View Full Version : help with legal obligations of a school

10-15-04, 12:11 PM
Can anyone help? My son has been in special education and on an IEP for 9 years. Last years test results enabled him to be in special education anymore. They school told me that since he was now functioning on grade level in all areas that he needed to be moved to 504. I have just found out that the school never followed through on the 504 plan and his current teachers were not aware of his disabilities. Have they violated his legal rights? He was made to serve 2 detentions that were disability related. Had the teachers been aware, they would have never wrote him up. He has never been in trouble in school and is now afaid to attend school. His anxiety level is rising (and mine too). HELP! I need the tools to proberly advocate for my son. What are the laws and where can I start my research? ANy suggestions?

The Rambler
11-15-10, 12:43 AM
As an ADD-er who struggled in school and still struggles in college...
I would talk this out with the school before I did anything else. Yes, they screwed up. And maybe, you might have some kind of legal recourse. I don't know. The point is not to prove they're wrong, though, it's to get your son the best education possible.
You could get a lawyer, try to sue the school, maybe get some cash... but what will that teach your son? He needs to know that grown-ups can talk things through, even when someone made a mistake. Also, teaching your son that his teachers are bad (even unconsciously) probably won't make him a better student.
Most schools would be happy to work with a parent in your situation. It's much easier to sit down and talk things out than it is to respond to angry phone calls and a student who needs help but thinks his teachers are "dumb."
If all else fails, and the teachers won't work with you and your son after you talk to them, is it possible to change schools? Sadly, there are still schools that aren't willing or able to work with AD/HD kids. Things have improved a lot since I was a kid, but there are still schools that push these kids off to the side. I hope that's not the case in your situation.
Also, if your son is really afraid to go to school, you need to talk to him about this. I can see him being very upset about the detentions, but afraid? What else is going on? Is he being bullied in some way?
IMO, it might be time to start family therapy. All of this craziness at school cannot be good for your son's education or psychological well-being. The therapist might also be able to help your son to gain some self esteem and good study skills now that he'll be in the new classes with less support from special education teachers. If you do decide to change schools, he'll need help with that transition too.
One last thing... as an adult in college who has struggled in school and in the "real world" I can say from experience that the majority of people out there will not make exceptions or work to assist someone with ADD. Forget about disability laws. It won't happen. His boss won't care that he has ADD when he shows up late for work for the third time or misplaces an important document. The most accommodation he might get will be a Blackberry or a planner of some sort. His boss won't remind him to sit still and get his work done.
Your son should have been transitioned into his new learning environment. The school seems to have failed him in that department. But as far as the detentions are concerned, even if the school dismisses them, he will have to learn to work with his ADD and discover the strenghts and advantages that it also gives him. He'll have to work twice as hard as the other kids. It's terribly unfair. But it will be much easier if he starts when he's young.
Just as deaf children must learn to sign and speak and when they are very young, AD/HD kids have to learn to adapt too. I'm betting that most of the adult ADD-ers here will agree that college and the office are not the places to learn to cope with AD/HD. His professors and supervisors will not bend for him, and you won't be there to help him. He will have to do it for himself.
Sorry this is long-winded. Just my humble opinion based on my own experience, and others may disagree. I truly wish you and your son the best. =)

11-15-10, 04:12 AM
I'm not sure if they've violated his legal rights, but it sounds like they have failed to live up to their duty of care which is a legal obligation of theirs.
There has clearly been a communication breakdown with your sons needs and as a mother of a special needs child myself I can sympathise with the difficulties you face in getting him the help he needs.

The Rambler
11-15-10, 04:58 AM
I just wanted to apologize if I came off harshly. I'm speaking from my own experience and what I have seen in friends my age with ADHD.
In many ways, I was lucky to be diagnosed later in life. No one knew about this stuff in the 80s. Many of my friends who were diagnosed in childhood had loving and concerned parents who were incredibly frusterated with teachers and schools who couldn't possibly understand what they were going through. Unfortunately, the kids picked up on this. They don't trust authority figures, and they feel that they don't need to adapt. Other people need to adapt to their needs.
The world does need to adapt. People need to be educated. But many of these friends now have difficulty holding down jobs, and few of them have finished college.
It can be very difficult sometimes for me to cope in a non-ADHD world. I get frusterated with people who won't try to "fit in" because it reflects badly on me. I work twice as hard to "fit in," be on time, stay organized; and then I still have to fight the stereotype. In some workplaces, to say that you have ADD or ADHD is to sign your own pinkslip. People think that it's a made-up diagnosis, an excuse. It means that you're above the rules.
But I don't have kids. I can't possibly imagine what you must be going through. Your son is very lucky to have a parent who is involved and ready and willing to advocate for him. Things have changed, thank goodness, and the school should be aware and understanding of your son's needs. They let him down. I really hope things work out.

11-15-10, 11:32 AM
Two good places to look up this kind of information are

The National Resource Center on AD/HD: Funded by the CDC, it is the national clearinghouse
or science-based information on ADHD.

A well known and respected site on the legal aspects of children with disabilities.


11-16-10, 12:46 AM
Talk to the principal, the super intendint, and the school board if it get bad enough.