Are schools required to provide SPED services...

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by Backroads, Mar 13, 2020.

  1. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    ... even when a parent refuses an IEP and any said services?
     
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Did the parent sign consent forms for special education testing? In my state, if the parent doesn’t give initial consent for testing, the child cannot receive any services. After a child is tested, qualifies, and is placed in special education, all services are a committee decision, which technically means the parent could be overruled. I know very few administrators who would go against the parent though.
     
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  4. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Groupie

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    I don't think so. Maybe legally, but I have never seen it happen. Once a parent refuses services, it has always been the end of it in my experience.
     
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  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    The school if not required to provide specific services, accommodations, or modifications for students without an IEP, but a lot of things are still done anyway. Things like reducing number of questions, paraphrasing, extended time are often dome for kids, even without an IEP. It’s just part of teaching. Providing speech classes, pull-out work with the SED teacher, accommodations for state testing, etc. Nope, not allowed.
     
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  6. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Legally parents have a right to refuse services. If the parent refuses, then not only is the school not required to provide services, they are legally not allowed to. That doesn't mean that teachers can't still choose to provide accommodations or that the child can't participate in gen ed interventions.
     
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  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Absolutely not. I came up against this several years ago. The parents allowed the testing to be done, but wouldn't sign off on the IEP when that part of the meeting came around. Later, when the child couldn't keep up, and the parents wanted to blame the teachers, admin got involved, and explained that legally, without the IEP in place, the school's hands were tied, legally. If services were rendered without the administration of a legal IEP, the school could be setting themselves up for a malpractice suit, since their child would be getting services without being monitored in school by varied professionals, since what services that the child would receive needed to be monitored by the IEP team, to ascertain whether interventions were working, or needed modifications. I heard later that the family had moved about a district over, and the child was evaluated once again, but this time the family signed everything without question. I guess the first district had the "pleasure" of educating the parents, at the cost of one less SPED students. I was pleasantly surprised by admin's refusal to give services without the required signatures. The student did end up getting what was needed, and I am sure that the parents ended up being very grateful for every provision written into the IEP. Based on this and having dealt with the CST as long as my son was in school, I found it reassuring that IEP's are more than just whatever words are floating around in someone's head. An IEP is what gives the district the right to modify the curriculum for specific learning disabilities. Someone asked me once why I would work with SPED students, and honestly, it is all about my respect for the CST and the IEP they write.
     
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  8. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    If a child has never been identified, and a teacher provides services as a part of ongoing differentiation, that is okay. However, if a child is identified and the parent refuses the IEP, the school is not supposed to provide any accommodations, because to do so is to take on the liability of providing services and accommodations without the appropriate specialist overseeing those accommodations. If a parent refuses the IEP, then teachers are not supposed to provide those accommodations that are typically spelled out in IEPs, such as read alouds, separate setting, reduced questions, reduced answer choices, extended time, etc. because this is providing unsupervised services. It is also defying the parent's refusal -- which they have a legal right to do (even though most of us think it is terrible.) Providing unsupervised, undocumented, and unaccounted for accommodations is a huge liability for any school district, and can lead to law suits.

    I'll give you an example. We had a child who desperately needed speech therapy. Year after year, we identified him, and the parents said "no, there isn't really a problem..he is fine." Finally, by fifth grade, the poor child couldn't be understood and his teachers started letting him skip oral presentations, because it was humiliating to make him get up in front of the class -- he was a complete mush-mouth. However, his wealthy family still insisted nothing was wrong and that he'd "grow out of it."

    The mother got mad at the teacher later over another issue (as you can imagine, this mother was a piece of work) and you know what she did? She sued the school district for not providing an adequate education to her son because he wasn't required, or in her words, "given the opportunity to" to learn presentation skills by giving oral presentations like the other students. She stated that the teacher had denied him an equal education to his peers. Of course the teacher thought she was doing the right thing by refusing to humiliate the child in front of his peers. The child didn't want to give the presentations because he knew he couldn't be understood. The teacher thought she was doing the right thing, but the district was sued, and the parent would won the suit, but settled for the termination of the teacher and a written apology from the school district. The teacher was terminated because she wasn't a licensed speech therapist, and the decision to modify a course of study based on speech had to be recommended and supervised by a licensed speech therapist.

