Monthly Archives: May 2014

Yikes! Appropriations Bill SB#175 has preferential choice transportation funding for Conrad and Cab and doesn’t address Choice transportation for Wilmington’s poor #netde #edude

Pending Vote !!!!!!!!!

DELAWARE STATE SENATE 147th GENERAL ASSEMBLY

SENATE BILL NO. 175

JANUARY 30, 2014

AN ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE EXPENSE OF THE STATE GOVERNMENT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 2015; SPECIFYING CERTAIN PROCEDURES, CONDITIONS AND LIMITATIONS FOR THE EXPENDITURE OF SUCH FUNDS; AND AMENDING CERTAIN PERTINENT STATUTORY PROVISIONS

Page 216 lines 11,12,1314 & 15

Section 323. Notwithstanding the provisions of any state law to the contrary, the Red Clay Consolidated School District is authorized to utilize state transportation dollars to fund students traveling from routes to and from the Cab Calloway School of the Arts and Conrad Schools of Science and the Indian River School District is authorized to utilize state transportation dollars to fund students traveling from routes to and from the Southern Delaware School of the Arts.

Well this sucks !!! Conrad and Cab are all Choice schools! No feeder-patterns! So they will get state transportation dollars while the force Wilmington busing out-bound continues AND poor families without adequate transportation are still force to send their kids to feeder-schools and can’t effectively participate in school Choice. Where is the fair and equitable education in this gem of the law? Where? Wake up Wilmington!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

I can’t wait to see which legislators votes for SB#175 with this piece of shit in it!

Mike O calls it, micro-charter schools re: SB234 #netDE #edude @Destateboarded

Stop micro-charters now (SB 234) by the seventh type aka

Do we really want storefront charters fragmenting public education even further? We expect schools of all kinds to operate with a scale that permits organization and a reasonable economy of scale. Micro-charters will inevitably become personality-driven fiefdoms with no internal mechanics of governance (remember Pencader?). What’s next, kitchen-table charters?

Go here to see entire blog post and to comment…………………..

Not a good year for charter schools in Delaware! Yep another one! H.B.# 357

147th General Assembly
House Bill # 357

Primary Sponsor:

Kowalko

CoSponsors:

Reps. Bolden, J. Johnson, Keeley

Introduced on :

05/29/2014

Long Title:

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO CHARTER SCHOOLS.

Synopsis of Orginal Bill:

(without Amendments)

This bill requires that all charter school applications are first submitted to the local school board. If the school board denies the application, the applicant may then request that the Department of Education consider its application.

Current Status:

House Education Committee   On   05/29/2014

Full text of Legislation: 

(in HTML format)

Legis.html

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Looking back at the 2014 school year, I think it’s safe to say the Charter Schools Network of Delaware has been a hindrance in starting new charter schools. Three charter schools set to open fall 2014 couldn’t even mustard 30% of approved enrollment. This might be good for those outright opposing charter schools but no good for that Choice options parents demand. Actually the inability of these three charter schools not being able to fills seat may have an underlying message. Perhaps the demand is artificial. The Charter Schools Network of Delaware’s cheap shot a Reach Academy demonstrates weak organizational structure. Charter schools aren’t motels and parents aren’t guest! Parents are “owners” of their public schools. The are not to be businesses like motels! They are public service organizations!

No matter how we cut it, there are impacts on local school district and duplication of programs via charter schools is counter productive and harmful to Delaware’s “public school” system.

Publius, when are we going to hear some recordings of charter school board meetings like the amazing one from Christina School District? Dude, the charter queen needs to be dethroned!     

Hiney (Rep. Scott) and Hole (Sen. Sokola) stealth legislation to allow charter schools with less than 200 students

47th General Assembly
Senate Bill # 234

Primary Sponsor:

Sokola

Additional Sponsor(s):    Rep. Scott

CoSponsors:

{ NONE…}

Introduced on :

05/30/2014

Long Title:

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO CHARTER SCHOOLS.

Synopsis of Orginal Bill:

(without Amendments)

This bill aligns language within Title 14, Chapter 5 with changes to education and charter policy made throughout the chapter as well as elsewhere in the title. These changes remedy inconsistencies in language between different sections of Delaware Code as a result of recent changes to licensure, certification, accounting system, as well as aligning all sections of Chapter 5 with specific dates and deadlines established through multiple bills in the past year. This bill organizes required reporting for charter schools within the chapter subsection referencing reports and also addresses the sunset of single gender charter school language from June 2013.

