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

Sep 30
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by Doug Goldberg

To belong, to fit in, to be suitable, to be appropriate or to be a member of a club, organization, or set; this is what we all want for our children.  So nothing hurts worse than when your child’s Teacher tells you, “Your child doesn’t belong in my classroom.”  What you hear as a parent is a statement of your child’s failings.  What I hear is an admission of a denial of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for your child.  Let me give you a few examples of what you are not hearing but is implied in this statement:

  1. Your child doesn’t belong in my classroom because the school will not provide the appropriate aides and supports necessary to educate your child;
  2. Your child doesn’t belong in my classroom because I am not capable of educating your child;
  3. Your child doesn’t belong in my classroom because I don’t want to take the time to differentiate my instruction and find the method that your child learns;
  4. Your child doesn’t belong in my classroom because the District has increased my class size to 45 students and has not provided me with a paraprofessional to help lessen my load;
  5. Your child doesn’t belong in my classroom because I don’t want to follow his IEP because it takes too much time and energy;
  6. Your child doesn’t belong in my classroom because the School District refuses to spend money on children with special needs; and
  7. Your child doesn’t belong in my classroom because I am a bad teacher.

The last example I want to explain, because I realize that I may have angered many educators.  Just like every profession there are a few who are great at what they do, a few that are awful at what they do and many that are somewhere in between.  Teaching is no exception and if you have uttered the phrase, “Your child doesn’t belong in my class,” you land solidly on the far left of the bell curve in the well below average category of Teaching.  Even if you made this statement due to constraints caused by the School District, this statement is not acceptable.  We all have the right to belong, and we also all have the right to be educated.  This doesn’t mean I believe every child should be educated in a mainstream class; inevitably, many school districts will not provide the necessary supports needed for inclusion to be successful.  I do however feel that every child deserves to be respected and to tell them or their parents they “don’t belong” is not appropriate.

About a month ago I went to my son’s back to school night.  This is his first year in Middle School so we spent about 5 to 10 minutes in each class.  The second class I went into was his social studies room and the Teacher started her discussion by stating, “I am going to set the bar really high this year for every student.  I don’t care that this isn’t my honors class I am going to set the bar high and every single student WILL move higher than they thought they could.  They might not all make it to the top but I will take them ALL as high as they can go.”  She then read this poem:

She then walked us through the various methods she uses to teach including visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic.  To determine how each of her students learn she conducted a learning style assessment on the first day of school and used those results to modify her teaching style.  If you haven’t realized it yet this Teacher lands on the far right of the bell curve in the well above average category for Teaching.

The morale of this little exercise is that there are good teachers and bad teachers, good school districts and bad school districts.  So, if your child’s Teacher tells you, “Your child doesn’t belong in my class,” it’s time to find a new placement.  It’s time to find a new placement not because your child doesn’t belong but because your child deserves better.  Your child deserves a Teacher like my son’s social studies Teacher who is going to push them and help them fly.

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6 Responses to “Your Child Doesn’t Belong in My Classroom”

  1. I have a friend whose sone does not belong in the class he is placed in. The district insists that he be in a severe functioning class (almost no behaviors, but he can sure learn them) and he does not. He belongs in the mild to moderate class, and the teacher is helping the mom fight to get him placed in the less restrictive mild to moderate class. This doesn’t mean she is good though, because if she were actually good at what she does there wouldn’t be people getting their kids out of her class because she and her aides push the kids around, and she would find a way to integrate him with the rest of the school while also encouraging district officials to put him where where he belongs.

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  2. This brings tears to my eyes because this is where I am at right now! For the 2nd day in a row my son (7) was sent home from school BC he refused to do classwork and PE (He hates PE with a passion bc he says his knees always hurt). I am in contact with a Dr, and a therapist, he was recently diagnosed with ADHD and SPD. He is on a new medication. All 3 of my kids attend a private school. But when he gets sent home an hour and a half after I’ve dropped them off? COME ON! That sure seems to me like it’s too hard so throw it at me and expect me to magically fix it! Well SHIT Pardon my language but you don’t think I’d fix him if I had a magic wand? You think I like getting called in when I have things to do, a house to run, dishes and laundry and runs to the bank, and god forbid my own therapy appointments so I can deal with some of this! Thursday my oldest has a feild trip (parents drive the trips BC the school is so small there is no bus), so I asked my son’s teacher today when I was supposed to do TH for this trip, since he’s not allowed to sit in the hall all day, and we only have 1 car, and my husband HAS to work! She basically looked at me and said I couldn’t go, BC if I took him, he’d see it as a reward. So PUNISH my oldest who does no wrong and is thriving? She practically chastised me today when she asked what he had done all day and I said run errands with me. OMG the LOOK! I am sorry for going off but you are the only one that understands. I have NO support here. None! And I am dying here….

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  3. Nichole I completely understand!! I am about ready to pull my son from school all together. He has autism and enjoys learning but he is not able to “behave” as expected yet the one on one aide was denied and we get a call from the principal almost daily (the teacher won’t communicate with us :-/ so sick of my son repeating the stupid comments she makes in front of him. It is so frustrating!!

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  4. Same with my daughter. She’s ten, fifth grade, mainstreamed. I get a lot of phone calls to come and get her. If they are only refusing work and not causing physical harm towards themselves or anyone else, DO NOT GO AND PICK THEM UP! This is completely behavioral and at that point you request an FBA. I’ve been requesting one for three years as my daughter has refused work constantly. On the chance that I’ve become fed up with the school and I DO pick her up, it is only after I have it documented in her file that I am taking her home because of her behavior and lack of action on their part. I refuse to play this game any longer. I’ve actually been requesting a different placement for years. We have a great program available for kids with autism but the school won’t budge so I am biding my time and building my case one issue at a time…good luck to everyone!

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  5. I’m on the flip side of this discussion and hope to gain some perspective from you and also offer a bit of my own. I’m a para-educator at a private school. I work in a class with 17 3 year olds, 1 of which has special needs. Because he’s so young he’s not been diagnosed and I don’t want to label him. He cannot sit still, it’s impossible to hold his attention, and his social interactions with his classmates are inappropriate (he growls and chases them, etc..). The problem is, I, like many para’s, am not trained to teach a special needs child. My teacher is also not trained in special education. He’s a constant disruption to the classroom and the other kids go home and tell their parents about him, which has resulted in complaints to our administrative team. After almost 3 months, nothing has been done and his behavior has gotten worse. I can’t get this child’s name out of my head. Our entire classroom revolves around his behavior because we’re at a loss over what to do. I’d really love to see this child succeed but I don’t see that happening in the environment he’s in now. His parents are paying for him to receive a good education but I truly feel he’d do SO much better in a setting that can cater to his needs. I know that some teachers are lazy, some don’t care. That’s not our classroom. We literally do not have the knowledge nor the resources to provide this child with even the most basic education. So, when a teacher tells you “Your child doesn’t belong here”, it’s not ALWAYS wrong and shouldn’t be taken as an insult. Sometimes it’s the truth and the truth, while hard to hear, is sometimes necessary for the betterment of your child.

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  6. I should also mention that he also eats rocks, licks his classmates, bites his shoes, plays in the toilet water after he’s gone to the bathroom, and in 3 months’ time we haven’t been able to teach him the difference between a letter and a number. His behavior goes far beyond just a typical “child can’t sit still” situation. Please don’t judge me. I pray for this child every night and also pray that he’ll find himself in a situation that benefits him more than the one he’s in now.

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