    In another situation, a child with a developmental delay was given extended time on classwork and tests, even after her parents refused an IEP. The teacher continued to provide extended time in class, calling it "differentiation." (Technically, it is not -- it is an accommodation, but I get why the teacher did it.) When it came time for standardized assessments (which were used at this age to determine if a child could advance to the next grade level) the district policy said only children with IEPs that listed extended time as an accommodation could have extended time. The child's parents were up-in-arms because now their child wasn't allowed to have extended time, and she had been given it all year in the classroom, so of course, she wasn't able to finish the test causing her to fail, and she was marked for retention. The parents went to the superintendent and the school board, and the superintendent said that the teacher never should have provided an accommodation to an unqualified student, and she was given a letter of reprimand. The teacher was so devastated by this, that she resigned at the end of the year, and left teaching for good. As well all know, when push comes to shove, admin will shove a teacher under the bus to protect themselves.

    If the parent says no, the accommodations legally are supposed to stop completely.

    And, of course, the person who really suffers is the child.
     
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  9. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    It is also what gives the district the right to accommodate the classroom instruction.

    Teachers mean well when they provide "extra help" for students whose parents have refused IEPs, and their hearts are in the right place -- but they are opening the district up to huge liability issues when they do so.
     
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  10. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    The answer is no, but....

    I believe the waters of "special education services" has been so muddied by requiring non-special education teachers provide "services" rather than just accommodations, that it is hard to tell the difference. Also, teaching methods have changed so much towards the lowest common denominator that it is, in some cases, to tell the difference between a "special education classroom" and a general education classroom when the general education classroom provides all students with fill-in-the-blank note taking sheets rather than having students take notes, reading novels to the class (beyond reading an excerpt aloud to discuss the important points of the discussion) instead of having them read for homework, and watering down assignments to show understanding of novels such as having high school students draw pictures rather than write about a topic.

    So, unless you are talking about services such a speech, OT, etc, many of my district's general education classrooms function like defacto special education classrooms already.
     
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  11. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Thanks, all.

    This was for a Facebook argument....I'm ashamed.
     
  12. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Rainstorm, in my state, accommodations can legally be given to any child, even for state testing, even if they don't have a special plan. I'm talking about things like extended time and test read aloud (for subjects other than reading, like state math tests). All the teacher has to do is document that the child regularly uses the accommodation and then they can put them on the list to get it for state testing as well. Other things you listed such as eliminating answer choices or having a child not participate in a required presentation would be considered modifications, and those aren't allowed in my state even for those that do have IEPs, unless the child is in the very small percentage of those who have a cognitive disability. In my mild/moderate program, I'm not allowed to put modifications on IEPs.

    We also provide A LOT of pull out interventions for gen ed students. In fact, for most of my career, due to the funding that title 1 got gen ed interventions were far better than sped interventions. There were less kids per teacher, more resources, and more homogeneous groups. I'm in year 10 and we've just reached a point where getting an IEP doesn't mean worse interventions due to the fact that ESSA allows other people to meet sped minutes, and in my district I finally got my director to loosen up a bit on LRE. We do a lot of intervention blocks and I convinced her that could be counted as "time in gen ed" if everyone in the grade level is doing an intervention class/has moved around to different rooms at that time and there is no separate gen ed instruction the child is missing.

    If the parent has refused an IEP and we want to put them in an additional intervention group beyond the intervention block, we have to get parent permission. IME 98% say yes to this. It's not the intervention they have a problem with, it's the "label." They don't want their child to "be special ed" even though the only difference is the paperwork/documentation. We've also had parents agree to get outside speech/OT, which is often free if you have medicaid. I've only had 1 parent in my entire career who said no to intervention of any kind, and she came around pretty quickly when she saw how horribly the child was doing.
     
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  13. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    No - a parent has permission to withdraw their child from the SPED program at any time. I've had a parent do it because he didn't want his child labeled or singled out, so he refused all services and declined/canceled the IEP that had been created previously.
     
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  14. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    With our school closed, our SPED staff is going to make home visits for the next few weeks.
     
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  15. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Do you think that once parents start working with these kids at home they will realize that they DO need special ed services??? How can they still be in denial when it's staring them in the face while homeschooling them?????
     
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  16. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I can't believe this. I would be LIVID. We're supposed to be social distancing and they're making people go into unknown homes with who knows how many people, someone who may be sick or may be a carrier and not showing symptoms? Absolutely not. And they've decided only sped teachers have to do this while other teachers are protected? I'd be getting my union involved.
     
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  17. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I don't think so. They already get homework and grades. IME parents who are in denial tend to say the work/expectations are simply too hard for the age/grade level rather than acknowledging that it's too hard for their child only.
     
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  18. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    This is so true!
     
  19. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    And yet (and someone more informed please jump in) this may be the most reasonable way in this situation to meet the requirements of the IEP.
     
