SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Will Arne Duncan Help A Mother Who Is Not A Billionaire?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Will Arne Duncan Help A Mother Who Is Not A Billionaire?

I do not know much about special education. I like to defer to those who know more than me and at the very least ask questions. But I do know an outrage when I see one.

The following is from a neighbor and a friend, MaryAnn McCarra-Fitzpatrick. Mary Ann has given me permission to post the following letter she sent to Arne Duncan. She has a ten year old boy with autism. Right now she is caught in the Kafkaesque world of RTI, special ed, and all the other crud that is going on.

I keep on thinking about The New York Times on Christmas Day has above the masthead, "Remember The Neediest." Are the neediest being served, or for that matter, even a blip on the radar screen? Where is Gates with money to help these most neediest of students? Where is the Walton Family? Money is being cut from budgets and always the targets are these students that need the help the most. These so called philanthropists should truly put their money with these students with no strings attached. But unfortunately it will never happen. These children, these neediest of students do not make for good photo opportunities.

So with further adieu is the letter. If anyone can reach out to her, help her, etc... please do.

10 February 2011

Secretary Arne Duncan

U.S. Secretary of Education

U.S. Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.

Washington, DC 20202

Re: LRE and the City of Mount Vernon New York School District seeking to move out-of-district disabled children into in-district mainstream schools

Dear Secretary Duncan:

It was my decided impression after the IEP meeting I attended for my son this morning (Hawthorne Country Day School, Hawthorne, NY) that the City of Mount Vernon New York School District has decided that children who were found to need special education services must now be “moved back into” the district. I have no doubt that this is due to the financial imperatives of the MVCSD.

My son is ten, autistic, non-verbal, and still in diapers. He suffers from extremely loose bowels. He bites himself (and others). He has no sense of danger and is a “bolter.” However, throughout the course of the meeting, the person moderating (from the City of Mount Vernon School District) said that he would be considered a “fifth grader” while, previously, it was understood that he was considered to be in an “ungraded” class.

When we enquired about the programs they had she was unable to provide us with any information, stating that there was nothing in writing about them that we could examine. She could provide nothing concrete about their programs or the outcomes of the same.

I previously visited their two special education classes for autistic children, a number of years ago, and neither of them was appropriate for a child as profoundly developmentally disabled as our son.

My son functions at a one-year-old level. The limited progress he has be able to make has been because of the setting in which he currently receives instruction, as well as speech and occupational therapy.

At a meeting held in December 2010 at the Board of Education building-- it was stated, over and over--- that there would be a movement towards “LRE” for every child currently in an out-of-district placement. This simply means that, for their financial purposes, they would prefer these children to be “in-district.” As we saw today, it is not necessarily in the best interests of the child.

My husband and I will be sending a letter to the Superintendent of the City of Mount Vernon School District, Dr. W.L. Sawyer, expressing our extreme displeasure with this belligerent woman and her insistence that we consider placing our son in what would be a completely inappropriate setting, one which would be a danger to him and to others.

I would welcome your input on this matter.

Yours sincerely,

MaryAnn McCarra-Fitzpatrick

No comments: