Equal Right to Representation In Education - Washington

I know I mentioned this new Facebook group briefly but I do want to give them applause for their incredible work.  From their Facebook page:
We advocate for the necessity of a public advocacy service to guide families and help them understand regulations of special education and also support families with other issues of justice as they relate to education. 

 This is a group with intention to ask the legislators to make changes to the laws to provide appropriate supports to families, and to brainstorm how to address the inequity of the supposed right to representation. We need to address the inequity and secure Free Appropriate Public Education for all students. 

All parents/guardians have a right to representation. Having the right to representation does not give the parents the resources to do so, so often their financial situation prevents them from executing their right. District staff has been for too long taking advantage of parents not being aware or their parental rights and their student's rights. 

School Districts have been using the tax payers’ money for legal fees to rid themselves of their legally required obligation to identify and serve students with disabilities, as well as serve Twice Exceptional students (Highly Capable Students with disabilities), bullying, students with other challenges.
There is some discussion but it is very much a sharing of resources.  Things like:

- finding shoes that fit over braces
- making FERPA requests
- finding an attorney that specializes in Sped issues
- I put up a story about the problems with using the term, "high-functioning autism." 
- Many parents don’t know that they have a right to record their meetings at their child’s school if they have a disability.

*No proof of disability required.
*You need to inform the school 48 hours ahead of time (in writing, email is fine) that you will be recording the meeting.
*State that you request the recording as your communication accommodation to be able to participate in your child’s education.
*ADHD (even undiagnosed - e.g. inability to focus in high stress situation with multiple attending), anxiety etc. 

If they deny:
* point out that some disability is not visible, because we can’t see in other person’s brain.
* Denying your ADA communication accommodation is like telling a person without legs that they cannot use their wheelchair or ramp because they could crawl up those stairs.

I know - many people don't like Facebook.  But you don't have to use your Facebook page for anything but being in groups.

Big wave of appreciation to all the administrators who run the page (not all from SPS, this is a state-wide group). 


Tired Mom said…
I especially admire the bravery of the immigrants and non-native speakers of English who are a force for good in this group and a couple of other groups I've been involved in lately. I so admire their willingness to try and make things better for everyone even in a new country in an unfamiliar system in a language not originally their own. Thank you!
Anonymous said…
Thank you so much for posting this. I had not heard of this group. Sometimes it is hard for parents of students with disabilities to find each other because of privacy concerns at school.

-Sped parent
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