Monday, July 19, 2010

When all children are not created equal...

I am BACK!!! Before you breathe a sigh of relief and say, "Finally!", I know you all have been wondering where the heck I've been... I have written this post a thousand times in my head... and several times in the draft section on blogger. I have contemplated how I was going to make my return to blogging... I know many of you do not know what has been happening in our world, and I know you're wondering. I know some of you do know what is going on and are wondering how I'm going to write this post. Some of my drafts have been short and to the point. Others have been long and detail-filled, but would probably make your eyes bleed by the end. And so, here you get the abridged (yet still really long) version.

I know that my readership is comprised of many different facets, and therefore this post is going to touch on many different emotions and opinions. For that reason, I am going to moderate comments on this post. You don't have to agree with me, or how I handled things. I am not a perfect person and I don't always do things exactly the right way. I prayed hard about this situation and handled it the best I knew how. If you are going to disagree with me though, I ask you to do it respectfully, and have the guts to leave your name. Due to the seriousness of the issue involved and the experiences about which I am writing in this post, it is my judgment that anonymous comments should not be published and will be removed. I appreciate your understanding on this point.

In mid-April this year, I posted several entries for IEP week. I did this because many of my friends were getting ready for IEP meetings at the time. There were some fun posts, some serious posts, and some posts that no doubt angered some people. What I didn't say was that those posts led up to my daughter Kennedy's IEP meeting as well. In fact, the last entry posted during her meeting. I didn't talk much about it because a lot of people from Kennedy’s school read this blog, and I didn't want to receive a lot of questions from others that I was not yet in a position to fully answer. After several months, I believe I have (most of) the answers.

My own meeting for Kennedy’s IEP at Barksdale Elementary School did not go well. The positions taken by Kennedy’s school took me by surprise and, more importantly, did not seem to me to be in Kennedy’s best interest. Since that meeting, I've been involved in the process to challenge and appeal the school’s decisions in what is generally called a “Due Process” process with our school system. I found the “process” to be frustrating, one sided, and extremely disappointing in that Kennedy’s needs never seemed to be adequately addressed by the school system. For all intents and purposes, that process is now over, and I feel more comfortable and able to discuss my experience in working to protect Kennedy.

At the beginning of the school year, I was told by Kennedy's special education teacher that as a part of Kennedy's IEP team, neither she nor the team would ever blindside me in an IEP meeting. They would always let me know what they were thinking ahead of time where Kennedy's education and placement were concerned. She assured me not to worry, and made representations to me that I could trust them to look after Kennedy’s best interests. Of course, I accepted her statements at face value and trusted that Kennedy’s educational needs, and her rights to public education, would be adequately addressed and protected.

During the past school year, Kennedy spent her Kindergarten year fully included. She had a wonderful teacher, although she had very minimal support where Kennedy was concerned. Still, the teacher did a good job with Kennedy and brought her a long way. Kennedy reached many, but not all, of her Kindergarten goals. Kennedy made many friends, and she was happy. She was included.

In March, I met with Kennedy's teacher, her special education teacher and the vice principal of the school. During that meeting, we agreed that although Kennedy had made great strides this year, she was not ready for a first grade classroom and that repeating Kindergarten would be better for her. I agreed with the school, and her IEP team, that with an additional year of experience and maturity, Kennedy would thrive even more in kindergarten next year and be able to move on successfully to first grade. Significantly, no “problems” with Kennedy’s general development, and certainly her behavior, was ever raised. Indeed, as I said above, she had made friends, was happy, and had met many of her goals for the year.

After this meeting, and shortly before Kennedy's IEP meeting, I asked for a copy of the draft of her IEP, knowing that school had likely prepared it in advance of our upcoming meeting. I informed Kennedy's special education teacher that I would like to share the report with Kennedy's advocate so we could review Kennedy’s goals for the upcoming year. The teacher told me that nothing on Kennedy's IEP for the upcoming year would be changing, that everything would be the same as it was the previous year, and I could provide Kennedy's advocate a copy of her current IEP to look over. I didn't think I had a reason to worry, so I did exactly what she suggested.

The meeting to review Kennedy's IEP was held on April 26, 2010. At that meeting, I was completely ambushed and blindsided - something the school promised it would never do. Instead of a continuation of Kennedy’s IEP from the current year, as had been represented to me only a few weeks before, the school informed me that Kennedy would be placed in a “Life Skills” class for all of her academic education. I had received no prior notice of this change, and certainly nothing in writing (remember, I had even asked for a copy of the draft plan for the coming year and was told it would remain the same). Under this changed plan, Kennedy would be socially promoted to first grade and no longer on the academic track. She would be removed, for the majority of her day, from her friends and typical peers. The Life Skills setting is also known to have a setting of constant chaos with children who can be violent and have emotional outbursts, and are much, much bigger than Kennedy. Instead of acknowledging the progress that we had only recently agreed had occurred this year, the school had now taken a completely different position. Kennedy's advocates and I were all completely shocked.

As you can understand, I was very upset that Kennedy was being mistreated in this manner. Under the advice of Kennedy's advocates, I sought counsel to better understand Kennedy’s rights, one of which is that I could appeal the school’s decision and that the school board could be required to participate in a mediation. While the school made clear that it would make no difference if I asked for a mediation, I saw no down side to such a mediation, and thus it was scheduled.

Once I delivered notice of my intent to appeal the school’s decision to remove Kennedy from the academic classes and place her in a “Life Skills” class, the school turned ugly. The school quickly turned the focus of the appeal process away from Kennedy’s best interests into an attack on me. Their defense was that I am an over-involved parent and "too involved" in Kennedy's education. How horrible of me to care that they wanted to lock my child away. Because of that they fought me on every small concession and compromise my attorney and I tried to make.

During the mediation itself, Barksdale Elementary School’s principal could not provide me even basic information about what was proposed for Kennedy. For example, she could not break down Kennedy's proposed time in a Life Skills classroom. Kennedy would be in this setting for over 4 hours every day, and the school’s principal couldn't tell me what she would be doing. The principal’s attempted explanation was that if Kennedy were working on math, and didn't want to do that after 20 minutes, the Life Skills class would let her go onto something else - like computers, or coloring. There would be little or no structure for my child, who is six years old and should not be able to decide when she stops working. That is not how typical classrooms are run.

While the school asserted over and over that Kennedy would be receiving teaching and assistance from “experts in this setting,” as of June they did not even have any idea who would teach the class. In the past, the classroom has been a revolving door of teachers, and the classroom has been nothing more than glorified babysitting.

All states are required to provide children with special needs, like Kennedy, a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). An Individual Educational Plan (IEP) and the process for its development are intended to help provide this basic right to all students. In Kennedy’s case, however, Barksdale Elementary School, and the school principal, pre-determined Kennedy's placement without a very important member of her IEP team - me. In fact, the school wanted to take her from her Least Restrictive Environment and put her into the MOST restrictive environment possible - one where she would be subjected to children who could harm her, and who are prone to emotional outbursts that would scare her. They wanted to take her away from her friends, seclude her from her typical peers, for over 4 hours of her school day, all but 20 minutes of her academic day, and put her with children who are behind her academically. She would have had no one to model after, in fact, the only foreseeable thing that could have happened is that she would have picked up on the other children's less than desirable behaviors. In short, the school refused to take any steps to assist Kennedy, and if anything, it became more restrictive in what resources Kennedy would have available to her.

My legal counsel pointed out numerous deficiencies in the school’s position and the actions the school had taken as well as the manner in which they had been taken, and we were confident that ultimately we would prevail; a court would order the school system to provide the appropriate accommodations to which Kennedy is entitled. However, there were downsides to pushing forward. The appeal process was being delayed into August. There are teachers at Barksdale who will no longer speak to me, and I have two other children who have to survive there. I would have to listen to these people whom I have known for 5 years, including one with whom I go to church, bash me in court for being “too involved in Kennedy's education.” When we prevailed, the result would be to send Kennedy back to Barksdale, knowing that a few people (not all, and not the teachers) there would like nothing more than to see her fail just to prove a point to me. Thus, I really had to weigh the pros and cons.

And so, I dropped the suit. I simply didn't want what we were fighting for anymore... A free and appropriate public education? Yes. In that school, with that principal? No. And it's really too bad because Kennedy is missing out on some fabulous teachers and wonderful friends... my other children have received a fantastic education at Barksdale and overall it has been an amazing school environment for them. I just simply can't put Kennedy back there. I don't know how I could trust them to do what is best for her from here on out. That said, please don't bash Kennedy's teacher. I think she did her very best for Kennedy and I will always be grateful for the love and care she showed to my daughter.

And so, I am now the definition of the over-involved parent. I am now her mother, her teacher, her principal, her special ed teacher and her aid. It should make IEP meetings a LOT more pleasant. (HA!) And on August 6, when I drop Kassidy and Kameron off at school and Kennedy doesn't get to stay, it's going to break her heart... and mine. But ultimately it's Barksdale Elementary School’s loss because they're living in the 1960's instead of 2010 when it comes to children with Special Needs. They're missing out on the joy of this amazing little girl... They're missing out on seeing that inclusion can and does work. Maybe I should have fought it harder, but I couldn't send her back where she wasn't wanted. At least here I know she will be loved and thrive, and she won't be sitting around coloring all day. At least here I know she'll be treated as a person and not a diagnosis. It's a new journey for me and for Kennedy, and just like with everything else, we will find our way.

143 comments :

Lea White said...

Oh Renee, that is terrible. That is absolutely heartbreaking. I know 2 kids here with Downs Syndrome and both are included in the normal day to day school life. Not shut off and away from everything else. That is so incredibly tragic and sad!

