I just got this email hot off the Outlook press today. This is the stuff that makes my blood boil as the parent of an autistic child who has in the past had to press a due process in order to adjudicate my son’s education. It riles me to NO END when I see the frivolous and outright waste of OUR tax dollars on issues such as the one I linked to below. Rather than just award the child the proper education as deemed by an administrative law judge, school districts and the slimy education law firms that represent them just tap into the seemingly endless pot of financial backing the school district has at it’s disposal. In our own personal experience we found that the school district that chose to go to due process with us in Michigan spend no less than $100,000 in legal fees just to have us win and settle on an amount less than a tenth of that (you can request that through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) like we did to get those figures from our enemy at the time). Please read the summary at Wrightslaw.com about this school district in Compton, CA who were slam-dunked on violation of IDEA (click here). They not only appealed to the Federal Court level and lost their appeal, but took it a step higher and submitted it to the Court of Appeals at the Circuit Level. When that appeal was rejected, they have subsequently made an appeal to have the case tried by the Supreme Court! Can you believe the audacity of this school district? How dare they take an obvious denial of FAPE and WASTE so much money on the legal process. That money is so desperately needed in this time of state budget cuts on student programs and education, not funding the purchase of a new Porsche for one of the partners of the law firm representing Compton Schools!
Remember this my friends in advocacy: Your school district doesn’t have to do SQUAT relative to offering even an ‘appropriate’ education to your child. You have to press, and press and press some more. You see, they don’t have to, and won’t do anything unless compelled legally to act. They can just sit and let time pass. Time is on their side. The burden of proof is on you to make them act to provide the proper program you seek. Time, though, is not on your child’s side.
As unfortunate as it is to see a public institution waste finite monetary resources for ridiculous campaigns like this, as an advocate you have to be prepared that they just may decide to appeal when you win! And if they lose there – appeal again! And when they lose yet again…heck it isn’t their money, it’s the parent’s money – so keep on making the law firms rich and the let the special needs kids suffer!
Jumping over dollars, just to grab pennies. But, like all things related to government waste – why take the easy and fiscally sensible path when you spend ten times as much and then have nothing to show for it.