Monday, July 23, 2012

Board of Ed. obtains Sibling's class work to use Against Child in Hearing

"Somebody in the school system, [at _______ elementary school] or somebody else, took her daughter's journal, went through it, copied a page, provided it to the school system's lawyer to use -- potentially use against her in this case." (Page 7 of transcript section shown below.)
This is the fifth in our series of due process hearing transcripts illustrating how the Montgomery County Board of Education uses extraneous arguments and documents to grill parents for days on end. How does any of this relate to the question of the educational needs of the child?


The transcript below is from a hearing involving the special education needs of a child. In order to protect the privacy of the parties, we will use the following:
Child = the child that is the subject of this hearing
Maisy = the sibling of Child
Mother = the mother of Child and Maisy
The attorneys in this matter are:
Mr. Eig = Child's attorney
Mr. KrewMontgomery County Board of Education attorney

In this transcript, Mr. Eig questions Mother as to whether or not she knew that the Board of Education had obtained Maisy's school journal.  Maisy's journal was item number 90 on the Board of Education's list of potential exhibits. The Board of Education's attorney responds that the journal was to be introduced in to evidence if "there was some reason to do so". (Page 5 of transcript below.)  "Some Reason?"  The only reason would be to bully or harass the parents, of course.  Is bullying and harassing parents the goal of a hearing on a child's special education needs?


Maisy's journal had to travel out of her classroom, to the Principal, to the Community Superintendent, to the Superintendent, and then to the Board of Education in order to become a part of Child's hearing.  It took a lot of MCPS administrators and the Board of Education to first find this journal, read it, and then decide to produce it as a piece of evidence that could be used against her sibling, Child.


The journey of Maisy's journal shows an institutional acceptance of opposing children that need special education services, even to the extent of taking a siblings class work without the permission of the parents.


Superintendent Starr says, "What you permit is what you promote."


Superintendent Starr, this happened on your watch.


Note that after the Child's attorney exposes that the Board of Education took a sibling's class work and brought it to the hearing, the Board of Education's attorney attempts to object to the introduction of this document.  The Board of Education brought this document to the hearing, but then doesn't want any discussion of how it came to be on the evidence list.

Transcript 5

14 comments:

  1. The pattern persists. MCPS talks about how empathetic they are towards families of disabled children and how we should all agree to disagree. Yet, when the process continues, a scotched earth style erupts. The meanness appears. Unethical, unprofessional, and to be honest, any argument to rule out special services occurs. The transcripts of a due process hearing, rarely seen by the public, in this case documents such activities. The latest allegation of MCPS using a sibling’s journal is an intrusion of the family’s confidential communication with MCPS. What an intrusion on their privacy! Who wouldn’t be upset. MCPS needs to review these issues!! Corrections are necessary, and this child needs to be assisted without any hidden agenda to close the door on certain services.

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  2. It is quite depressing that few people in our community are aware of the deceptive practices used by MCPS. Hats off to those families that take a stand. I wish more people would speak up.

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  3. This blog posting was sent to every member of the Montgomery County Council and every member of the Montgomery County Delegation to Annapolis.

    Guaranteed, not a one will say a word. No press releases, no letters, no press conferences. No standing up for children, not in Montgomery County.

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  4. it almost seems that they got the journal entry to upset the mom with the school, in order to prove that she's upset with the school, and for no other actual purpose! at least from this small excerpt.

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  5. The Journal entry was not intentionally used to upset the Mom. It was talking about the family's recent relocation and tried to blame the BOE used the entry to blame the parents for items in the house alleged and falsely not completed. It had nothing to do with the academic issues of the child. Again, there is no reason for the BOE to intrude upon the privacy of this family by using the siblings journal without parental permission.

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  6. Janis paraphrased the issue with this family quite well by using Starr's quote: "What you permit: you promote." It is wise for an administrator to evaluate the problems of the consumer as well as the positives to truly get a fresh look at a system. That would be a true test of openness. However, there was clearly a strategy in this case to use outside information to intrude on the family's privacy as well as to retaliate against a family that dared to question the credibility of the system and it's willingness to provide an appropriate and safe education. The system is required to look at each child uniquely based on the particular disability. In recent court decisions, the burden to do so has been shifted onto the families to prove their case and that has encouraged the system to resist more than a cookie cutter approach with some supplemental special ed services. The system remains challenged to deal with children who have multiple disabilities.

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  7. Anonymous said: "It was talking about the family's recent relocation and tried to blame the BOE used the entry to blame the parents for items in the house alleged and falsely not completed."

    What in the world does this mean? Whoever wrote this saw the journal page. Please explain.

