Learn Your Special Education Laws, Special Education Rights, and Share IEP Goal Ideas

Jun 21
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by Doug Goldberg

Dear Principal, Assistant Principal or Dean of Students that has lost perspective;

Over the past school year I have seen an increasingly troubling trend among a FEW of you entrusted to protect and educate our children.  You have adopted a military philosophy known as, “Kill one, save a thousand.”  At this point I’m sure many of you are screaming foul and yelling at the computer screen that nothing you do actually kills a child.  I would argue that your actions in many ways can have this affect on a child.  At best you are killing their dreams and at worst you are emotionally scaring them for a lifetime in ways you may not even be aware of.  I know you think your actions are justified because you have an entire school full of other children to think about but you are going about it all wrong.  If you want to embrace a philosophy how about the Doctor’s Hippocratic Oath to, “Do no harm.”  Work with the child’s parents and find a solution that helps the situation for all involved and doesn’t harm even one child. 

I urge you to spend this summer trying to reconnect with an earlier version of yourself.  Where enthusiasm and optimism reigned supreme and you remember why you wanted to become an educator in the first place.  According to the American Association of School Administrator code of ethics, “The educational leader acknowledges that he or she serves the schools and community by providing equal educational opportunities to each and every child (emphasis added).”

I urge you, yes I’m urging again, to reach out to other School Administrators and see how the vast majority lead.  If you are not on twitter create a profile and join in on a weekly tweetchat set up just for you called #CPChat (Connected Principals).  It’s not too late to reflect on your actions and become a better leader.  Learn from your mistakes, form a Personal Learning Network (PLN), connect with parents and become a more effective administrator and professional.

You may think this is way too harsh but I have seen too much this year to not speak up.  It is not okay to use the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) as a pawn in your chess game.  Sending DCFS to the house of a seven year old for bringing melatonin to school two weeks after you tried and failed to throw this child out of school is a gross misuse of power and retaliatory.  It also may very well put another child at risk of being abused because DCFS is too busy investigating this nonsense.

It is not okay to recommend expelling a child when the Teacher just admitted he misunderstood the IEP and was not implementing it correctly.  It is even worse when you get angry after the School District Lawyers tell you that they don’t have a legal leg to stand on and they want to settle.  Why are you so angry when part of the settlement agreement includes moving the child to a more appropriate school?  The child will not be expelled, be provided a more appropriate school and IEP and yet you are angry that this child will not be expelled.  You can no longer see the forest through the trees, you have lost perspective.

You must realize you are the exception to the rule you are not the norm.  You have lost your way and you need guidance and support.  I am sorry the system has broken you.  I understand your challenges, the budget deficits, increasing class size, unreasonable demands from both the District and Parents but I am hopeful you can change.  The first step to change is awareness and now that you are aware change is possible if you embrace it.


Child Advocate

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