Why My Son Was Forced To Become A High School Dropout
Below is my letter to Jerry Keimig, David McGehee, and John Faulkenberry
Lee's Summit High School
400 S.E.Blue Parkway
Lee's Summit, Missouri 64063-4399
(816) 986-2000 • FAX (816) 986-2095
April 16, 2009
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Tucker:
Please find a Notification of Meeting for May 4, 2009, 2:45, in Room Bll2. The purpose of this meeting will be to review and consider new information from the independent evaluation, as was noted in the 04-08-09 Amended IEP Draft. After considering that information, it is our intention for the team to decide whether any changes need to be made to the IEP. We truly hope that you will choose to attend.
Your e-mail dated April 07, 2009, requested several criteria be checked in relationship to the justification for placement section. This subject will be discussed during the IEP Meeting. Generally the more criteria that are checked, the more restrictive the placement. Please be prepared to discuss this at the meeting.
We will also discuss whether dropping from school is appropriate in order for Jacob to achieve his transitional post-secondary goals.
SPED Process Coordinator
I have not been able to be a full participant in the IEP meetings and I don't believe that this would be productive. Jake's last day of school is May 8, 2009. As far as the IEP team deciding whether dropping from school is appropriate in order for Jacob to achieve his transitional post-secondary goals, I believe that can be answered with the following:
1. I am Jake's mother and I am the only person that can decide if it is appropriate for Jake. I don't need to attend a meeting to make decisions for my children.
2. The district's position on me is the following: "It appears that Ms. Tucker is more interested in a personal attack on the individuals responsible for providing educational services rather than accessing existing services designed to provide educational benefit for her child."
3. Jake is not receiving services that he needs to become a productive citizen. Jake's psychiatrist agrees that there is no reason to continue sending Jake to school because his educational and developmental needs are not being met and it is effecting his emotional and physical well being.
4. When I provide information, from experts, that would help the team understand Jake's disability it is dismissed or it is stated "parent reports".
5. I am unable to present my concerns in the IEP without it being paraphrased.
6. The special education process coordinator has not received the district's autism training and states that she is an expert on my child. His special education math teacher has not received the training, either.
7. Information that is shared in the meeting is misrepresented, left out, or taken out of context and there is no valid information as to what is discussed.
8. Jake's postsecondary goal for independent living is: Jacob plans to live with his parents while receiving post-secondary education/training. His long-term goal is to live semi-independently in a group home as an adult.
9. Jake's postsecondary goal for education is: Jacob's goal is to attend post-secondary training or a 2-year college with a focus on computer game designing. (This can be done through DeVry. He can enter DeVry with a GED at the age of 17)
I don't see how Jake's transition plan has anything to do with remaining in school. He can live semi-independently and go to DeVry without attending high school. Therefore, I don't believe that the team needs to discuss how appropriate my decision is.
Jake is not receiving the services that he needs to become independent. He is not receiving the one-on-one help that he needs to keep up academically. Therefore, Jake is attending school, failing, becoming anxious, and his health is being affected. I can't imagine what we could discuss in a meeting that will change any of that. The draft IEP doesn't call for any significant changes and past experience has shown me that it will be a battle of wills and that I will leave having not attained any of the things that my child so desperately needs.
I would like to meet with you to discuss this and the procedures for having Jake drop out. I don't want to add more stress to him by making him finish this year.
Sherri R. Tucker