The Meeting / A Fate Made For Us!
Today is Wednesday, April 14. I went to a scheduled meeting today at the
Children and Youth Center that was no choice for me. Our probation officer, Mr. Davis
(part of the board of Adelphi), the board, plus Children and Youth people all took place
in this meeting. I had 2 Intensive Case Managers there and a friend. My son's probation
officer, and Mr. Davis, the principal, are set and determined to make my son go to
There is nothing worse in life than having the threat of your child being taken away from
you. I feel as I grasp with my fingernails, the dirt is giving way under my fingertips. I
am scared, I feel helpless, but I am going to fight. I am in danger of losing my son if I
do not do what the system wants me to do. My choices today were, put my son in this
school, be forced to put him in the school, or they will take him away from me.
My friend and I went to the meeting today, with my notebook of facts, which include:
*Many written requests for my son to be evaluated for an IEP.
*Many refusals from the school for those requests
*My son's Service Contract, which the school has violated
*Letters from my neighbors, telling that my son is liked in the neighborhood.
*A letter from the school itself, stating how my son has academic excellence, when in fact
he was failing.
*All the proof I needed to let the board know that I have been doing my best for my son,
but the school has failed to provide proper care for him, thus contributing to his
*The letter of Misconduct I filed against the principal, and then (by chance) finally got
our Service Contract the same month.
*And most important, A tape recorder
I went into the meeting with a beginning statement that I would like to share with you,
the public, as I want the world to know why our Federal Laws are failing us. Our rights
are gone in the wind, and floating above our heads. They are out of our reach, as I jump
to grasp onto them.
After much consideration, and after making an informed decision, that at this time I do
not agree with having my son placed in day treatment for the following reasons.
I have come here today to make a statement on my son's behalf. Because he has a hard time
asking for what he needs, I also interpret for my child. My child has a hidden disability,
which is just as debilitating to him as a child with a physical disability. Where a
child's Civil rights are very protected when they are physically disabled, my son's rights
have been denied time and time again.
My husband and I took our child from specialist to specialist, trying to find a diagnosis
and help for him. When we did get a diagnosis, we started a support group and educated
ourselves. We were referred to the wrap-a-round
program, and we have had theraputic staff support come to our home for 6 days out of the
week. We worked with, and we not only tolerated this program---they became part of our
family. His TSS workers told me that most of the families just give up on their children.
Well, I will never give up on my child. I've never laid my problems in anyone else's laps,
and said you fix it, and washed my hands of the responsibility. Our family has worked
together to find answers. The more I learn, I know that he will never succeed at
Apollo-Ridge -- that much I agree on, because he will not be allowed to succeed. Each
child will be labeled with terms such as "A bad child", A slow child, or an at-
risk child. And they are expected to follow tried and true paths. I would like to have
options for my child. Don't give up on him before you've even done what is legally and
morally right for him. Don't sit by while we beg for help, and then expect us to hand over
control of him when you have decided that you have no more time to waste on him. My child
has a contract which has been explained to him. We tell him what his responsibilities are,
and also what his rights are, and as soon as we send him back into the school, he is
targeted and lied to. How can I expect my child to exist in this situation and not feel
cheated and angered.
Mental health professionals have written service agreements for him. We have brought
professionals in to have inservices, and as soon as the door shut, they are violating what
they have agreed to. My child has responsibilities which he is expected to live up to,
which he has. He had 24 detentions last year, compared to 5 this year. He is doing his
part, but at great cost to him, which wouldn't be if he was dealt with fairly and
consistently. Instead, they have constantly aggravated the situation. My son has been
released from Allegheny General Hospital, at the center for traumatic stress, and has been
slated for release from Glade Run many times. But every time, things flare up with the
school, and the target date is moved. Wisdom comes from those who live it. My child needs
to have a due process hearing. He needs an IEP, which has been denied, and he needs a
fresh start, not a more intensive program.
**End of Statement
After I read this statement, the probation officer asked me what plan I had for my son
then. She looked visibly upset, and Mr. Davis sat there "huffing" visibly.
I want to also mention that my appointment was for 9am, but the principal and probation
officer talked with the board (which they are members of, I have been informed), and it
lasted for a good 40 minutes.
When we (my ICM workers, my friend, and myself) finally got into the meeting, I asked to
tape record our meeting. They agreed, but told me that we would not mention any names. We
started the tape recorder, and the meeting started.
That is when the statement was read, and the huffing began.
The Children and youth seemed to be very understanding of my concerns, while the probation
officer and Mr. Davis seemed to be blowing a cork internally. I hate to really
inconvenience them and stress them out here, but it is my son being ripped out from me. My
son's rights are being yanked out from us.
As you read this, try to put yourself in my shoes. the probation officer, as she gave me
the three options ---which the last one was removing him from our home, didn't even look
at me, as I told her that these kids are all we have,
and what doesn't kill you will make you stronger. Our family has not only gotten stronger,
but we have continued to survive together!
The meeting itself lasted for about 15 minutes. The board had met for 40 minutes prior to
my time. When they called me in the room, they told me that I had 5 minutes. I read my
statement, answered questions they asked me, and explained to them that my son's current
contract was not being followed. I asked why we could not have options before making a
decision. Nobody addressed what options I had, all but the probation officer politely
telling me that she had a job that she would do. I cannot understand why when my son is
showing an improvement, why they are now trying to put him in this other school.
They kept asking me if I would consider going and looking at the school (which I have seen
before, but didn't want my son going there). I feel like I am not being given time to make
decisions, that I am not being afforded the legal representation I should have, and why my
son cannot be worked with in the school he is in. They keep telling me that the public
school cannot provide the care he needs, but why are they receiving federal money for that
then? They tell me that by going to Adelphi that he will get a new start. My son is going
to be going to the high school next year with new teachers, so why isn't that a new start?
Why is he not being offered an IEP that I keep telling them I am being denied time and
So, my meeting consisted of about 15 minutes, as they told me that they had another
appointment coming in. Why was my time wasted by their pre-meeting, discussing my son,
without my presence to see what they were discussing? Did I not have rights to hear these
accusations that I could defend us? Where are my son's federal rights?
I am going to file due process, and I made them aware of it, but they want me to sign him
in to this school before I do that. They want me to make a decision in (2) days. Even a
car deal has 3 days.
As soon as I got home, the probation officer called me, asking me to write down the number
for the school, and if I would talk to them about it. She told me to let them know by
friday, as there was only 1 seat available. I didn't ask for a seat. I asked them to give
me options, and help my son. I feel like I am being pushed.
This is truly an academic nightmare.