I haven't done homeschooling with my kids, but I know some people who absolutely swear by it. One lady is in Canada and she has 7 boys that she homeschools. Another is somewhere in the States and one is here in New Zealand.

Renee, I will keep you in my prayers and in my thoughts and I know that God will guide you through.

Lea White
New Zealand

The Wendt Family said...

You will be an excellent teacher for Kennedy, and your doing the absolute right thing, and believe you me, more parents need to be "over-involved" if that's what they consider you. Your an excellent parent and don't let anyone tell you different.

♥emma stormy♥ said...

Love you Renee.....Praying for you all...your are a WONDERFUL mother!

Allison said...

WOW! what a summer you've had!!! So many hugs to you all.. From reading your blog for a while now I know you all will be so super happy and thrive. i wish you all the luck in the world as you embark on this new journey!!

Anonymous said...

Renee - I am so sorry that you and Kennedy have had to endure that! It is sad that school systems believe that way! My Madison is about to start preschool - she is the first child with Down syndrome who will spend more time in the regular classroom than the special education classroom - and we had to fight for that ratio (though certainly not to the degree you would have had to)! To fight or to homeschool is a personal decision - and it sounds like you made the right one for your own situation. Realzing that we have never actually met in person - though having read your blog for almost 2 years - I have no doubt that more kids would do well with an "over-involved" mother such as yourself!! :-)
Michelle Estes

Éimí said...

I'm so completely heart broken for you and Kennedy. I have often wondered why you had stepped away, but I now completely understand. I know that we don't really know each other, but I'm in constant awe of you, your husband, and your children. What you are fighting for, and standing up for are amazing, and we honestly need a million more people like you in this world...I'm sending so many prayers to you!!!

Much Love

Amy

The Stairs Family said...

Oh this is just terrible Renee, I am so sorry for what they put you through. I think you absolutely made the right decision. I think if you would have let her walk through the doors of that school, knowing she wasn't wanted or loved, you would have been making a big mistake. They are missing out on a very special little girl. She is going to thrive doing home school, you will be an amazing teacher and there will be no limitations. You are a wonderful mom and don't ever let anyone make you think otherwise. There is NO such thing as an over involved mom, in my opinion. Our children are our flesh and blood, our responsibility and the center of our world, why would a mom not want to be involved in every single aspect of the childs life? Its just ridiculous. Again, you made the right decision and she will do so well. She will get to spend more time with her mommy and she will have a blast!

Shasta said...

You are doing what you feel is right for Kennedy. In the world today, I do not believe there is a such thing as an "over involved" parent. I feel like my husband and I would do the same thing if we were in that situation. I will continue to pray for you, Frank and all the SPECIAL Ks!

Stacy said...

Sigh. I'm so sorry for all this. No matter how anyone feels about this there is not questions that uou are a wonderful advocate for your kids. Sometimes I feel like I am not pushing our school district hard enough on Wil's behalf.

Keep fighting for your kids! I can't wait to hear how your guys do at home!

Cammie Heflin said...

Good for you for sticking up for your daughter!! You have done what is best for Kennedy and your entire family. You hit the nail on the head, it is definitely the school's loss, Kennedy is going to do a fantastic job with you!

k said...

Renee, I'm so proud of you!!! I have been Caleb's schooling for the past 4 yrs. It has been some of the most difficult years, and some of the most enjoyable years of being a mother.


I also choose not to fight the school system for what I felt was the best education Caleb should receive. It's too bad though, that the schools can rely on us not to fight.:(

You might want to look at the HSLDA website if you haven't already. They have some great helps in homeschooling--including the legal aspect.

Feel free to contact me if you need anything.

Kaylene

You might want to

mkevans said...

Wow, this is shocking. Too over-involved??? How could a school say something like that? Successful kids have parents like you. I'm really proud to read your blog and proud you stood up for your daughter. Kennedy will blossom even more with you as her teacher.

Anonymous said...

OK - and seriously, after thinking more about it... it is really starting to infuriate me. I am glad there were teachers there that were wonderful with Kennedy. But besides the fact that others think that inclusion is a bad idea (which is SO far from the truth) I am most angry about the fact that they would purposely blindside you - that is inexcusable!! Thank you for sharing - so that others might be aware that even the "best" circumstances can turn quickly!!

Michelle Estes

Amanda said...

Renee-

I'm so sorry you can Kennedy are going thru this. You are one amazing mom. I hate to see this happening for you all. Its sad that "they" just use the diagnosis, but Kennedy is much more than that and she is sure one sweet little girl.

Vicky Farrow- australia said...

Renee I am so pleased you are back and feel so terrible for everything that has been going on. Kennedy deserves to be included in normal school and I don't believe for one minute that you arenan over involved parent just one who cares about her children and is prepared to fight for their rights.
Looking forward to reading your blog again.
Vicky

mom2natnkatncj said...

Well Renee, we've discussed this. And you know where I stand. Reading again that you are a too involved parent absolutely sends shivers down my spine. I don't know how anyone could ever say that about a parent. I think it's awful that you were railroaded like this and that there had to be that divide. I totally understand why you did what you did in the end and Kennedy will be fine. I'd love to protest in front of that school though, lol. Anyways, it's good to have you back. And I wish you luck in your homeschooling adventure.

Tammy said...

Renee,
I commend you and trying your best to do what is right for Kennedy. I went thru the same kind of mess with my son, Michael. Ultimitely, I ended up not fighting anymore and took Michael and my other kids out of the school. I saw how the teachers and other staff were treating my kids and it wasn't right. Luckily there was another school that my kids could go to. I do not think you are an over protective parent. You want what's best for Kennedy and your other kids. If I was there, I would've backed you completely. You did the right thing!
By the way, Michael's IEP was different in the sense that he's bipolar, but that doesn't mean that he, or any child with an IEP should have to be treated any different then anyone else. Chldren with IEP's need more advocates like you!

Tammy

kntsmom said...

Renee- Wow!! It all makes sense now. I do not blame you one bit for taking a break. That is a terrible story, but a wonderful ending. I am sure that Kennedy will continue to thrive as she already has with you as her mother, teacher, etc. You are such a strong woman and a fantastic mom. Kennedy and all your other beautiful children are lucky to have an over-involved parent. I teach preschool and I wish there were more involved parents period nowadays. I commend you for a job well done. ?(((Hugs))))
Kim Fissette

Becky said...

(((Hugs))) No other words, but that.
Becky

Penny said...

Oh Renee - Huge hugs to you and Kennedy. Why do we have to fight so hard for what is rightfully our kids entitlement? This just breaks my heart. For them to say that you are too involved in her education just blows my mind. What do they expect us as parents of children to do? Drop off our kids and say "here, do what you want, don't mind me, I'm just her/his mom", Hugs again my friend, and know that this is happening for a reason.

Laurie said...

Oh Renee! My heart breaks for all the fighting we parents of special needs have to do for our kids. Bravo to you for being so involved! It is a shame that the school is not willing to give Kennedy the chance to learn and to thrive! My son Josh is in the special education room for the majority of his day, but his teacher is always looking for inclusive ways to send him to his typical peers with the right supports. His teacher also doesn't let him direct the instruction but knows just how far to push him. I know the limitations of my Josh, but would never deny him the opportunity to participate and be interested in "academic" information. Just because he cannot speak doesn't mean he is not learning and absorbing information. Every child should have the opportunity to participate in typical day and the school should provide the supports to make that happen! Sucks that the squeeky wheel is the one that gets the grease and that it also comes with consequences...sigh...hugs to you and to Kennedy! I wish we lived close by, so I could send my princess to play with your sincess! They would have a blast together! Jocelyn sees her photo on my blog and calls her the sincess too! LOL!

Joy said...

Welcome Back! You've been missed! I know we've already talked about this, but I still think that you are making the right decision for Kennedy!! You are an awesome mom and you will be a great teacher too!

Dawn said...

xoxo

Sandy said...

Thank you for being a wonderful example to all parents, not just parents of children with special needs. I hope one day I have the courage to be the kind of mother you are.

Shari said...

Welcome Back! I did miss you, but spent a lot of time praying over the situation. You will be a FABULOUS teacher for Kennedy! Try to connect with other Mommies who homeschool their special needs children! Is there any way that you could connect with some of her friends so she could play with them, etc? Just a thought! I just got done with Curtis's IEP! I had to stay on top of it and make sure he got what he needed! I went with an advocate (three in fact) and did what you said. He will be in a regular classroom with an aid and he has an autistic disorder. I just can't believe that the school is that dense! Sheesh! I am proud of you Renee! My bloggy friend! :)

Charissa said...

Be proud of yourself. It's gonna be a great year.

jlmcclure said...

So sorry this happened, but unfortunately you're not the first parent that has had to deal with this either. I have heard horror stories about parents dealing with IEP's.

Jenn said...

GOOD FOR YOU, RENEE!!!!! I am so with you! Kennedy deserves so much better than what they were willing to provide...now she's getting it! :) Glad you're back -- I have missed you!

Kelli said...

your an over involved parent? my husband is a teacher and one or two parents ever show up to conf. YOU ROCK! hang in there.

Stratton Family said...

Kudos to you Renee and your family. A parent is the best advocate for their child and I believe that whole heartedly. No one should be judging you at all however we all know it happens. Thanks so much for posting because it alerts us "newbies" to what can and will happen if we don't advocate for our children. I think you are absolutely wonderful to feel as though Kennedy may reap the repercussions of people obviously in some type of time warp. GREAT JOB!! You make a wondrful mommy and will make a wonderful teacher. Show them what Kennedy is capable of and all of the other children that will follow in her footsteps. Hugs, prayers and many blessing to you going forward.