Current Status:

Senate Education Committee   On   05/30/2014

Full text of Legislation: 

(in HTML format)

Legis.html

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Section 1.  Amend Chapter 5, Title 14 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows:

§ 503 Legal status.

A charter school is a public school including 2 or more of grade kindergarten through 12 and having at least 200 students (provided, however, that a charter school may enroll fewer than 200 but no less than 100 students in its first 2 years of operation or for a charter school serving at-risk or special education students), 

Folks, though it appears Sokola and Scott might be cleaning up some verbiage however, the crossing out of the requirement under legal status requiring a charter school to be at least 200 students might be making way for approval of those charter schools that didn’t meet their enrollment requirements to open in fall of 2014. This is the kind of shit Sokola does towards end of legislative session! They sugarcoat this legislation in House Ed Committee and Senate Ed Committee and jam it through in the wee-hours of last days of session. Go view the legislation yourself and you’ll see the above.   

Also, it looks like verbiage in the single-gender clause is being deleted. Might be something to do with Reach’s lawsuit and DE DOE’s desire to close them. Not sure but check it out!

Rep Hudson and Sen Lavelle laying ground work for school vouchers re: H.B.#253 #Edude #netDE

 

147th General Assembly
House Bill # 353

Primary Sponsor:

Hudson

Additional Sponsor(s):    Sen. Lavelle

CoSponsors:

Rep. D. Short; Sen. Simpson

Introduced on :

05/29/2014

Long Title:

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE ESTABLISHING THE PARENT EMPOWERMENT EDUCATION SAVINGS ACCOUNT ACT.

Synopsis of Orginal Bill:

(without Amendments)

This bill creates the Parent Education Savings Account Act which would allow parents to use funds otherwise allocated to their resident school district for an education program of the parent’s choosing. The goal of this legislation is to increase educational opportunities for students.

Current Status:

House Education Committee   On   05/29/2014

Delaware House Bill # 350 is missing something big time!!!!!!!!

147th General Assembly
House Bill # 350

Primary Sponsor:

Viola

Additional Sponsor(s):    Rep. D.E. Williams & Sen. McDowell

CoSponsors:

Reps. Brady, Jaques, Q. Johnson, Mitchell, Mulrooney, Paradee

Introduced on :

05/29/2014

Long Title:

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE.

Synopsis of Orginal Bill:

(without Amendments)

This bill requires that new students at the University of Delaware shall consist of at least 80% in-state students until the entire student population reaches 65% in-state students. The University shall then maintain 65% in-state students.

 

Current Status:

House Education Committee   On   05/29/2014

Full text of Legislation: 

(in HTML format)

Legis.html

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Full text of Legislation:

(in MS Word format)

Legis.Docx   (Microsoft Word is required to view this document.)

Fiscal Notes/Fee Impact:

Not Required

Actions History:

May 29, 2014 – Introduced and Assigned to Education Committee in House

This legislation needs to be amended by inserting “on campus enrollment”. The University of Delaware has their Parallrel Associates Program with Delaware Technical Community College whereas those students attend classes a DTCC and are “not” considered University of Delaware on campus students. This is a little shell game the U of D has been playing whereas only Delaware students are part of the parallel program and you can bet your ass the U of D factors in those numbers in their overall in-state and out-of-state student data. This makes room for more $$$ out-of-state students. U of D wants to own a power plant but seems not to have space for housing their own associates program.  

Education Reformers Proven Wrong Again

kavips

And another study piles on… again proving that Jack Markell, Arne Duncun, Mark Murphy, Rodel, Chief’s for Change, are all wrong for education…  We have seen a glut of such studies this year… compared to zero studies that support any of the premises being made by these so called reformers… Don’t take my word for it simply because I say so, but to me it is safe to say they are all on the wrong track…

This study focuses on what happens or happened, in impoverished school districts where a Federal Court said:  “rectify this, it isn’t equal education….”

In all those cases more money was spent in schools and results got better….

You see, the enemy to education is poverty.  If you attack poverty, you improve education… If you do nothing  but test what students don’t know, you get nothing but a lot of documentations stating that students don’t know…

View original post 362 more words

Delaware’s proposed Marijuana law has some serious flaws @huffingtonpost @washingtonpost

Marijuana decriminalization proposed in Dover Jonathan Starkey, The News Journal

Delawareans could legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana for “personal use” under proposed legislation backed by Democratic lawmakers in both chambers of the General Assembly.

The legislation would set the legal age for marijuana possession at 21 and would only impose a $100 civil fine on anyone found consuming marijuana in a public place, including streets, parks and sidewalks.

Marijuana possession is currently prosecuted as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,150.

