Saturday, October 19, 2013

Redlands Unified School District - not educating the kid, but for sure educating us!

I fight a lot with school districts to thwart their efforts to ruin the life of some kid or other.  Lots of times they really don't try to do that, but through either stupidity or malice, it happens often enough to keep a lot of people busy on behalf of such kids.  I'm seldom paid, so I can be picky about the cases I fight, and I have to be.  I have a day job.

Districts have different personalities.  Some are conflict-averse, so even when school site people are dumb or mean, the district administration would rather fix it than spend thousands in a due process hearing.  I've done few hearings, and small, but enough for them to know that we can go there if they want.  So we seldom need to. 

Some districts are tough, and certainly are not especially interested in the kid's welfare, but they are at least rational actors.  We're on our way to a due process hearing with one, and they negotiated in the resolution session in all the ways that Chester Karrass teaches about.  They're tough, and of course what's right for the kid is not their concern, but they're not nuts.  I wouldn't be surprised if we end up in a hearing, and in fact, I think we'll need to file for a hearing with the district under Section 504.  But they probably won't want to spend $30K to beat us out of the 4-5K at issue - well, probably not.  Maybe they feel like they have to school us instead of teaching the kid.  You can't ever be sure.

But so far, Redlands Unified School District has proven truly fanatical.

I got dragged into the case because the guy helping the parent came down with heart failure, so I volunteered to do a little motion work.  The district had subpoenaed ALL the kid's medical records from the two doctors from which the mom had provided documentation, and they made it clear that they would do the same for any other provider from which she produced a letter.  Which was their way to let the parent know what to expect in response to any medical documentation she might provide the district.   And their attorney was especially cute - in violation of the law (Civil Code 1985.3), she failed to serve the subpoenas on the mom so that she couldn't know to contest them.  She heard about them from the providers, who were taking care not to violate HIPAA.  So I had to move to quash them, which promptly forced the attorney to withdraw them, but we had to thwart them again the following month.

They had filed for a due process hearing to justify their placement, which was clearly destroying the kid.  The mom had pulled him out of his classroom after they traumatized him last fall.

We filed for a Section 504 hearing in May, which the district had to put on itself.  They tried to wiggle out of it, but they eventually scheduled it.  We ended up going 3 days.  We learned a lot, and the district was found - by the hearing officer they hired - to have discriminated against the kid, although without denying a free appropriate public education (FAPE) by doing so.  They brought on the chair of Andelson Atkinson's special ed group to fight this, besides having to pay the hearing officer.  They spent about as much on just that hearing as they would have just to give the kid what we've asked for.

But there is so much more.  There was all the motion work on the hearing they had filed for earlier, and then when we couldn't get it continued, we completely revoked consent to special education, thus disposing of the guts of their case, and that drove them nuts.

We kicked the kid back in for initial assessment in August, and they noodled around as long as they could, and their cuteness has now put them out of compliance on the timeline.  And their round of assessments was surprisingly sloppy, so that's going to cost them too.

So now we meet on November 15, and they're bringing their attorney, so it looks like they want to square off for more expensive fighting - expensive for them, but not for us.

For us, both the mom and me, it's been education.  We've learned more about hearing procedures, got a lot of free discovery, and are now positioned so that we can file if we want, but they can't, since the regulation - 34 CFR 300.300(b)(3) to be precise - forbids them to use due process to implement their offer of special education services.  I just got such a case dismissed in Riverside; the regulations are extremely clear.  But will they want to spend another $50K or so to educate us?  Or will they finally decide that, being a K-12 district, they ought to work with the parents to educate the kid instead of providing us a free appropriate public education in special education law?

I don't know.  The Redlands people are fanatics.  They're now in trouble again for losing a four year old for hours on a bus, after last spring and summer obviously covering up their knowledge that one of their lady teachers had been doing her students and was pregnant by one of them.  The DA threw them back - he deals in "beyond a reasonable doubt."  But in the family's civil case, we'll see.

In edworld, as Walter Cronkite used to say, "That's the way it is." 


Blogger Ankur said...

Thanks for your great informations, working in, URDUTAHZEEB, ASIAN AFFAIRS.

Try to post best informations like this always

10/23/2013 10:40 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home