Amanda said...

Renee-

I can't believe a school would tell a parent that they are TOO involved in their child's education. That is absolutely, completely and utterly disgusting to me. I think you're doing the right thing by not sending Kennedy back to school somewhere where they clearly don't want her to be. It's sad and I think it's going to be hard for her at first, but based on all this, it seems like the absolutely correct thing to do.
I was honestly expecting the end of this to be that you were going to send her to another school. Just out of curiosity, is there not another school in the district/near by that she could go to? I think you're doing a great thing by homeschooling her though, and as long as she's still in ballet and any other activities she wants to do, that she'll still make amazing friends and continue to thrive!

-Amanda

Stephanie said...

I am proud of you! The school district should be ashamed....but most of the time those who think this way are too arrogant to see what they have done wrong.

Kennedy is exactly where she needs to be - She will progress much faster @ home with you I am sure. :) There are lots of us out here ready to offer any support we can. I have lots of materials - don't hesitate to ask. I am good at sharing. Ha!Ha!

This is almost a carbon copy of what happened with Christopher & our school district. I TOTALLY get why it was handled the way it was. Big hugs for all of you!

Steph and CHristopher

Jo's Corner said...

You are so right about the concerns of the bigger kids in that class. Kennedy has the right to be protected! And, to be in a classroom that will provide her with the best materials for learning. But, what I know most, is that He is in control of her life. And, that You listen! You are an Awesome Mom and I look forward to watching Kennedy learn and Thrive under your watchful eye. Love to all of the Specials Ks and their Mom and Dad, too! Jo

Marytoo said...

I lurk/visit your blog now and then. I do not have a special need child myself, but I know people who do, and I so admire their involvement and care of their children.

It's too bad this has happened, but I must say I'm not surprised. Every time the government gets to be in charge of something, well...it happens sooner or later that the bureaucrats make their appearance, and unfortunately too often they are more interested in hanging on to their jobs than they are in doing their jobs, which is what leads to problems like this.

All that said, my homeschooled children never saw the inside of a classroom until they went to college, and they have all done very well. As I said earlier, I have no special need children, but the principle carries through.

And may I encourage you that if you think that Kennedy really needs all that group stuff, seek out your local homeschool group. Unlike when we started homeschooling in the early 80's, homeschooling groups abound today, even in the smallest communities, and they offer all sorts of programs and possibilities for socializing with other children. They usually offer nights out and other social occasions for the moms as well.

There are many parents who homeschool their special needs children, and that might be where you find your niche with Kennedy.

And lastly, do not underestimate yourself. Good luck to you and your K's. <3

JennyH said...

How horrible of the school. But that is awesome that you get to be her teacher.

I know how you feel about fighting to get them where you think they should be but at the same time do you really want them were they are not wanted?? Last year was a struggle with max's teacher. I finally 'caved' and had him in Resource for way too many hours. But it worked out... He shortly got his 1st resource teacher back and she is great. She makes him work and has boundaries where others don't.

I wish you all the luck this school year. I will love hearing all about it. I have thought several times about home schooling and may some day in the future.

The Henrys said...

Deep breath in...slowly let it out. I needed to do that a few times before I could write.

This is so messed up and insane. I could describe all the reasons, but I am sure you are aware.

I'm so sorry that you and Kennedy had to go through this. I can only imagine just how heartbreaking it was.

I have had lots of problems with my daughter's school as well. It is not easy and takes up so much time and energy.

Just today, I was informed by a cousin that works at the school, that I am known as "The Demanding Mother". I have never asked for anything other than for them to listen to me and believe that I know my daughter better than anyone in the world.

I am wishing you best of luck as you homeschool Kennedy. As you said, those meetings will be so much easier now!

Zactly said...

So sorry for all the school trouble. You did a great job advocating for your daughter. If you want any ideas for homeschool. I would suggest the program I use for my 2 special needs children. It is PT,OT, speech, sound therapy, sensory integration, and academics all rolled into 1 program. You pick how many hours a day for 5 days a week you wish to do it at your home. The child is reevaluated every 4 months and given an updated program to do. If interested check out these websites... www.icando.org and http://www.hope-future.org/ . They will give you more info. May or may not be for you, but we have seen great results the last 2 yrs. using it. Best wishes.
Vickie in Mo.

G-Zell said...

Oh my goodness.. what a horrible experience. I really admire what you have done.

It just amazes me in this day and age they continually fail to see what children have to offer..

Kudos to you~! OVER involved wow that's a new one. THOSE who chose to talk about you... excuse me but they aren't worth a damn. TO testify about you being over involved come one she is 6..

WOW this really angered me.

AGAIN thank you for sharing.

Grissell

RK said...

Welcome back, girl. :o) As I've said before, this whole process is just wrong in so many ways. But it sounds like you're taking the right path to me. I've been composing an email to you this past week and never sent it...we had a little (much less dramatic, but still disappointing) school issue that lasted about 5 days. I wanted your opinion, but I didn't want to bother you in your "mess." :o) I think we've got a decent resolution for now... (it's on my blog if you get time and are curious...)

Bottom line: I was planning to be preparing for preschool at home this fall. It may still happen depending on illness. Our girls will shine! And we'll help them every step, won't we? :o)

I can totally see why you let it go. I wouldn't want to send her back there either...how could the positive and loving environment return with all that hostility being passed around--clearly not looking out for what SHE needs. You did the right thing, in my humble opinion. So very sorry you had to go through this, though.

kdliberty said...

I am sorry the school system has put you through hell. I know a couple that homeschools their 13 years old daughter with DS. Bella is thriving and a better reader then some adults I know!

BobbyCarol said...

Renee, I am so sorry to hear you (& Kennedy) had to go through that. I have been accused of being 'over-involved' several times, and as a result I have gone to the brink of throwing in the towel with the school entirely, and had the school not backed down, I would have home schooled and they knew it. I think you are absolutely doing the right thing for everyone involved!!!! I can only imagine what it'd be like having not one, but THREE children in that school after all that. You really are a great mom for swallowing your pride a bit for the sake of your children. I'm sure you will be an amazing teacher for Kennedy, and just imagine how much Keeghan and Kellsey will benefit from the influence of 'school' at home during the day, too! :)

So glad to see you back in bloggy land! :)

heidi marie said...

i'm so sorry that you have had to endure all this. it seems that when in situations like these it is always lose-lose for the child and parent. if we fight and win we turn people away in the process and they probably won't do their jobs properly. and then if we lose, we lose. you've basically written about one of my greatest fears.

but i know lots of moms that homeschool their kiddos with special needs and they still have lots of friends and support. sending prayers and hugs.

Janet said...

Renee, you did what you had to do. I totally understand your situation. My mother has been in your shoes. I too had IEP through out my school years. My mother had to fight against some of them for me because she didn't believe in what they were doing to me and felt that I needed more than what they were offering. My mother was mad when one of the Hearing Impaired teacher forced me into a regular classroom unbeknownest to her and that teacher called my mother to tell her that I did not belong in her classroom. My mother had no inkling clue what she was talking about so she had to come down to the school and found out that the H.I. Teacher sent me to another classroom in which I couldn't do the school work because these kids were 2 grades older than me. Oh my mother was furious at that H.I. teacher for what she did to me. She contacted the School officials and told them of what they did. They quickly pulled me out of that classroom and back into the H.I. Classroom. That very same H.I. Techer also separated me from my friends at lunch time and would make me sit w/ 4th graders when I was only a 1st grader. She told me that I couldn't sit w/ my friends at lunch time and that I had to sit w/ these older kids. You know what I did, I would go right back and sit w/ my friends against the teacher wishes. My mother had to tell them that she didn't want me to be in that teacher's classroom the following year which thankfully she had me transferred to another school district that also handled the H.I. Program. I thrived there until I got mainstreamed into public school and I didn't require H.I. Classroom anymore but I still had IEP all the way until I graduated from High School. So Renee - you have every right to be an overprotective parent to do what you believe is RIGHT for your child. My mother did the exact same thing and I am forever grateful that she helped me, fought for me to get the best education possible. She even thought about pulling me out of public school into private school at one point because things weren't going the way she wanted. She even looked at 2 private school near the house and by some miracle something happened that changed it all that I didn't end up in private school. So I don't think you were wrong in what you did, every mother's dream is to have their child educated regardless of their disabilities. Every child is bright and smart in their own way, every child learn at different speed no matter what. I wish you all the BEST in helping Kennedy thrived and you won't regret it at all. You know in your heart you are doing what is BEST for Kennedy and your family! Love to you!

Lynn said...

Glad you're finally able to post over here again. Oh it's going to be heartbreaking for Kennedy when she can't go back to school! It's just so not fair!!!!!!
Lifting up prayers!
Psalms 142:5-7 I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living. Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.
Prayer Bears
My email address

Patricia said...

Oh Renee, I am so sorry you have had to travel this journey. It's sad to see schools take the path that does not include the best for each student. I know you will be an awesome teacher. Have you looked into seeing if there are any Homeschool Charters in your area? The one I worked for before I retired furnished curriculum, gave you a credentialed teacher for guidance, and had classes in which your child could participate. It might be cool to have other homeschool moms to hook up with. I pray that now the decision is made, you can be at peace. I love you girl!!!

Anonymous said...

The comment of you being an "over-involved" parent makes me sick -- literally!!! All of the so called "educators" who made such ridiculous comments should be terminated!!

