Schools should be a place of learning, a place of acceptance, a place where students can be assured that their needs will be met. Unfortunately for Peter and Carl, both aged 14, this wasn’t the case – solely due to their schools refusing to provide needed services for their disabilities.
Carl’s school refused to provide reasonable accommodations in a class that they didn’t consider to be a core subject. Special education laws require accommodations in all areas of need. There is no clause exempting any subject or any activity that is offered by the school. Adding to the frustration of this situation, Carl needed this course to be able to pass the MCAS down the road.
Peter’s situation was different. A signed Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) was in place. An IEP is a contract between the school and the student’s parents/guardians. It specifies what accommodations and services need to be in place to ensure that a student with a disability is afforded a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Peter’s school agreed to provide certain accommodations and services, but chose not to actually provide them.
Both Peter and Carl’s parents contacted CORD for help. Brian Freeman, CORD’s Transition to Adulthood Program (TAP) advocate stepped in and worked with the parents and the schools. Brian educated the parents on their children’s rights and advocated with the schools. Carl’s school agreed to provide the needed accommodations in the class. Peter’s school, however, still refused to follow the IEP so Brian assisted Peter’s parents in escalating the matter to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
If you have a child who is, or who should be receiving special education services, and you are concerned the school is not following the law, call CORD at 508-775-8300. We can help.
- Names have been changed.