Now that I got the impassioned, emotional, LENGTHY version out of my system. I'm ready to accept this amazing version that Struggling To Stand wrote for me, and save the version with all the research and documentation that she and my good friend Terry provided, along with all the specific details, for the actual meeting.
To: ARD team
Re: Kitty IEP meeting
We feel it is imperative that the school district, as represented by this IEP team, recognize that Kitty's need for safety, as well as her rights to access to education, and her academic goals are not being met. Kitty is returning to school after her second psychiatric hospitalization in less than 2 weeks (4th psych hospitalization this year). Her psychiatrists are recommending residential treatment upon release from the hospital; however we are currently unable to secure funding so she will be returning home for now.
- Safety: Kitty is in a state of unstable mental illness that includes self-harming behaviors and suicidal ideation. During her educational day, Kitty’s mental status must be monitored by qualified staff that do not have their attention constantly diverted by the needs of many other students. Although we have all been lucky that Kitty appears to have not made any suicidal gestures at school without alerting someone to her state of mind, this behavior cannot be relied upon! To require Kitty to be responsible for knowing when she needs help puts Kitty’s life in danger.
- Access to Education: As noted in Kitty’s current FIE, Kitty’s way of handling her mental viability is to withdraw by either physically leaving the classroom or by “shutting down” (often putting her head on her desk.) Kitty’s withdrawals are not always obvious to an observer. During these times of withdrawal she cannot access the education that is being offered to her.
- Kitty withdraws for so many different reasons it would be impossible to list them all, much less address each individual one in an attempt to prevent her from needing to withdraw during active academic time.
- Because Kitty is being “taught” without regard to her frequent withdrawals due to her mental disability, she is being denied access to education and the school is in violation of the law.
3. Academic Goals: If Kitty’s current grades are in the acceptable range that is only because she has been “forgiven” grades, had assignments dropped, not been penalized for lack of classroom participation, etc. While these modifications are appropriate for a child who has been hospitalized for, say, appendicitis, they only serve to mask Kitty’s lack of academic progress due to her increasing mental disabilities.
- Every year the IEP team has requested and evaluated whether Kitty can be placed into general education classes with inclusion help. This request is made because it is believed Kitty can, from a purely IQ point-of-view, learn in such an environment. Assuming this is correct, Kitty’s mediocre progress in special ed classes show that the modifications currently in place for her are not allowing her to be “academically successful.”
According to the legal definition of LRE, Kitty is NOT in the Least Restrictive Environment APPROPRIATE to her as the nature and severity of her mental disability is such that her education is not being achieved satisfactorily. Her placement is inappropriate.
Since we have been told that Kitty is already receiving the maximum accommodations that the high school will provide, it is clear that Kitty’s most appropriate placement at this time is therefore at an RTC.
To that end, and in compliance with her psychiatrists’ recommendations, we are officially requesting that Kitty’s placement be changed to inpatient RTC with all expedience possible. If this IEP team does not agree to such placement, then we will place her in an RTC ourselves and bill RRISD for the costs.
Mary and Hubby