Most children that have issues within the educational process is because they have parents who aren’t involved at all! A parent could never be “too” involved in a child’s education.

Even though you've dropped the suit - I would still make this situation known. (Even if that's sending a copy of your blog post...) I would contact TN's governor, state rep's, senators, etc. This is absurd and should not even be allowed.

I'm so sorry for what your family has had to endure.
Hugs to you...
Wendee Gabby
Marion, IL

Hevel said...

Congratulations on your decision! While I'm not known to be an avid home school supporter, there are just times when that is the best way to go, and this definitely is one of those situations.

My experience in the States is that the special ed is totally messed up with no middle ground.

I hope you will have a great school year!

Anonymous said...

Good on you!!!!
I have Peter's IEP next week, and they had better not try anything like that with us.... Otherwise I will be flying you over here to sort them out.
You are such a great mum, and I really hope that the home-schooling goes well.
And it is SO great that you are back blogging again!
Bridget

Jen T. said...

This whole thing just sucks! The kicker is that you are an AMAZING mother who IS involved in your kids' lives, which is so VERY lacking these days. Overinvolved? Perhaps, but clearly necessary in this case. I have learned so much by reading your blog and spending time with you over the last few years. Although spinach? Really?

I just pray that Kass and Kam are able to finish out their years at Barksdale without any negative repercussions toward them. And, of course, for you (for patience, lol) and for Kennedy (because I know you have HIGH expectations for her and won't let her slack).

Glad we were able to get together last week...looking forward to hearing how the girls' visits went on Thursday. Glad, too, that you are back in the blogosphere!

xoxo

Manuella said...

Dear Renee, i am so sorry for all you have had to go through. And i have to say i understand your reasons for not going through with the fight. I myself would also have a hard time sending my child to a place where she is not really welcome. I admire you for the choice you have made and i wish you all the best in your new journey of homeschooling Kennedy and Kellsey !
Much love from us in Belgium.

Christina said...

This post had me crying for Kennedy. I think this school is really going to extremes. Kennedy seen high functioning, so why put her in a class that is not. What about No Child Left Behind.

You will be a great teacher! You have patience and understand.

momof4as said...

Hi Renee, so glad you are back. I am as stunned as anyone else about what has happened, I can't believe the school failed you and Kennedy so badly. I think you were right to get her out of there and I wish you all the best with homeschooling! Sending hugs and prayers!

Holly Aytes said...

Renee, that is horrible and had me crying for Kennedy! I definitely feel like you did the right thing! Kennedy deserves to be in an enviroment where she is loved and can thrive...she is such a bright little girl and if everyone involved couldn't see that then with you is a wonderful place for her to be :) Personally, I think we could use some more "over involved parents" in today's society! I will be praying for you as you embark on this new journey! Oh yeah, it is so good to have you back!!!

Tammy said...

How fortunate Kennedy and Kellsey and your other children are that you are their mother. I don't have a special needs child but I cried reading the heartbreak you have endured. Praise God for you and your family and you know he will hold your hand through all of this.

So glad to have you back on your blog.

Allyson said...

Renee,

I am so sorry to hear that you had to go through all of this. The decision making process on your part had to be very difficult but, of course, you made the decision you had to so you could do the VERY BEST for you child! I remmeber when we met in Philadelphia and we talked about homeschooling and you said you could never do that....Never say never! Take it day by day and minute by minute if necessary. Hopefully the homeschool community that you have in your area is as good as the one I have here. I know all the things you do for your kids and I know that you will wind up being the very best teacher for Kennedy this year!!! I take each year one at a time and you just never know what next school year might bring for you and the rest of your family!! Email if you need to talk about homeschooling at all....I've got tons of great resources, many free online! Best wishes and you are all always in my prayers.

Allyson

my family said...

I hate you have been going through all of this. I have so much to say and many comments but I will not put them all on here b/c it could turn into a book, lol

This is so dissappointing as William will be entering PreK this year fully included...I feel good about where we will be this year but next year is never guaranteed.

If the only thing someone can say "bad" about you is that you are overly involved as a parent, then congrats to you.Seriously, what would happen to our kids if we werent overly involved, what are they thinking? Guess that can be my new title too:)

I think you have made the right decisoin in your situation. Are there homeschooling groups in your area you could join? Kennedy would still made new friends and not "just" be a home and there may be something for the 2 little K's

Your'e in my prayers my friend


OH and so glad you are back

Anonymous said...

I have read your blog for several years.
I think we only become "over involved" parents when it goes against what the school system thinks is best for our children. When children do not perform to the schools standards then we are accused of not being involved enough. Dam#$% if we do and Dam*&# if we don't.

B. McKenzie said...

I would do the exact same thing. Jack is only 1 year old, but I am dreading going through this in the coming years. My heart is with you and Kennedy. I think you are doing the right thing though. Stay strong. And btw- how is it possible to be overly-involved in your child's education? YOu get to make decisions about their daily care at home and medical care, yet they don't think you have to right to make decisions about their schooling?? BULL SHIT!

sorry -had to say that. Hugs to yo u.

Blessed with Boys said...

You did the right thing! Keep on fighting for whats best for your children! You are an amazing mother!

Rubypat said...

I'm so sorry that this has happened; where are the rights of this special child? Do the school authorities not realise how beneficial inclusion is, not only for the special child, but also for their peers. When children get to really know a child with a disability, learn to support and love them, they are learning things that they will carry through their whole lives. I know that you will do a wonderful job of teaching Kennedy at home, but I feel your pain for the loss of her friends. God bless.

m&msmommy said...

Renee,
I am so sorry to hear that you have been going through for the past several months. My sister is a special education teacher and she WISHES for parents like you that actually care about their children!!! You are Kennedy's best advocate and I think you will do an AMAZING job as her teacher!

Good luck! :)

Designs by DD said...

Renee,

{{{hugs}}} There aren't words to express my opinion of a school that would do this. I believe you have made the best decision for your family and the Lord will bless that.

I wrote an email last night and will send it as soon as hubby fixes my email account.

Cathy said...

far out that is shocking.

you did all you could, i had to pull out from Kindy here because Aden wasn't wanted, I refused to keep fighting it and pleople bagged me out. how dare they, we loose friends (and I've just lost a sister to do with ds stuff) and that is our life. we are there for our kids we are their voice and all they have.
who the heck wants to fight everything?
pick your battles and knowing when to pull out is a gift.
i ended up putting Aden in after 6mths when others fought for him but in with a differnent teacher.

how will you ever get through these messages.
hugs love and give that girl a big hug for me.

xx

Elbog said...

Kennedy is an amazing individual. I think you are too, but I won't fall into that easy trap. . . you're just a Great Mom.
Anyone who would resort to the tactics you've described does not realize either of these facts. As you point out, it is truly their loss.
I'm enriched to 'know' both of you, and I hope you know that your whole family supports me in indescribable ways.
Thanks.

Jenn said...

I'm so sorry. We have had the opposite problem here... Abbie is just borderline autistic.. she has had therapy since she was 1 and is ahead of the game... but they always want an IEP/plan even if they can't provide it. She was too included in the class and expected to perform like everyone else. There was only 1 kindergarten class. It had one non-verbal Down Syndrome child from an abusive home, 2 spanish speakers, 1 other borderline Autistic and 2 Fetal alcohol syndrome children. And the class was INSANE! 20 kids,1 teacher, 2 assistants and no room in the class for a child to get some peace. I'm homeschooling all kids from now on... I know what's best for my kids. I know you will do great!

ashley said...

This sounds like such a rough process to endure and some very difficult decisions to make. But I am sure that you have done everything with prayer and grace and the best intentions of all 5 of your darling children at heart. May God bless you in this new journey.

ashley said...

P.S. The comments about you being overly-involved remind me of this article from The Onion. http://www.theonion.com/articles/increasing-number-of-parents-opting-to-have-childr,17159/
Overly-involved parents of elementary-aged children are simply those whose wishes go against those of the school administration. There is a difference for adolescents/college students.

Anonymous said...

Hi Renee,

I have read your blog for years, and as a daughter of a teacher, am horrified that you -- and Kennedy -- were treated this way. What a disgrace!

I find it ironic that on the Principal's website via the school she has listed her parent tip as: "Your child needs your guidance. Be there for them!" WHAT!?!?!?? Isn't that what you are doing and look how she treated you! She should take a bit of her own advice to heart and send you an apology for how things turned out.

I really would question and be ashamed that such a person (and the rest of the school staff who was involved) are shaping the future of this country.

In the end, the situation may not be ideal, but Kennedy will be with such a loving, caring teacher that has her best interests at heart -- ALL the time!

You really are an inspiration Renee!

-Anya

Amy said...

I'm so sorry for what you have been through! I live in a similar type of school district - there is no inclusion here :-( In fact, the head of special ed for the school district recommended we homeschool!

So, here we are many years later and I love homeschooling my children. Have you read my e-book on homeschooling children w/Ds? There is a link on my blog.

Janet said...

Thanks for sharing. From my point of view, you did a great job. You guys will remain in my prayers. I know God will use this situation for good. How or what - time will tell. Kennedy will have an appropriate education - be it at home or elsewhere.

Glad you are back blogging.

sharalyns said...

As someone who brought her son (sensory processing disorder) home for schooling last November for many of the same reasons, I can attest that my son is now *thriving* and eager to learn again after we have deprogrammed all that the previous teachers (2nd and the start of 3rd grade) did. He has many friends from outside activities (karate, Bible Study Fellowship, soccer, and upcoming Boy Scouts), and is doing very well.

