students to keep them safe.  Would this also be needed if your child were to go to a different building for 3rd grade?  Do you have this in your home for when you have a sitter watch your child?  What will be needed in 4th & 5th grade?  Settlement agreements are generally for one year and just like IEPs cover one year.  Every year, you negotiate & make a decision to redo it or come up with another way to educate the student.

IEPs are developed from the present levels - the student's baseline.  2019 is 3 years ago.  This doesn't sound like present levels to me.  Present levels come from evaluations that determine the student's baseline or they come from providing services and monitoring progress from that baseline.  I feel you need to express your concerns that progress since 2019 is not well documented and that the baseline data they are using to base services on isn't accurate.  If the baseline isn't accurate, the IEP isn't going to be FAPE.  (There is an expression referring to computers:  Garbage in; garbage out.  I think this is what you're seeing with the IEP.)  I feel you need to tell the school that they need current/recent data to come up with accurate baselines from which goals and services can be developed.  The child they are describing in the IEP isn't the child you're seeing.  Not sure when in 2023 your child's triennial is due but given what has happened, moving up the eval so you have current data to base IEP goals and services on seems like a logical move for the school to do if you request it.

IEPs are not about winning and losing.  They are about coming up with what is appropriate for a student given their present levels and after looking at all areas of suspected disability.  If your child was abused, the school needs to see if this resulted in trauma which might now be an area they need to support.  Realistically, home based school services should have looked to see if this was an area of need for your child given how the situation came about.

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