Rep. Helene Keeley, a Wilmington Democrat, is sponsoring the legislation. It has 14 other Democratic co-sponsors. No Republicans were listed as sponsors as of Wednesday. Keeley, who was unavailable for comment on Thursday morning, is circulating the bill for additional support in Dover with just more than a month left in the current legislative session.

I don’t oppose this legislation’s intent! However, it has many flaws!

Possession in one thing and delivery is another. We can’t move forward with this legislation until we sort-out the Marijuana supply issue. Are we to allow drug-lords to control the supplied and have turf wars? Will legal Marijuana be controlled and distributed by the state? What about grown Marijuana? Can a citizen grow his own?

Passage of this legislation as it is is very dangerous!  Yep another task-force! Need to know where the supply comes from, how taxation is going to work, homegrown yes or no and other questions. What about employers who test for Marijuana use where employee get’s fire for trace amounts while not under the influence aka zero tolerance.

Right now it appears this legislation is nothing more than an election year stunt!  Do it right Dover and cover all the bases!

Delaware School Resource Officers’ safety put at risk with untrained school security

Recorded Scuffle Between Teenage Girl and Officer Prompts Review By Vince Lattanzio   Wednesday, May 28, 2014 /NBC10.com

In the video (which has profanity), the student can be seen pushing the uniformed school resource officer in the chest inside Glasgow High School as staff try to break up a scuffle between students.

The officer, a Delaware state detective assigned to the 1,063-student school in Newark, Delaware, then grabs the teen by the neck, swings her around and throws her to the ground. The girl’s head and neck narrowly miss hitting a flight of stairs.

Moments later, the girl appears to resist being arrested and continues to fight off the officer as he tries to subdue her. She eventually gets back up and then is thrown down again — this time on the steps.

There is more …………..

This incident took place May 13, 2014 and as far as I can see The News Journal had nothing on it! The NBC10.com headline is a little tilted and should of read, Recording of student resisting arrest and breakdown of school security puts police officer in danger. Sorry nothing personal but the guy in the white shirt is unless! 

I don’t what good it will do but having the parents watch this video might help or at least see the other side of their children . I am not sure what school security camera’s will product but looks like those charged might have a problem defending themselves. 

I wonder where Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy stands on school security and the need for better school security training? Odds are he’s behind the frosted glass-door to his office laying on his back! Folks the concern with “intruders” is valid but as you can see the battle is internal with students.

Audio Recording of Christina School Board Emergency Meeting 05/27/2014

Audio of Christina School Board’s Emergency Meeting May 27, 2014

Please turn up your speaker volume, sound quality a little low.

Ouch !!!!!! Did Board Member Young tactfully tell Board President he doesn’t have mayoral control over the board or other members? 

Why in the hell are board members in the dark not permitted to see “evidence” in a position probing the two board members who had exclusive view of evidence?  I didn’t know school boards had judicial wings within! Why wasn’t the video shared with all board members prior to requesting support for this resolutions? You’d think the video and other “evidences” against board member Sutton-Saffer! Wow !!!! Could Sutton-Saffer sue her own school board for defamation of character? This resolution seems more like a trial!

I still feel the video of a public elected official should be released and not kept secret by two board members. Also, on the other-side of the coin was the school bus driver causing alarm in his duties? So here we have a labor dispute following labor relation protocol whereas there could be a possibility student’s safety was at risk! I feel the AG’s office needs to be brought into the loop to inspect issues to see if student’s safety was compromised either by the driver or board member!

Wow board member Paige is kicking some ass! “Show us the video” :).

Young said , has our board solicited a statement from Sutton-Saffer! Yikes they did not! So resolution is based on the employee’s statement! John Young pulling an F Lee Bailey on the board!

Kilroy’s search for Delaware PTA smoking gun #netDe #Edude

PTA: A Resource For Parents August 30, 2011 By 

We are not experts on this subject but we are so fortunate that DE PTA has partnered with the Governor Jack Markell, Lt Governor Matthew Denn, Senator Sokola and the Department of Education to be sure the training for parents is well communicated and well received.

De PTA supports common core standards. We are proud to be apart of this wave to reach out to all parents and be sure our children are all getting the equitable education they all deserve.

I have many side-bar debates with others on education reform and I am often accused of looking the other way when it comes to Delaware PTA. Well that’s not true but I’ve ask over and over for documentation proving Delaware PTA supports Governor Markell’s education agenda. In trying to prove them wrong looks like I am proving the right! Sad!

Trends in State Implementation of the Common Core State Standards: Communications by The National Governor’s Association.