((hugs)) That is a rough road and not fun to have to travel down.

Hilary said...

WOW....well I'm glad that Kennedy has you for a Momma!! You did a great job fighting for her..I would have done the same thing...the whole situation is just sad. Shoot for the moon girls :) Let nothing hold you back...
Hilary

Monica said...

Unbelievable! I can't believe you and Kennedy were treated so unfairly. Thankfully Kennedy has you as her mom and she will thrive. I'm sad for Kennedy, too, that she will miss out on the social aspect of her school friends, but hopefully you will connect with some great homeschooling families. One of my biggest fears looking ahead to next year is that John Michael will be placed in an environment with other children who have severe behavioral challenges and that he would mimic them. He can mimic good behavior and does at home, so I know he would pick up bad behavior just as easily. Is there a private Christian school option for you? Our preschool wants John Michael as does our Catholic K - 8th school where my older kids go. I can only hope that things go our way. Thank you for taking the time to write all you did. I hope all goes well with your new transition.

Anonymous said...

If you're what an "over-involved" parent is, then I hope and pray that should I ever be blessed with kids, that I'll be like you:)(Mean that in a 110% positive way:)

As a homeschool grad too, I will also say that it was the best decision my parents ever made.

Mary

Anonymous said...

Good afternoon, I am, Hilary Bock, Kennedy's special education teacher and the one that Renee attends church with. I typically would not respond to a blog like this, however as I read it and the comments I felt like I needed to say a few things. First, please remember there are three sides to every story --- hers, ours, and the truth.

I and the faculty at Barksdale love Kennedy and want her to succeed. We NEVER said Mrs. Garcia was an over involved parent. Mrs. Garcia did ask for a copy of the IEP but it was two months prior to the meeting and it was not prepared. At that same time Mrs. Garcia was told Kennedy's goals would not change and she could share the goals from the old IEP with her advocate.

Barksdale is a wonderful school with very caring and qualified teachers. We all struggled with this process and lost lots of sleep over the issue. None of the Garcia children would/will be mistreated when they return to school in August.

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

Hilary, the school system's lawyer John Kitch said to my lawyer, "Renee Garcia is the most over-involved parent I have EVER seen. She is TOO involved in Kennedy's education. When we go to court and the emails that Kennedy's teacher turned over are presented, she will look horrible to the judge." He went on to say several times to my attorney that the school system's defense was that I am an over-involved parent. His words... coming from the school, according to him.

When I asked you for the copy of the IEP, you told me NOTHING would be changing. You said you would need to ask Tanya for it but that no one had ever asked for a copy ahead of time before. I was willing to wait until right before the meeting but you again said that since NOTHING would be changing that her current IEP should suffice. I agreed since I didn't think I had anything to worry about since you promised me I would never be blindsided.

Barksdale IS a wonderful school with VERY caring and qualified teachers. I think I made that clear... however, for children with special needs it sucks. Kennedy could have had a wonderful education there in an inclusive environment instead of being locked away in Life Skills. There was a teacher willing to teach her next year, as you know, and one more year of Kindergarten wouldn't have hurt ANYONE, least of all, Kennedy.

Believe me, no one has lost more sleep over this than I have.

Kim said...

You know, you have done exactly what I would do given the situation, and what we may very politely do when the time comes anyway (also a 60's-ish school system here).

You know, you will plug in with other families educating at home, she will have close and special friends. She will have one on one instruction, and all the "real-life skills" she could ever possibly need as you take her on real life field trips and involve her everyday at home and in the community. What better way to prepare her for an independent future.

I am SO sorry it went the way it did, but I am interested to know how home educating will go for you. What an adventure. I think it will be exciting.

And, Welcome Back! :)

Beth said...

Best of luck in your new journey!! I hope all the Garcias have a wonderful school year!!!!!!!

magda said...

Hi Renee , I have a simillar experience where my 4 year old son Kai (DS) was not wanted in a school.
We were moving houses and I picked a school for both of my children to go to, at first Kai`s DS was not a problem for the Head when I spoke to her over the phone, but once we came over to speak to her in person she started putting me off , I wouldn`t back down and insisted my children go to this perticular shool.
She would lead me on for another 3 months , telling me she wants best for Kai and so on, then she would say that she can not find a suitable one to one assistant for Kai,but I still insisted she tries her best (hahaha, I must also be an over-involved parent) and at the end she sent a statement to the Department of Special Educational Needs telling them that the school can not meet Kai`s needs.
I could have taken that further maybe to MP and I would have won but as you say why would I want my child at a school where he is not wanted.
In the end it worked our perfect for both of my kids,they both love their school Kai`s one to one teacher sdores him and he loves her to bits.
I am sure things will also work out for the best for Kennedy .
All the best
xxx

Becca said...

Oh, Renee, this is making me cry. You definitely made the right decision, and I completely understand your fears that these are all still people you and your children have to interact with every day. Kennedy is much better off being home schooled, and I am sure she doesn't lack for little friends and playmates outside of school. I'm hearing this sort of thing happening in our area, too, and I hear the parents reaching out for help as well. It's really heartbreaking.
Do you have any other schools in the area that you can send Kennedy to? I thought that if one school became a restrictive environment, you could request she attend another one. But we're pretty new to this dance, so what do I know? LOL
((hugs))

Anonymous said...

My son, David, is a student at Barksdale and was in the life skills class last year. I can tell you he learned a lot. He learned how to get out of class as much and often as he wanted. He learend manipulation. He learned biting will get you a day out of school. He learned to walk out of the building. He leared that saying 'No' and laying under the table will get your mother to come up to the school. He learned how to write David. He was only given the opportunity to practice his name and no other letters or words. David was not challenged to learn. David was not given a lot of opportunity to learn because the classroom was mostly chaotic. The teacher didn't want to be there and really didn't care what the kids did. There were a lot of discipline problems and I am convinced that the only reason David wasn't hurt is because he is a biter and he started his fair share of the trouble.
David and Kennedy are neighbors and 4 months apart. Renee and I talk often and our children play together. I can say without any hesitation that Kennedy went into Kindergarden knowing more than some of the typical kids coming out of kindergarden.

Karyn Reed said...

I am so sorry things worked out this way for your family. I will be praying for you in your next adventure of homeschooling. We pulled our kids out of school, one after second grade and one after kindergarten and we have had great experiences with homeschooling. now we go through a charter school so they can go to "learning center" classes a few days a week. Maybe your town has something like that.

DreamCatcher said...

Huggles, Renee and Kennedy. I hate it when schools complain that parents are not more involved in their children's education yet don't assist those of us that are trying to do what's best for our child. We try to do what's best and get no support in return. It's not like we are asking for the impossible or even the unrealistic.

I think you made a great choice and you are right... Kennedy deserves better than to be going to a school where they don't really want her there. It's their loss. I think you will do great with teaching her and I think that Kellsey will benefit from it as well. I'm sure she will be right there learning right along with Kennedy.

I wish you the best and don't ever feel that you are not doing the best by standing up for what you know is right. You did the right thing and don't ever doubt it. God Bless

Christina said...

Well, I must say I can feel your pain, but have to say your's is a little deeper. Kallie was fully included(in a Florida school) until she got a teacher who just didn't feel that Kallie belonged in her class. Thus, she was moved to what is called a cluster program. Not yet life skills, but closer to it. To say that Kennedy, after ONE year of elementary school was to be taken off the academic track and placed in a life skills class to what it comes across as, if she didn't want to work she didn't have to!, is completely absurd! I am glad you fought, even if in the end, even though you would have won with the law on your side, you decided to not pursue it and give Kennedy a better education with someone who sees that she CAN AND WILL amount to more than life skills!

Oh and just to clarify, if you say there are "3 sides to every story, hers, ours, and the truth" To me that says "hers" and "ours" are lying about something! God in the end knows the truth and manipulation that happened and that will eventually come out!

Patty said...

Just sent you a message on Facebook, but wanted to tell you on here too, that if you need anything as far as help with a curriculum please let me know, and I for one as a classroom teacher would feel blessed to have Kennedy and you as a part of my classroom.

Sherry said...

I understand completely and back you 100%. I started homeschooling 3 years ago with my oldest in 7th grade... this year I will have a 10th grader, 2nd grader and Kindergartener. Kennedy is in good hands with you. It is sad that the school did what they did. It doesn't seem to ever be what's best for the child, it's what the school thinks is best for them. Welcome to homeschooling!

Anonymous said...

Gosh, this is the first time I've read you blog in many months. Been busy trying to get my son in the best Kindergarten setting I can find. I am very sorry you had this experience. BUT I totally understand why you did what you did. We, too, are trying to decide if home schooling will ultimately be the best for our child. Living in metro Atlanta, we had several options. The school system took MANY away from us and we ruled out all but one. Soon we will find out if this one will fit. I agree, why send a child to a school that will only set her up to fail? No it's not right. No it's not ethical. But ultimately, they can make it anyway they want it and your child suffers.

Best of luck and I hope it works out for you guys. It also has to be hard doing it without your husband. I hope all is well with him too.

Jan

Watching In Nashville said...

