Tuesday, September 25, 2007

School district, latest

The lawyer told me I need to talk to Joann Reilly of West End SELPA (Special Education Local Plan Area) before anything else. She called me back yesterday afternoon, and I sent her documentation with the following note:

In December 2006, my son Stephen Attwood, then attending Townsend JHS, could no longer endure school and refused to go. CVUSD set him up with homeschooling by CVUSD's Home and Hospital group while he was still living at his mother's place.

Late that month, Stephen went up to her rooftop and threatened to do harm rather than do schoolwork, so his mother and the home-school teacher agreed that it was a bad day to try schoolwork. Stephen began treatment with psychologist Curtis Rouanzoin.

He then moved to my place in February and had another episode where he inflicted a couple of small cuts on his arm - no scar remains. Indeed I did not realize at the time that he had actually cut himself.

He still wasn't doing his homework, and the teacher, Luis Garcia, began talking about how Stephen needed to be put on drugs so he would feel better and do his schoolwork. We rejected this demand, and CVUSD called DCS. The DCS CSW, Holly Ninneman, came to the house and I had her interview Stephen while I was out of the room getting her the contact information for Rouanzoin. She closed the case, advising us that we had no legal obligation to have Stephen drugged as CVUSD was demanding.

Luis Garcia in our next meeting appeared dismayed at the news that DCS had not supported CVUSD and said that the previous teacher had made the report. He asked if I would like a psychological evaluation from the District. I said that would be fine, because Stephen probably needed an IEP.

Eventually, on 27 March CVUSD sent the school nurse from Don Lugo HS, Linda Casas, accompanied by school psychologist Modell MacEntire, to evaluate him. MacEntire sat at my table and drank my coffee while Casas interviewed Stephen. It turned out not to be an educational evaluation but a 5150 evaluation.

Stephen was not suicidal at the time, and CVUSD's lawyer has affirmed that this certification was based on the December incident, over three months before. Thus it was plainly unjustified according to the statute, which refers to "imminent" threats to injure self or others, intended to punish us and force Stephen onto the drug regimen CVUSD demanded.

My problem is this:

CVUSD sent the paperwork for me to sign asking for an evaluation for special services, but in our meeting with Superintendent Edmond Heatley, he flatly refused to give us the assurance that they would not again do something like this to Stephen if it seems good to them. Stephen has been severely traumatized by this abuse, and cannot consider being evaluated by people who claim the discretion to hurt him again in exactly the same way. CVUSD is effectively denying us services by setting an impossible condition for asking for them, much as a job offer on the condition that the boss can have sex with you if he likes is not a real job offer.

Moreover, CVUSD's outside lawyer has instructed me that all communications with them be directed to his firm, so it is no longer even possible to talk directly with CVUSD about any of these things.

We do have to move rather quickly on this one way or another. The deadline for my suing CVUSD for damages is 1 December, and as things stand I must do so, since in refusing to answer me they are evidently trying to run out the clock - at which point they may well attempt to injure my son further, as indeed their lawyer threatened.

Appended is their lawyer's letter and my response of the 11th; I can fax you the original. It is now the 24th, and CVUSD has not responded. I have also attached Stephen's sworn statement about the incident, from which you may well understand how CVUSD's action has traumatized him, and why he shows clear signs of PTSD. For instance, while at breakfast with friends at Bravo Burgers in Chino Hills three days ago, he became physically sick when he saw a couple of CVUSD security guys and their car, even though they paid him no attention.

We need to get Stephen evaluated in such fashion that CVUSD has no power to do Stephen further harm, and in a way that he has that assurance. Indeed, how can any valid evaluation be done without accounting for that? Could any valid findings on your academic or emotional condition be obtained for you if the evaluation were done by someone that had raped you, and on the condition that he might do so again if he thinks it best?

She promised to talk promptly with CVUSD and get back to me. She is supposed to call me back tomorrow.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter, I don't have your email!


Looking forward to seeing you at small group this Tuesday at 7PM!



10/01/2007 5:27 PM  
Blogger Peter Attwood said...

Email is attwoods@earthlink.net for anyone who is interested. Small group was good and would have been even better if I had been on time.

10/02/2007 11:29 PM  

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