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  • Transportation/Dismissal

    We are having an issue with our school district in that my kids on IEPs are at 2 different schools based on their needs. My 9 year old is at our neighborhood school, my 4 year old is at another school about 3 miles from home. This year they get out of school at roughly the same time, which makes picking them up impossible. My 4 year old thus takes the preschool Sped bus to his sister's school. The bus pulls up in front of the school and I meet him and my daughter at about the same time. This always worked in the past. New principal this year decides to change dismissal to the back of the school. I can't be at the back of the school and the front to meet the bus at the same time. We asked for an exception for 9 year old to be dismissed from front of school directly to me. Principal refuses. Says it is "safer" for 9 year old to be dismissed out back with no parent present and that she should then wait behind the school for me. Alone. As my daughter has impulse control issues, among other issues, I am not at all comfortable with her being dismissed into a crowd of 450 kids or waiting unsupervised for me while I get her brother off the bus. Even knowing this, first time, brand new principal won't budge. My questions are:
    Is the school responsible for dismissing a child with special needs safely to a parent? It seems to me to be a huge liability for the school to leave a vulnerable child alone outside the school building. Also, can a dismissal plan be written into an IEP? Lastly, should I consider asking for a least restrictive placement for my preschooler, which would be in his home school and would solve the transportation/supervision dilemma. Thank you!

  • #2

    Therefore, you would tell that parent their daughter has the same access to the school bus and dismissal routine to the same extent that nondisabled students have.

    You would also say:

    2. The dismissal rule is not discriminatory, and

    3. Is in place to for the safety of all of the students.

    Now, take off your pretend self and know that this is the point where effective parent advocacy begins.


    • #3
      Thank you so much. You made such great points. Here's what happened:

      Principal refused to allow my daughter to exit the school's front door where my son (who also has an IEP) was arriving by bus. We have a brand new first year Special Ed director and a brand new first year superintendent. I put in a call to the Sped Director, explaining my challenge, that I wasn't comfortable with my 9 year old (or my 5 year old regular ed daughter, who also needed to be dismissed out the back) being dismissed without adult supervision. I alerted the Sped Director that I have documentation from my daughter's physician that she should not be dismissed from school without adult supervision.

      Sped Director called back with a great plan. She had talked to the principal and my daughter would come out the "kindergarten" door in the front of the school. Only problem is that "kindergarten" door is no longer at the front. It is at the back of the school withe the other 452 students. I call back and explain that my issue with daughters being dismissed out of my sight remains. She could trip, fall, be abducted, wander off, etc. I suggested a paraprofessional accompany my daughter to the front, or that perhaps my son's placement needed to be changed to his home school as I would not be able to meet the bus. I said that until resolved, I would have to pick my son up 30 minutes early from his placement in order to get my 4th child and then the two who would be dismissed out the back.

      Principal calls 30 minutes before dismissal. She has a brand new plan. Para (my daughter's favorite person in the entire world!) will walk my daughters out inside the school to the front door, where I will meet them and my son coming off the bus. We met in person yesterday with principal and Sped Director to make sure all was working. Problem solved. Did it have to take a meeting with Special Eduction Director for common
      sense to prevail? Probably not. I think as you did that the principal had an issue with control. She made a new rule/policy and doggone it she was going to enforce it no matter what. Thankfully, the Sped Director seemed lovely and has common sense.

      Thank you again Brice, for helping me think this through and advocate for my children!


      • #4
        Transportation, Power Plays and Voltaire

        Dear anniemc2000.

        Thank you for your kind remarks. I'm very proud of you for getting your power struggle with the school resolved.

        After Schaffer, school districts began daring parents to ask for due process hearings.

        Your experience and advocacy demonstrates that the power differential can be leveled by using a little common sense (as your new special education director used). Of course you helped that person use common sense by using a little common sense advocacy. By common sense, I mean learning the various ways of applying the right kind and the appropriate amount of pressure under the circumstances. In your situation, you applied pressure (a form of negotiation) with the least amount of pressure necessary.

        Thanks again for your kind remarks.