Amazing. Ms. Bock admits in her comment to this blog entry that you were not provided an advance copy of a proposed change in IEP (a violation of Kennedy's rights), even after you asked for one and represented to you that nothing would change, and upon which you relied (I think the law calls that fraud), and when you question this significant change sprung upon you, the school's lawyer called you an "over involved parent."
(Two questions - first, even if you were "overly involved," whatever that means, is that why the school moved Kennedy? How is that relevant? Does the school make educational decisions based on whether or not the parents hold them accountable? And secondly, Ms. Bock claims that was not the school's position - did the lawyer lie? Is Ms. Bock changing the school's position? Was it a made up excuse to cover the school's backside?)
Maybe the State Department of Education, the Tennessee AG, and the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice should take a lot at Barksdale. Unfortunately, until the educational rights of children with special needs are enforced regularly and strenuously, the bad behavior of the Barksdales of the world will continue. A thorough investigation may not help Kennedy this time, but maybe some other children will not be the victim of discriminatory practices. Renee, Kennedy may be better off attending school at home than staying and being forced to suffer under these people, but it is so unfair that you've been forced to make this decision. I hope for the teacher's and principal's sake that they never have to endure heartbreak for a child or grandchild needing educational accomodations but not being fairly treated. God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Not Fair!!!! and thank God I live in New Zealand jump to mind! I am so sad this has happened to you all, what an awful process to go through. We are so lucky in NZ, ALL children have the right to attend their local mainstream school and be fully included. It has it's stressful times but many rewarding ones too. Laura who has DS and is in year 4 (9 years old), is just in a regular class with her same age peers. Of course she is aceademically behind but the work is adjusted to her level. Some of the people making antiquated decisions need to get on a plane and come and see inclusion in action!
I feel so angry for you and Kennedy...all of your family. Does the school realise it is 2010?
As for over advocating/being over involved isn't that our job as a parent? Good on you Renee, you have made a very difficult choice and I am saddened to read that in a developed country this sort of thing still goes on.

Hannah Blow
New Zealand
Proud Mum of 4!
Over advocator and super involved!

Mary said...

Glad you are back Renee! And hey...what's one more thing to add to your day??? LOL..remember sleep is required and not optional!!!

Mary

My name is Sarah said...

This is Joyce, I read this early this morning and left for the day in shock for many reasons. But what I keep coming back to is this, I can't believe you had to go thru Due Process with Frank in Afghanistan. That is just not right. Shame on that school. Had I known I would have driven down just to give you some hugs. I have supported a few other families thru this ordeal so I have some understanding of just how tough it is. They were all in high school settings though. I just can't believe this was about kindergarten. How can you pull out a student in kindergarten when the entire class is working on life skills. Just ridiculous. I will say though the minute you involve an attorney it does become outright ugly, regardless of the people involved, so don't take the attacks on you personally. I've seen it so many times over the years.

Anonymous said...

Dear Hilary,
If you are still reading this blog I was wondering if you could help me understand a few things. Firstly, can you explain how the Life Skills class was in Kennedy's best interest? Also, how does this suggested change embody a LRE? Also, it is clear that Kennedy is very bright. Are the other "typical" children in the class who were a bit behind the average also being moved into the Life Skills class? I am from Australia where we do not of have NCLB act so I am struggling to understand the school's reasoning here.

Nicola Moore (Crescent Head, Australia)

Lu, Poppies Blooming said...

Renee', I'm so sad to hear all the details... I'm going to be home educating Eden so I guess you and I can be teachers together... I feel so badly for Kennedy and even more, I simply pity the school. Kennedy is a blessing to them, the other children there and the teachers. It is truly their loss. How tragic.

Well, we love you and Kennedy and will continue to pray for you.

Blessings,
Lu

Crawfords of WA said...

You are doing a great job Renee, in the end only a loving mother can figure out what's best for her child not a public school system that is looking for funding.
Good luck with the homeschooling and I hope you find many great resources to use!

Concerned Parent said...

My recommendation to Hilary is that she find another line of work. It is clear that she has (A) forgotten why she became a teacher,(B) sold her soul to the bureaucratic 'powers that be', or (C) is severely misinformed; none of those options benefits kids like Kennedy, whom she is SUPPOSE to be advocating for. Every new teacher emerges from school brimming with optimism and with a primary focus on what is BEST for students. It seems to me that when this is no longer a teacher's primary concern, it would be far better for students that they step aside. Kennedy is (unfortunately) a primary example of a case in which those who SHOULD be protecting and nurturing growth are more concerned with the bottom line. What is ironic is that the concessions requested for Kennedy would have done nothing to 'inconvenience' anyone; they simply refused to help this child in the name of some distorted sense of competition. I happen to know that Renee made EVERY effort to compromise; every effort on her part was met with an uncompromising determination to engage in complete and total character assasination. I would advise Hilary to become better informed on the FACTS of the case before she responds further.

So I would say to Barksdale: Since this was obviously nothing more that some sort of competition, you win. Congratulations. You successfully sacrificed the very ideals on which education is based, and sacrificed a special needs child (whom you SHOULD have been protecting) in the process. Wow. You must be so proud.

Brandie said...

I agree 100% with your decision. We live in a school district that busses kids to the school with the life skills class. I would have to fight for Goldie to go to our home school. The same school that was shocked when I told them my oldest needed help in math. Now I know I was just an "over involved" parent. I think you'll find the homeschooling community to be more inclusive!

Christina said...

This is terrible, and so, so sad. I'm really sorry you had to deal with that and I don't blame you for the decision you made. Karma will come back on them!

Crittle said...

Oh, Renee. This brings tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat. You did the best you could and I know that you'll continue to do nothing less for Kennedy or the rest of your family.

Be encouraged!

Candy said...

Renee, I am so sorry to hear of your difficult process. I am sorry for you and for Kennedy, because from what I have read of your blog in the short time I've followed it, she seems to love school.
I am a Life Skills teacher and have a master's in special education. The students in my class are recommended for it based on assessment. Meaning, it isn't just one person's opinion or judgment, and it isn't based on a one day observation.
I believe your school went wrong in the first place by not showing you why a more restrictive environment was needed! We always start with inclusion, then back out, not the other way around! In other words, if Kennedy needed additional help in a certain area beyond what she could receive in the classroom, she could be pulled out for help in that subject. But first you should have been shown where she was not keeping up with her peers or the general curriculum.
Your school failed on other levels as well. Primarily failing to communicate effectively with you; good open parent communication should be near the top of a special education teacher's priority list.
I don't want anyone to bash Hilary. We don't know why this worked out this way or what direction she received from her administrators. But I do know that once the attorneys were involved it no longer was about Kennedy; it was about the district saving face.
Kennedy seems so bright and engaged and capable. I hope you have a great year learning together.

Julie G. said...

Renee - I am so glad that you are back and have missed hearing all the stories about your family. I just want to say a big "way to go" to you for taking a stand and being the number one advocate for your child. I am glad that you fought for Kennedy, but understand why you dropped the suit when you did. Some people have their minds made up on how children with special needs should be educated and treated, and simple ignorance on the subject perpetuates the situation. I know this coming school year will be a challenge for you both, but I have a feeling you will never regret this decision. I wish all parents were as "over-involved" as you are, then maybe we would see a real practice change in our schools!

Stephanie said...

I don't even know what to say.

Marytoo said...

Candy, everyone makes mistakes, even the experts and the pros; that is understandable. The real problem is that when they do, they are more interested in saving face than in correcting the situation. And they don't really care what it costs or who pays.

Renee, it looks like you struck a nerve.

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

I agree with Candy, I will likely never know the real story of how this all went down behind the scenes. I am not mad at Hilary and my intention is not to bash her, I am a little floored that she denied the school saying I'm an over-involved parent. It was said in mediation and several times to my attorney.

I DO believe this has all come down from the principal though and have no hard feelings against ANY of the teachers at Barksdale, Hilary included.

The fact remains that what they did was against the law. They were taking Kennedy from her least restrictive environment and putting her into her MOST restrictive one, without even attempting to try other things. They made this decision without me and completely blindsided me in Kennedy's IEP meeting. If they cared so much about Kennedy and me, they could have given me a heads up. No one should have to be ambushed that way. I cried for DAYS.

My advocates, my attorney and I offered up several different compromises at her IEP meeting, at mediation and even afterwards and were shot down at every turn. It was obvious they did not value my opinion in what setting Kennedy should be in or the fact that I know my daughter better than anyone.

Candy, I don't want you think I'm bashing ALL Life Skills classes, either. I know they are not all run the same, but the one in this school is NOT a good setting and it's NOT where Kennedy belongs. I'm not sure ANY child belongs in that class until they do some MAJOR revamping.

Anonymous said...

Wow, wow, and wow. I don't even know what to say. What an archaic belief system in 2010. An over involved parent. Wow. We have had MANY "issues" with our SD and many that boarderlined this situation. Our district loves to go to court. It becomes personal and all about "winning". Thankfully up until this point in time, we have always been able to "negotiate" LRE placement - but it has all been due to the teachers and their belief that my child CAN learn. I'm very sorry this has happened to you and Kennedy. At the same time, I just know she will be fine and you will be a great teacher!!!

Debbie in PA

L said...

Renee,

That truly breaks my heart that Kennedy is being mistreated. I do not understand how anyone would consider putting a child who had made progress into a life skills class. That is a class for children who can't make progress in a typical classroom, not for children whose progress might be a little slower. That is just so unfair and not right. I am sorry to hear that has happened.

Just The Facts said...

FROM BARKSDALE'S WEBSITE:

The policy of the Barksdale Elementary School learning community is to:

Provide a positive, orderly, and safe environment for learning.

Provide opportunities for all students to be involved in rigorous, challenging learning.

Employ a variety of instructional strategies and
ongoing research based assessments to increase student learning.

Provide opportunities for stakeholder involvement in the decision making process for policy development.

Maintain effective communication and collaboration among all stakeholder groups.


Doesn't look like Barksdale is following its own policies.

Jennifer said...

