Okay…I know it’s that time of year again. IEP Season. From now through the end of June, I will be in numerous IEP meetings per week, sometimes a few a day. It’s enough to make a woman cranky.
This isn’t the first year I’ve written about the nauseating experience of hearing the same ridiculous comments and irritating excuses as to why a child isn’t making progress. This is the 15th IEP season I’ve endured as an attorney, so I’m kind of used to it.
But look out New Englanders…this year, there’s a new excuse in town.
Yes. Snow. In Connecticut. Shocking, I know.
When I am brought into a case, the school district usually reacts in one of two ways. First is the denial that there’s a problem, accompanied by a sudden, unexplained educational growth spurt that seems to begin from the day of my letter of representation. I have referred to this in the past as the Sudden Blossoming of the Represented Child.
The second response is the “yes we realize the child hasn’t made any real progress but it’s not our fault” approach. There are any number of reasons given for this one, ranging from questioning medication decisions parents make, to outright blaming it on the parents. (Of course, this opens a district up to my go-to question in the context of such an allegation: “did you offer parent training and counselling as a related service in the child’s IEP?” Almost always, the answer is “no.” But I digress.)
So, now that I’ve attended several dozen Annual Review IEP meetings this Spring, I have learned the latest IEP meeting excuse for failure in Connecticut, and it is this: “well, we had SO MANY snow days this year it was hard for ALL OF THE CHILDREN to adjust. I wouldn’t read too much into it!”
If I’d heard this once this year, I might brush it off. Twice, an eye roll. But when I’ve heard this very same explanation several times a week, in different districts all over the State, it gets increasingly hard not to lose my cool.
I wonder whether the parents of kids who do not have disabilities would be told this if all of the “regular education” students were failing this school year. I am guessing not.
So, there you have it. Be on guard. This is the excuse du jour.
Can’t wait until all of my Fall PPTs, when my clients’ summer school regression is blamed on the heat.