We submitted our discovery to the district five days before the due process as required by law. I never thought about it but they in turn did not send their discovery to us. The advocate never said anything about that either.
I told my husband and the advocate I would meet them at the courthouse in Newark at 8 a.m.. At the time my husband was driving a night shift over the road bid for his company. He drove a load of freight all night up from Virginia and dropped it off at his terminal so he could get to the courthouse in time. He came straight from work and arrived just in time. He quickly changed into a suit in our van. We headed upstairs. The school district’s attorney arrived just about the same time. A few minutes later an entourage of people arrived. The following people were there, the Special Education Director, the Principal, the resource room teacher and the reading specialist. I thought to myself, “They want to crucify me!” My husband tried to get me to laugh and said to me, “I wonder if they got one of those church vans to bring them all down here.” I don’t remember laughing but I do remember remaining calm. They sat on one side of the room and we sat on the
other. It was the stand off as we sat and stared at each other not saying a word. I realized that they were trying to intimidate me. I refused to let them win the game. I sat there looking confident as we waited for them to call our case. We waited about forty minutes or so. Turns out we would be seeing a different Judge then originally stated. They called our case number. My heart was racing. Just then the school district’s attorney said, “Can we talk?” He asked the court clerk if we could have a private room to talk and to let the Judge know we were talking. We were sent to a room.
As soon as we arrived in the room the once so arrogant attorney surprisingly said the district would like to offer me a deal. I thought surely they’d try to negotiate down from my original request of forms of relief that I was seeking for my son. I was totally shocked when he said they’d give me everything I had asked for. They asked me if I would agree to draw up a settlement in lieu of proceeding to the due process. I told them I needed a little time to discuss it with my husband and advocate. They left us alone in the room. Soon as they were out of sight I started doing the happy dance. I told the advocate I would agree but I did want a few extra things added into the written settlement since I did not trust the school by this point. I was so ballsy, wasn’t I? I asked for pre and post testing for the next school year to track my son’s progress. I also asked for a full time staff assistant to remain for the entire day that my son was in school and I wanted monthly meetings between the staff and myself. And I wanted this all in the written settlement. My advocate said she would go relay my additional requests to the attorney. I stayed in the room.
I sat in the room thinking about a few things. No wonder they did not supply discovery. They had no intention of proceeding to Due Process. They brought all that staff to try and intimidate me. It was a game of “Chicken” and I won. Damn, these bastards know how to play the game. Little did they know that I am one tough cookie who doesn’t put up with bullshit! I WON!!! I WON!!! My son would get what he needed. He would get what he deserved.
A few minutes later the advocate said the Judge wanted us all in the court room. The District Attorney stood up and said, “Your Honor, we’ve come to a settlement.” She said, “Excellent, I’d like to see the settlement in writing and then we will proceed to read it on the record.” The Attorney agreed and asked for some time to write it up. We were given a break. On a yellow lined notebook paper it was written up. It looked so unofficial. I was given it to read and sign. The District was given it to read and sign.
“1. The Board will enroll the child in the Fast For Word program for the summer of 2003 at no cost to the parent.”
“2. His IEP will be revised to reflect the following for the 2003-2004 school year:”
“3. He will be enrolled in the second grade program with two resource center periods of integrated language arts with a teacher trained in the “Project Read” program and a full day one to one personal staff assistant.”
“4. In addition, he shall receive one to one reading instruction with a teacher trained in the “Project Read” program for one period each day.”
“5. The “Project Read” program will provide for a pre-instruction screening and a level one post-test.”
“6. There shall be scheduled meetings between the parents and school staff approximately once a month.”
“7. The parents agree to withdraw any and all claims as set forth in their petition for due process and emergent relief and wave any attorney fees pursuant to IDEA.”
We all signed on the makeshift line and the settlement was read on the record. It was over, well it was over for now….
Copyrighted 2011: danadogooder and DMT