I stepped off the bus from the field trip with my son. The principal and some man were there waiting for me. The principal said, “Can you step into my office?” My heart and mind started to race. Who was this man and what do they want? Do I need a lawyer? Regardless of my insides, my outer self remained cool, calm, and collected.
We stepped into the principal’s office. The door shut. The man introduced himself. He was the “affirmative action officer” for the district. He explained that the teacher had contacted her union and filed a complaint against me. I later found out the affirmative action officer is the person who is to have full knowledge of district grievance procedures and employment policies and is the point person for students and staff filing grievance procedures. The teacher had claimed that at the monthly meeting I had “shook my fist at her”. I couldn’t believe my ears. It was a ridiculous allegation. I looked at both this man and the principal and simply stated, “I never made a fist at the teacher, I’m ITALIAN I use my hands when I talk.” It was the truth. Especially, when I was upset. The principal took notes. Yes, there is note to this day in my son’s educational file that, Mother claims she is Italian and uses her hands to talk. Anyway didn’t they know me by now? I didn’t fight with my fists, I fought with my pen. My pen was my sword.
I then proceeded to explain to the affirmative action officer my son’s story. From the moment he was misplaced in the multiply disabled class. How he had lost a year of his life. How we would never have happy memories of kindergarten. How kindergarten should have been one of the best years of his life. I then went onto to explain how in first grade his aid had contacted me at my home by phone with threats due to my advocacy. I told him about the “lithium” comments, how the aid was let go, about the due process, my son’s regression, how I wasn’t allowed to make costumes, how I had to fight to attend the school trip. I’m sure his head was spinning when I was done. He didn’t have much to say after that and I was free to go. He was actually one person who was semi-sympathetic after hearing our story. I never heard from him again.
I came home and contacted one of my support people who I met through the IEP yahooo group. She helped me draft a letter. It started, “This letter is to address a few issues from our scheduled monthly meeting held on April 28th as well as the impromptu meeting held by the district on April 30th.” I then went on to say that the reading specialist had finally acknowledged that my son may in fact be “developmentally dyslexic” and that he has benefited from color overlays when reading. I re-stated that my concerns that my son had dyslexia dated back to kindergarten. It was now second grade. I also noted again that my son’s test results from kindergarten stated he had the following visual weaknesses: “Visual Analysis, Visual Memory, Visual Imagery, Spatial Visualization, Visual Perception, and Visual Motor Coordination.” I requested two assessments: 1) An assessment to test for Dyslexia 2) The second to have a complete visual assessment by a Developmental Behavioral Optometrist who specializes in colored overlays/ Irlen lenses per the rights appropriated in IDEA 97. I went on to note even after our due process the many defects of the current IEP and also included that my son’s reading fluency tested at twenty five words per minute by the end of second grade. Fluency at the end of first grade should be approximately at sixty words per minute. You can read more about reading fluency at:
The letter was sent to the case manager and CC’d to the Director of Special Services, Building Principal, my previous advocate, and the new Superintendent.
I awaited their answer………..
Copyrighted 2011: danadogooder and DMT