Friday, June 12, 2009

SpecEd Bus Horror Story

This week I met a parent from Crystal Lake who related a horror story about bus transportation of his son on a special ed bus.

His 11-year-old son had a problem on his school bus. The bus transportation is provided for about nine students to a private therapeutic day school in Palatine. OK, so you tell me how an 11-year-old is supposed to endure a 90-minute bus ride twice a day! Half his life is on the bus!

Anyway, so as a result of the problem, a Crystal Lake police officer showed up. He took the kid into custody. The parent referred to it as arrest, but it may not have been that, legally. He was taken to the station for a "station adjustment", as the cops like to call it. The parents were prevented from immediate access to their child.

And the cop's comment about their son, who has autism? "I don't care if he is deaf, dumb and blind, I'm going to treat him like everyone else."

Man, talk about sensitive! This cop apparently has no understanding of special education and how to deal with, and relate to, children with special needs. And his assignment is apparently to deal with youth!

Many police officers and deputies have received Crisis Intervention training. All of them should have it, but it's expensive because it requires attendance at a 40-hour course. Frankly, I cannot understand why it takes 40 hours of training. One good 8-hour day ought to be adequate to cover the basics. And then you give more training to a handful of officers or deputies, and you call them as needed.

Parents of special ed students are often kept isolated from one another by school districts. This keeps parents from aligning with one another and creating the sufficient power of a group to effect positive changes in their school districts.

School districts are supposed to offer parent training. Ha! Just try to get that in your child's IEP, even those the Special Ed Department of the Illinois State Board of Education covered it in a Memo several years ago.

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