Wow, I am feeling so shocked about this and it is just not right. How can you be too over-involved?? You definitely made the right decision, but it just isn't fair, is it? Best of luck to you and Kennedy this school year.

Kate said...

I'M SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!

You did the right thing. You stood up for your daughter & what you know is best for her. You followed the proper protocol for due process. And ultimately, when you realized that the public school would not be the appropriate place for Kennedy to receive an education, you made a choice to homeschool & do it, yourself. THAT is commendable. I'm proud of you. I'm happy for you, too, because I truly believe you are going to realize just how awesome homeschooling kids with special needs is. There is something incredibly freeing about not having to deal with IEPs and jump through hoops to get your child what they need to thrive.

If you ever have questions that I might be able to help answer, please don't hesitate to contact me. I homeschool my kids primarily because they won't get what they need in public school. Kids with special needs often don't and instead of trying to fight the system all the time (with 3 SN kiddos & 2 more coming ~ our dossier was mailed TODAY! Yippee!), I would have had a full-time job just being an advocate at the school! SO not what I want to deal with, thankyouverymuch. It is so much more-fulfilling to be able to educate my kids at their pace, in a way that they actually learn, and to be able to celebrate every achievement with them instead of hearing about it secondhand. :)

GOOD FOR YOU! Kennedy is SO fortunate to have you for her mom!

Wendy said...

My heart grieves for you in this battle. However, I agree with other commenters that your involvement on Kennedy's behalf is right on. You are a fabulous advocate for your child. I will pray that this closed door will turn into a window (perhaps into something more wonderful than you can imagine).

I have been reading two books that I'd recommend. "Better Than My Dreams," by Paula Rinehart and "In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day," by Mark Batterson.

I will continue to lift you and your family in my prayers.

(If this went through twice, please delete one - I couldn't tell if the other went through or not).

Kacey Bode said...

Wow wow wow. This post makes me sick. A Life Skills Class, for a Kindergartner???? Seriously? I love that the Special Ed teacher commented trying to defend her school and yet totally confirmed your story. At 2 months till the IEP you were told that her goals would not change, and yet in 2 months they DRASTICALLY changed. I hope to become as overly-involved as you : ) I am very fortunate in that, while we are still only in preschool, Ella's teachers (yes mainstreamed) truly have her best interest in mind and in their hearts. I believe that you are doing the best thing for your daughter by not sending her back there, and it really is too bad because I'm sure she loved school. Any chance of being stationed somewhere else???? I am so sorry you had to go through all of this and I am sorry that you will still have to see the people who were involved!

April said...

Renee, I am so sorry that you had to go through that situation, especially with Frank being gone. You are so strong and are such a great advocate for your children. I have so much respect and admiration for you. I have homeschooled my two homegrown girls all the way through high school and now that I am adopting Alyona (w/Ds) have often wondered about homeschooling her as well. You know your child better than anyone else, and you know what is best for them. Have a great school year with Kennedy and enjoy your time together.

Katie said...

Grrr! I am so sorry you have to go through this with Kennedy, but you know what? She will be much better off in your capable hands than in a school district who wants to increase her restrictions by putting her in a class that she does not need to be in. Did they say specifically WHY they wanted to put her in a life skills class instead of letting her stay in kindergarten? I just don't get it! This probably means you will be homeschooling Kellsey as well when the time comes? I am sure you will find a wealth of resources for them and will be able to keep them among friends and peers, but it's frustrating that it had to come about this way. Kennedy will thrive this year, I am sure! You will do wonderfully -- I am sure of it.

Candy said...

You're right, Renee: they shouldn't have made a placement change without you. The fact that they wouldn't consider compromise is unbelievable and unconscionable. The fact that you needed an advocate for a preschooler speaks volumes as well. It tells me that from the start they were unwilling to be open to your suggestions without you needing support.

I appreciate what you said about life skills classrooms. They are not all alike. And I am proud of mine, and my students. Next year I will have 3 kindergarten students and one first grader. Some of my students have no verbal language. My students are included with their same age peers to the greatest extent possible, considering they all have various therapies several times per week and need to work on communication goals. We provide an environment where they can work on those goals and learn new language at the same time. So, there is a place for some kindergartners to be in Life Skills; sometimes they have a lot of other needs that the regular classroom can't meet. But each student has as much of the regular kindergarten experience as possible. That's a big focus for me and my staff.
Kennedy has so much language; that is something that has stood out to me consistently. So again I would wonder what her speech pathologist said about this placement, as well as other therapists.

I love hearing about Kennedy's accomplishments and I know there are many more to come.

Anonymous said...

The Life Skills program at Barksdale is being "revamped". The class has been split...K-2 and 3-5...and two very certified teachers. The classrooms use the programs that have been suggested that Renee use: Edmark, Handwriting without Tears, TouchMath, etc. There are many untruths to what is being said. With that being said, I will not bash anyone as is being done here.

Michelle said...

Renee, as parents we can only do what we think is best. I think you will make a great homeschool parent and that Kennedy will THRIVE!

Jennie said...

Renee - I figured your absence was somehow related to this. I'm so sorry to hear of this. What a horrible series of events for you and your family. Kennedy will do GREAT at home with you, and I know she'll learn a TON!
(Separate note... want to meet me in Atlanta for the DownsEd conference? Some of their staff presented at NDSC and they have some fabulous resources for our kids!)

Melissa said...

I am SO sorry that this happened, but I am glad you shared because I am worried that this is exactly what we will face here with Liza. I have worked in the local Elementary school as a sub and the classroom you described is the exact one that the only two children with DS in the school are in all day, every day. I have wondered if we had to fight them for Liza what would happen and would I even trust them after having to fight them for what she may need.

I will be praying for you and for Kennedy. This makes me so sad for her.

Watching In Nashville said...

Dear Anonymous from 11:35 am today - please tell all of us what has been said that is untrue so we can all evaluate your statements. We know Ms. Bock has said the school's lawyer was incorrect in asserting Renee was "over involved" - as if that should justify what was done. So please, share with us the "many untruths to what is being said" and tell us how you know. Vague assertions of "untruth" is very unfair to the Garcias - every child deserves better.

Cole said...

Renee- Do you thing this is the end of it? Will any further negotiation go on? My heart breaks for you and sweet Kennedy- you shouldn't have to be faced with the choice of one child's happiness and right to an education over your others. I had hoped things had changed. our dear girl is just 17 mos old and I'm just starting to learn about all of this.
I agree with the others- Kennedy will flourish with her awesome Momma as her academic teacher- it's just not right that it isn't a choice.

teacher said...

I am so sorry! I know that for me, parents are the best advocates for their children. I count on their input, because what I see at school may be very different than home. The thought that you would want to be an equal participant, and that was viewed as inappropriate is shocking. I know that you will continue to be a great teacher for your child. Prayers for you!

Stephanie said...

To Barksdale Elementary School-- since you are inevitably reading here.

Kennedy is 6 years old and has lived life HARDER than most people in 80 years of life. THAT child has SUFFERED the worst illnesses and SURVIVED and THRIVED. She is a MIRACLE, she is AMAZING and STILL doing amazing things with her education.

Did you ever sit in an IEP room and just talk about all the things Kennedy is good at???? That is what my daughter Megan's school did...they focused on all the POSITIVE things with regards to my child and made a HUGE poster board of my child's strengths. If you only look at the negative you will not see a child's full potential....and it is such a shame....Kennedy's potential is HUGE. I am fortunate to know Kennedy very well, she is AMAZING and if she lived here in the Philadelphia area with me it is sad that her story would be different. She would be loved and welcomed and included and treated
fairly in her school...everything a child SHOULD feel. You are taking away from Kennedy a right for her to go to school with her community. You are segregating her.

Just wanted to share:
My 13 year old son and I watched the movie "The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas" last night....my son, whom I haven't seen cry since he was little, looked over at me with tears and said, "I can't believe things like this happened in the world."....if you have seen the movie or read the book...try not to think of your children sitting behind those fences without a choice...you would think 70 years later the world would have learned their lesson.

My heart hurts for Kennedy right now, I am so sorry Renee and Frank...

Beth said...

WOW!! I had a feeling you're absence was related to IEP's but never imagined an outcome like this. I'm sorry that your family has to go through something like this. I just don't understand how they can accuse you of being an overbearing parent! Kennedy is your child and you have every right to look out for best interest. It sounds like they want you to sit back and let them(the school) have control over your child!!! UNBELIEVEABLE!

I'm new to the school system since Hannah is just entering Kindergarten but don't they have Resource rooms? If so wasn't that an option?

Lori said...

Renee -
I am so sorry that you are having to deal with this. It infuriates me, and scares me as a parent of a child with Ds. One of the things that I said to my husband as I was going through my emotions and wondering why God had chosen me to be a parent of a child with special needs, was that I didn't think he had it in me to fight the school districts, etc. I am just not that kind of person to rock the boat and buck the system. Anna still has a year before she enters the school system, but I see now that I need to start getting prepared (although, I already know we are blessed with very accomodating school system as I know of 2 other children who are part of everyday classes).

I admire your courage and conviction. I am sure you made the best decision for Kennedy (and your other children...it stinks they are affected as well).
My prayers are with you and your family.

Stacy said...

Unfortunately, reading through your blog post tonight I feel as though I'm reading my future here at our local school system. I know there is a general push towards life skills for all children with Down Syndrome here. The elementary school that my older three typical children attend have NEVER had a child with DS attend there yet. I'm hoping that my twins will be the first, but like you, I'm not afraid to take matters into my own hands and home school. I home schooled my first daughter for two years and loved it!!! You'll do Great (and you'll learn ALOT)

((HUGS)) Ranee

June Berger said...

