Sometimes it’s difficult to know what to to be happy about as an attorney who represents children with disabilities.
As you can imagine, the facts that support a “really great special education case” are, by definition, at best unpleasant, and at worst horrific.
It’s an odd feeling, reviewing a child’s special education records. When I find procedural violations (sadly, this occurs more often than not), I get a little excited. Why? Because I know that these violations of IDEA have probably led to the very deprivation of appropriate special education programming which has brought the parents to my office. It gives me the ability to verify my client’s claims. More importantly, I know that clear violations of the IDEA will give me the leverage I need to convince the school district’s attorney that my client requires more, better, or different services.
But that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.
So, this all gets to the point of this piece, which is, quite simply this:
DO NOT throw out any paperwork that documents your communications with your school district.
You’d be very surprised at what you have that is remotely related to your child’s education, special education, or the possibility of special education, which might prove useful one day.
I recognize this is antithetical to the current trends of accumulating and keeping fewer things. I get it. I watch Hoarders too. But I’m not here to arbiter whether you should hold on to your uncle’s crappy golf clubs, or your mother’s coats. I’m talking about documentation of the communications between you and your child’s school district.
I have actually had cases which have been won on the evidence provided by just one piece of paper, saved by a parent, many years later.
So, if you’re trying to free up space in the garage, perhaps it’s time to part with the cocktail dress you swear you’ll fit into again one day…but please don’t toss the letter you wrote Sally’s teacher in 2nd grade asking if maybe she should be tested.