In my previous diary, I reprinted an analysis of some proposed education regulations
. The analysis was written by special education attorney Dee Alpert
. If you are a parent of a special needs child in NYS and haven't read the proposed regulations
or Dee's analysis, I'd encourage you to start with those.
Last night, I received an opinion from yet another special education attorney in NYS who also represents kids and parents. He confirmed what I said yesterday about how the "child-specific waivers" protection is a farce that is put on paper to get the regulations passed but which will then be ignored.
Here is his statement:
"This issue on adversive restraints is troubling to me as it is to you. And the idea that NYSED is going to be granting waivers is scary. NYSED grants any waiver that is requested by a district in my experience.
Over the last two years I have had four hearings that involved this issue:
(Several] self-contained special education classes were not composed of students of similar needs and abilities, and exceeded the regulatory 36 month age-range. In every case, once the issue was raised in the hearing request, the school district applied for the variance or waiver, and the Regional Associate (RA) granted the variance with a one page form letter stating that is was granted because the kids were of similar needs and abilities. In every case, the Impartial Hearing Officer determined that the kids were NOT of similar needs and ability. The RAs that testified in these matters all testified that they have never not granted a district a variance that was requested. In every case, the hearing officer determined that the student in question was making little or no progress in the "warehouse" classroom.
In another matter, it was a Resource Room that was out of compliance. They had kids in there of disparate need, and had more than the maximum five students in there (eight actually). I made a State Ed complaint in the middle of the hearing on behalf of the other 7 kids getting deprived of appropriate services. The RA determined it was fine, because the district had a para in the RR -- even though there is no regulatory exception for exceeding five in a RR. Also, the teacher in this overcrowded RR was a first year teacher who was pulling her hair out as a result of this situation.
The thought that our NYSED is going to be in a position to grant variances to SDs to restrain kids is so scary. Let me share with you one of the more egregious restraint issues that arose unexpectedly in a hearing. I was in hearing for a boy with autism. He was non-verbal, so details of events at the school were extremely sketchy, from our perspective, and some of it had to be constructed through testimony at the hearing. The kid's special ed teacher had made an entry on the incident log of a three person restraint on a certain date. In the comments column it said, "J. did not want to eat his sandwich." I asked her what was the reason the three adults restrained J. She said it was because he did not want to eat his sandwich. My jaw dropped, as did everyone elses at the table, including the SD attorneys. I asked her again, and she said, yes, the document is correct, he was restrained for not wanting to eat his sandwich at lunch time. Imagine this poor non-verbal autistic kid sitting at the lunch table not wanting to eat his sandwich and wondering why the hell three adults have decided to pounce on him all of the sudden.
Andrew K. Cuddy, Esq.
If these regulations are enacted, within the next few months, NYS districts will start bringing severely disabled kids who are currently placed out-of-state or in expensive private programs back into their local districts. The local staff will not have been trained in advance, the supports won't be in the place, and the CSEs will land up recommending aversive controls.
Don't let this happen to your child. Contact the Board of Regents and tell them to just say "NO!!!" to the proposed regulations.
Comments are closed on this story.