Renee,
I'm so sorry you had to go through all that. My girlfriend had a similar experience with her school district. It resulted in her dtr. with DS going to a private school for children with learning disabilities, (it is the BEST, now Anah is going there this fall! And I'm thrilled, our school district is even paying for it!!). Her youngest dtr. is now going to a private christian school.

Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is, you are not alone, unfortunately there are far too many of us going through it. Isn't it terrible that there are so many involved parents (read with much sarcasm)? It's totally crazy...what will be next, these same people going to far off lands to bring home other children with disabilies? Oh wait...we're doing that too...what is this world coming to?

Beverly said...

wow! so sorry you and Kennedy had to deal with this. so glad that you are a wonderful Mom to her and took it in your own hands. we lived through all of what you did and the reason I took him out of school and homeschool him. It was not worth the fight and I didnt want to keep him in the horrible school that didnt think he was worth anything. I never thought this would be are life (homeschooling) but it is. life stinks some times when things do not go our way or how we want but we are stronger for it in the end and we make lemon aide out of lemons! I think you did the right thing! Your kids need you more than a huge fight with the school system. Good luck and have a great school year!

Dawn said...

Having been through many, many IEPs, some good some bad, I will admit that I never had to go through the appeals process.

My daughter did spend most of her schooling in a "Life Skills" setting. However, she is profoundly developmentally delayed so that was what was best for her.

However, she didn't go to the Life Skills class until she was several years older than Kennedy. As young as Kennedy is, I would think she would benefit way more from another year of kindergarden.

My daughter is 20 now and she just "graduated" high school. I knew going in that Taylor was never going to learn to read and write and Life Skill was where she needed to be. I don't see your daughter in that same light, from what I've read and seen on your blog.

I don't know the make up of the Life Skills class that Barksdale, but please know that not all of those classrooms are full of behavior problem kids. I guess that was my only "issue" with your post. To me it felt like a generalization of all kids in a Life Skills class and my daughter was never like that.

Other than that, I feel like you had every right and even an obligation to advocate the way you did for your daughter. We are our children's voices. How can that make you over-involved?

I'm sorry you had such a rough time and I can say that I'm happy I have no more IEPs though my daughter is so profound, there really aren't any programs for after graduation for her. Seems like there will always be something.

criley said...

Hi Renee,
I have never commented before, but felt I should at this point. I was homeschooled and although I know it is not possible for everyone, I encourage everyone to do so. It is the best thing my parents could have possibly done for me. I am now entering my second year of college with a 4.0 GPA. I intend to be a Elementary Education teacher. Too bad I'm in Missouri, or I would offer to tutor Kennedy! I wish you the best in your homeschooling adventure. If you ever have any questions, let me know. I don't want to leave my email here, but if you reply to the comment, I can email you and then you would have it.

Becky said...

Ugh! You are right in all senses of the word! I am a special education assistant, and at the school where I work, we fight for our kids. I have kids that are labeled (not really fond of labels, but they exist) as having moderate disabilities. Most cannot even talk. If Kennedy is actually reading some, she is ahead of a number of our typical kindergartners! I would have been TERRIBLY angry as well...I think you have made the best choice for now. I have an acquaintance who pulled her DS daughter from public school and home schooled her for 4 or 5 years, and then reintroduced her to public school for middle school. It did wonders for her child, so I'm sure it will do wonders for Kennedy! Prayers for you...

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

Dawn, my apologies, I did not mean to sound like I was generalizing all Life Skills classes. If you read up some in the comments, you will see that I touched on this with a special ed teacher, Candy, as well. I have several friends who are teachers in Life Skills classes which are run very differently than the one at Barksdale (they also know Kennedy in person and agree she does NOT belong there). They care greatly about their students and have their classes under control. The kids learn a lot and thrive. There's a big difference.

However, as you pointed out, even in the best of cases, even if they had the BEST teacher in the world in there, I still would not think Kennedy belongs in there, especially at 6 years old. I refuse to give up on her so young. She has SO much potential and deserves and is able to be educated along side her typical peers.

criley, you can contact me at camommy2kj@aol.com . :)

Anonymous said...

Wow. Just...wow. Thank you for sharing, Renee. I am so very sorry that the school treated you this way. But I think you have made the right decision.

Anonymous said...

HI Renee! First of all, welcome back - I have not been paying attention and nearly missed this! Sorry for all that you have gone through and poor Kennedy, but then again - lucky Kennedy. I have a feeling you will do an excellant job! My God bless you and your family as you embrace these new challenges!! - Maureen Claypool

~Erica~ said...

First of all, welcome back. I just stumbled upon your blog today to see if you were and poof, you were! I am so happy to see you blogging again. Now, onto this issue. I am going to stand in prayer that more and more parents become "Too involved" in their children's education because as a therapist that worked at a continuation school, half of the kids there would have had proper meals before school, attention, support etc...and therefore would not be depressed and attempting suicide. I think every parent of a child with special needs/ without special needs would do great with lesson from Renee Garcia. My heart hurts for Kennedy! I have loved her since the first day I read the blog! You're a fantastic mother! :)

Anonymous said...

Sadly i have heard this story before and not just with kids who have Ds. You were very wise in your decision making. I pondered the thought of even if you win the fight then to have to send your child into a hostile environment would not be much of a victory for them. We all want our kids to be somewhere where they are happy and Wanted. I think you will be great at homeschooling and I've also heard great stuff on parents co-oping together with their kids for field trips and extra curriculars. I know you will be just great!

Liz Brown

Kim said...

Wow you have been busy. I have missed your updates and have checked daily to see if "maybe" you were back. But I can certainly see you had much more going on than blogging. You are right that school will be missing out on an amazing little girl and how unfortunate for them to be doing that to the other children in that school as well. Not only is it important for children with special needs to be included for themselves but it's also important for their classmates to have them included. We have been very fortunate in our school system that we haven't had that battle with my son. He does not have DS but he does have NS and struggles academically and also receives special education help through inclusion in a colobrative classroom. It breaks my heart to hear your struggle with the school system and see that they can get away with what they have done. I have never heard of a parent being too involved in their child's education, they should be ashamed of themselves for accusing you of that. Those of us who have children with special needs have to be involved in their education. There is no such thing as too involved, sadly being involved with the school you see all too much that most parents are not involved enough. Kudos to you Renee for making a stand for your child. I'm sorry to hear that things had to end the way they did but I certainly understand why you had to let them. Yes it will be hard on that first day of school for Kennedy to understand and for you to see, but you are doing what is in the best interest of your child. You are not being a too involved parent, you are being a loving and supportive parent who wants to see their child flourish and grow to their absolute potential and who could fault you for that? Good luck to you in this new venture and I can't wait to hear how Kennedy shines with you as her teacher.

Mundanemomma said...

Wow, just wow. My heart goes out to you and your family, and especially to Kennedy. No one should be mistreated that way, and you are so right...they are missing out on that extremely wonderful and special little girl! I'm honored to be able to peek in on your life here and there, and I certainly missed your posts! I am glad you are back. I believe that everything happens for a reason, even if that reason doesn't appear right away. The positive side is that you get to spend more time with your wonderful little girl. There is no such thing as an over-involved parent! That's what parenting is: helping to create the path that we feel is the best one for our children to take. You are doing what you feel is best for your daughter and your family, you made a very tough decision, and my hat is off to you!

Jill said...

I am a teacher and a mom to a child with an IEP. I am absolutely amazed and disgusted with the way your daughter is being treated by the staff at that school. They are being completely unprofessional and NOT following the law.

You are doing what you know is best for your daughter. Hopefully, one day everyone else will see how wonderful Kennedy is and what an asset she is to the classroom. My boys are in a combined special needs/typical peers preschool and they have learned so much from the other children in their class.

I hope you have a wonderful school year and I'm sure Kennedy will absolutely love her new teacher ;)

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say what you're doing for Kennedy is great!!! A parent has to be their child's advocate.

I'm sorry the school treated your family so poorly.

I hope one day you'll get stationed in a state that treats her education as anyone elses education.

Ariel said...

Oh Renee,
I am so sorry. And this has made me SO angry. I am a special ed. teacher and know that drafts have to be provided to you when you ask, etc. It's your legal right. I'm so sorry this was so awful for you. You'll do a great job with Kennedy and she'll continue to thrive. I'll be praying for your new journey!

Watching In Nashville said...

Dear Anonymous from July 22 at 11:35 am - it has been almost two weeks and yet, no specifics of what "untruths have been said." I have a feeling we could be waiting a long time.

Qadoshyah said...

I think it's great for you to do that for Kennedy!

"Over-involved parent" is just crazy. She's your child, the school should appreciate you being so involved. So sad they did that to you all!

I know I'm quite late in seeing this. But when I checked in on the blog and saw you were back, I had to go find the post that said where you had been :).

Mom to 8 said...

Renee
I will be praying for you and for Kennedy & her previous school. I know she will thrive with you as her teacher.

We too have made the decision to homeschool ALL of our children and so far, it is going well and I know that this was the right decision for us. We had to look at our children's best interest, something their school last year was not doing at all. Not at the elementary or middle school level, for any of our children. This is 2010 and this is just plain wrong.

You have my full support, from one over-involved mom to another.
Hugs & blessings, Kim

Alicia said...

after reading your new blog had to come and read what was going with Kennedy.

You are a great person, a great and amazing mom. im sure this new stage will be a blessing for you, for your kids and for everyone who reads your blogs.

Kennedy is blessed of having a very involved mom =)