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Help with what is FAPE.


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Hi there. 
I’m the parent of a child in Virginia that is currently not attending school due to PTSD generalized to the school. Several events lead to him being very anxious last year and then after he was physically attacked by a group students his symptoms became  compounded to the point he was not able to attend school the last few weeks. Upon return this year in the Fall his anxiety was rising and he has now been diagnosed with PTSD. It’s a long story and it is ugly. The ugly part is the school and their constant denial and lack of support in this matter. They say they don’t want to disregard his diagnosis but…. then they they make a comment or an action that does just that. My child has said he wants to go to school which the doctor says is a great sign.  But he scared to go to that particular school which he has had this experience at. After a year of asking for them to transfer him to any other school in the county and having them deny twice they finally agreed during mediation but said they wouldn't provide transportation. They knew transportation was an issue when we made the request prior to it being a formal recommendation by his medical team, that conversation had already been had. We felt certain that when the doctors diagnosed him and that we had recommendations from the doctors for him to be removed that the school would finally transfer our child and transport him to daycare after school. Nope... They won't. They say that it is a parents request and they can provide a FAPE at the school that is within our district. I'm trying to navigate through this mess and not have my son regress further psychologically. He's not attending school again and nownew are getting ready to presue the homebound route. But fear that is going to push him to the point he may not want to ever return to school in person and all the facts about  him being severely behind academically and the worry about how much worse that will get with him only having a homebound teacher come to daycare for and hour or two a week. I'm so confused by the whole process and how each school district can disect what they deam a FAPE is. Trying to find legal representation has been awfull. We are a working family and just can't afford $4k-$9k retainer for an attorney. Help!!! 

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I can't give a conclusive answer without seeing his 504 Plan/IEP, the agreement reached in mediation, or the medical report, but transportation should be included in the accommodation of transferring him to another school.  Their argument that they can provide FAPE at the district school is invalid - that's the whole reason for sending him to another school.   His current school cannot provide FAPE due to his PTSD.

You might try to find an advocate rather than an attorney.  They are much less expensive and usually all that is needed.  Check the COPAA website, as well as the Yellow Pages for Kids on the Wright's Law website.  Both should be listed by state.  You might also try filing a state complaint or requesting another mediation on the issue of transportation.

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"they can provide a FAPE at the school that is within our district." but they said they agreed with the doctor that this school building triggers anxiety.  They need to pick one answer.  The truth is that transportation for one child to a school they don't currently have a route for is a big ticket item (we're talkin a good $20,000 or more) that they want to avoid.

Most of the schools in my area have aftercare which sounds like it would be an option if the alt school had this.  Any chance you can find a SAHM with kids in the alt school who can take your child to aftercare or perhaps care for your child after school so you can take advantage of the mediated solution that was agreed to?  This avoids getting an advocate or attorney involved as well as getting your child back to school so they can catch up with the instruction they missed.  A college aged sitter who can get him at school & provide care is another option.

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