  20. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I totally understand. When they announced this, I looked the SPED staff and there was no expression on their faces.
    I was actually concerned when they said we need to make phone calls - I have always protected my personal life and information from students, I don't want them to have my number. Even though our student population is way better than 3 years ago, still. But a few other teacher I talked said they weren't worried, in fact a lot of their students already have their number.
    No, thank you. I like to leave work at work, even now, my work ends at 2:45, I have to draw the line.
     
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  21. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    We're in a pandemic. Safety needs to come first. No one's life is less important than "being the best way to meet IEP minutes." Over my dead body would this be happening- after contacting the union, I'd contact every news station in the area.

    It also isn't even the best way to meet parameters of any IEP, IMO. There aren't enough hours in the day for me to go see each student individually and meet their IEP minutes, especially calculating in travel time between houses. I have about 25 students with 3-5 hours per week of academic service time on their IEP. Groups of students could meet online virtually and have their minutes actually met.
     
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  22. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Exactly. We were told to suspend any IEP work anyway even though I still work with my students on my closed campus. That's just ridiculous to expect all that "visiting" into the unknown. How do you know if the people in that house are sick? Or sanitize anything?
     
  23. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    I have read in other groups that there's a way to use Google phone something that will give you a special phone number and block your existing phone number. If you are forced to make calls I would check that out. Or find a way to block your number manually. Does *67 still work?
     
  24. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I am very weird when it comes to communication. Home visits seem an accepted norm in many areas.

    But phone calls? If I'm at the school during school hours using school phone service, yup, I'll make calls.

    But after hours with my phone is such a violation to me. Can't quite describe it. I mean, I do use my phone for school GroupMe and stuff, but families don't have my number. That just strikes me as weird.

    And others don't seem to care. Heck, the other day I was in an IEP meeting... At school, during standard hours, in a building with working phones... And the meeting is conducted over the SPED teacher's personal cell phone.

    I don't get how some just don't mind.
     
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  25. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I've heard Google Voice and similar oft recommended.

    But still, it's expecting you to use your personal phone for school.
     
  26. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I don't disagree.

    But I've seen elsewhere a lot of very upset SPED parents going through legal information to make sure IEPs are met.

    It's a weird, weird time.
     
  27. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    We are not providing IEP services. They are suspended by the state (at least where I am). If the parents are under the impression that IEP services are supposed to be provided I would talk to someone at the school and ask. The parents need the correct information so they stop complaining. If no kids are receiving IEP services then they can't demand that you provide them for their child.
     
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  28. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    We are still technically in school, which includes reasonable access to everything...
     
  29. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Yes, like I said in my post, I got a Google Voice phone number. It's a local number. I've been calling and texting my students and they called me back and texted. When my phone rings it shows that it's that number. So far it's working great.
    The only problem is that I can't save contacts. There is a feature, I type in the number and the name but then it's not saved. Maybe from online?
     
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  30. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    As in you are face to face with your students? Or are you "in school" remotely?
     
  31. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Remotely. But, the SPED teachers have been telling me it's been a weird, weird balance. My niece is in SPED preschool, and they're apparently still managing to get certain things done.
     
  32. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I agree with you. I don't use my phone after hours though. Yesterday a student called (3:15 pm) another texted (6:30 pm) and I didn't answer. I called them back today. I actually forgot to turn off the feature, I mean it didn't bother me, but I'll do that from now on.
     
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  33. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Well, I guess it depends on the school/state. I am doing zero IEP paperwork. Goals are being worked on unofficially. No paperwork is needed.
     
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  34. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    We were told IEP deadlines are federally mandated and that they are still being enforced. We've been holding IEP meetings remotely. That's fine for awhile, but we will very quickly run into situations where kids were in the middle of being evaluated for tris/initials, the meeting due date comes up, and we weren't finished with testing before school closed. I've asked and received no guidance for what to do as of yet.

    Originally, we weren't doing any online learning because we were only supposed to be closed an extra week beyond spring break. Now it's until mid-April and online learning is to start after our SB. We were told once gen ed starts providing instruction that way then we would be legally required to provide services that way as well. When gen ed wasn't providing anything, we didn't have to provide anything either. Of course no guidance as of yet as to what that needs to look like.
     
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  35. Sadnezz

    Sadnezz Guest

    Mar 28, 2020

    @waterfall, from what I know is that if you are in the middle of evaluating a student for tris/initial, you might want to do a part 1 first (to be in compliance with the law) and then do part 2 later after you are done with the assessment. In the note, you can state the reason why you can't complete the assessment.
     

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