    I am APPALLED and disgusted at Mr. Kirk's shenanigans. He's going to OBJECT to it being entered? Seriously, is the man not bound by any ethical standards?

    If it weren't for PC looking into these things no one would ever know the torture us parents have gone through to get services for our children. Because, you know, if the WaPo's DeVise wrote about it MCPS would delete anything negative...

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    1. The journal was a school assignment and had nothing to do with the sibling's academic needs. The attempt to use the journal was an outrageous intrusion on privacy. Pitting one sibling against another is inexcusable! Indeed, the general population has little idea how MCPS "tortures" certain families advocating for their special needs children. The discussion of partnerships goes downhill when the parents' disagree with MCPS. This case shows how the process can become intensely adversarial and even, may I say, sleazy.

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  8. Do we know who provided these clips? Was it Mr Eig? For anyone interested, there are records of other cases between Mr Eig and Mr Krew available online. (These two gentlemen seem to spend a lot of time together...) Some of the hearing decisions are available online, e.g. http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/divisions/earlyinterv/complaint_investigation/hearing_decisions/2012/FY12_1stQtr_DP.htm has two for Montgomery County, both with Mr Eig and Mr Krew and very long list of exhibits. I am sympathetic for parents in both cases but as a taxpayer I also want to avoid paying private school tuition except in cases that meet the law for it. Many children would be better served at some of the excellent private schools in the area but, as I understand it, the question is if the public school is adequate and not what "best" serves the individual student.

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    1. Are you asking who provided the transcripts? Neither Mr. Eig nor Mr. Krew.

      Sympathetic? Really? Then why the immediate assumption of what parents want? Parents want their child placed in the appropriate classroom that will serve their needs. That classroom is often in MCPS! But, the Board of Education still says NO.

      We have already posted the case of little M.T.V. to this blog. That child just needed speech services in their public school!! But, your Board of Education spent upwards of $100,000 fighting that family! That's YOUR tax dollars at work there. Being wasted on litigation that is nothing more than bullying. That child EVENTUALLY got the services needed, but it cost YOU a whole lot of cash that was wasted fighting the family.

      And, let's not forget the family that WON their litigation against MCPS and was awarded the payment of attorney's fees. What did the Board of Education do? They didn't pay the fees per the Court Order! The family had to go right back to court and YOU had to pay to fight them once again. YOU lost both times. The Board had to comply with the Court Order and pay the fees.

      And, this week we learn that the Board of Education has finally conceded that the decision to close the Secondary Learning Centers was WRONG. Parents, doctors, and educational consultants knew that was a bad decision, but the Board of Education closed the centers anyway. Now, they are re-opening them under a new name. That was about 6 years of families that had to fight MCPS for appropriate services that the Board of Education had eliminated! YOU paid for that huge mistake.

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  9. MCPS cannot excuse this major intrusion into the personal lives of these family members to deny services for a multiple disabled child. I can't understand why there isn't more outrage. This posting is one of five. When you put the five together, a pattern develops that is dangerous and causes harm to our most vulnerable children in our community. MCPS can't claim they are trying to develop better relationships with parents of special needs children and then use such attack tactics when there is disagreement.

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  10. The truth remains that MCPS and most public schools have made a huge mistake in adhearing to the "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND" theory. The truth is that if they maintained proper special ed teachers in proper special ed classrooms of proper size, then most of these parents would not need private schools. By contending that mainstreaming special needs children is best, they have done a huge disservice to all school children.
    I don't even want to go into the amount on money wasted on this money hungry attorney ( and I apologize to the many good attornies out there ). This should be enough to anger all the citizens of this county and to drive them to act to stop this practice of denegrating families for trying to provide there child with the best education possible. My hat goes off to the grace in which this mother handled the idiotic attacks on her and her family. I know if it had been me I would have lost it.

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  11. In reading the previous transcripts on this case it seems to me that without a doubt if the "judge" ruled against this child he should be brought up on charges. Why he did not admonish Mr. Krew for his stupid questions is beyond me. Obvious this case was a travisty, but from what I have heard about the BOE, I am not surprised.

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  12. The parents in this case were initially sent to a nearby elementary school to observe a LAD class. The parents liked the program but the BOE suddenly closed the program and only offered an inclusion program. They refused to offer anything but general education with special ed. pullout. The child was enrolled and became sick, an example of trying to put unique children into general programs. Indeed, the decision to close the LAD program was a mistake and this child is paying the price of such a policy. And now, the BOE refuses to admit to its errors and continues to punish the parents for asking what is needed for the child. The ALJ apparently did not see through the deception and misguided policy.

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