In Delaware, the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has been a particularly strong partner in statewide efforts to implement the CCSS

OK it’s a done deal! Delaware PTA supports and approves of the Common Core Standards.

As for Race to The Top, yep here it is, Delaware PTA’s application endorsement.

The Race to The Top, Common Core, Smarter Balanced Assessment federal tie-in 

ABOUT THE RACE TO THE TOP ASSESSMENT PROGRAM
The Race to the Top Assessment program was authorized as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). In September 2010, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) awarded competitive, four-year grants to two consortia of states, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced)

Now we’re back to the grassroots The Smarter Balanced Assessment testing Opt-out! Once the trains rolls out of the station will Delaware PTA jump aboard and claim the movement as their lead? But you can bet that train must be moving at a “promising” speed.

My predictions are, once the 2016 elections are over and the implosion of Markell’s education agenda is a clear reality someone will be holding the bag! Yea we know how DSEA and local district unions played the Race to The Top game. But they never claimed to be the voice of parents! Delaware PTA will be the one holding the bag! There was no “meaningful” dialog with the local PTA and Delaware PTA on Race to The Top and the agenda laced within. The Kool-Aid fest was after the fact and many wouldn’t succumb to the poison. Folks, we’re in the golden-age of information and with secured data! It’s hard for anyone to do the Moonwalk when the house of cards coming falling down! Many charter schools parent organizations are PTOs and I suspect when parents come out of the Kool-Aid induced coma we may see more PTOs in traditional public schools. Just a prediction! 

Don’t trust Delaware teacher unions and Delaware PTA re: Opt-out of the test!

Folks there is a grassroots movement growing in Delaware that is calling for parents to opt their children out of taking Delaware’s standardized test called The Smarter Balanced Assessment. The Smarter Balanced Assessment has not been approved by Delaware legislators as the current “law” requires a three part assessment re: growth model test such as with DCAS the current state assessment test. The Delaware Department of Education is moving forward with The Smarter Balanced Assessment as part of Governor Markell’s education agenda. Even the pilot test of The Smarter Balanced Assessment being conducted this year seems illegal. Word has it Senator David Sokola is crafting a sneak-attack legislation that will be injected it other legislation being pushed at the end of legislative session. 

As for as Delaware teachers unions and the Delaware PTA, if they come out supporting parents re: opting out of the test! We need be skeptical of their involvement. Teacher unions, the opt-out would support their goal of not wanting to be accountable to this test. I support not holding teachers accountable to a wrongheaded state assessment test. However, their involvement isn’t all about the love for students! Delaware teacher unions supported Race to The Top signing the Race to The Top MOU and in fact the former president of DSEA was a member of the state’s Race to The Top team that went to Washington successful securing a Race to The Top $$$$$ win. Delaware’s RTTT application supported changes to the standards aka Common Core Standards and new assessment test to be aligned with those standards. Our teacher union have been doing a lot of bitching about the new reforms but fail to paint Governor Jack Markell as the Delaware ringleader / Wall Street gatekeeper. It was Governor Markell’s education agenda that drove participation in Race to The Top, Common Core Standards and The Smarter Balanced Assessment! At the end of the day, our Delaware teacher unions have reform blood-stains on their hands. I support labor but fuck the snakes within who don’t tell the truth about the love affair with Jack Markell. Then there is the tactful fence-sitter spitting in both direction! One way or another little prince!

As for the Delaware PTA, I am catching heat by waiting for documented proof Delaware PTA supports Race to The Top, Common Core Standards and The Smarter Balanced Assessment. They have been engaged in a information campaign “informing” parents of these changes. But I am being told Delaware PTA is politically bias towards Governor Markell. I can’t see how Delaware PTA could come out supporting the test opt-out after being an apparent cheerleaders for Rodel and Markell. I am still waiting for documentation stating Delaware PTA “endorses” these programs. However, PTA communications does seem to be laced with supporting theses programs and there is nothing suggest they oppose any of them! So parents need to hear what Delaware PTA’s actual position is. If Delaware PTA wants to roll with the consensus of the day and adapt positions, I think that would be unhealthy. So yes, where is Delaware PTA on the battle field? 

So folks and supporters of the Opt-out movement! Pleased be careful of jumping on any union or State PTA Opt-out wagon. Transparent Christina raises concerns that PTA membership fees help the support efforts on a state PTA agenda not really supported by local school PTAs. When Delaware PTA speaks publicly there may be an assumption that voice is unified through the school level PTAs.  I can see this concern! 

Do keep in mind, a legislative Sokola sneak attack is in the makings to give The Smarter Balanced Assessment the green light!  

Delaware:Christina School District should not be conducting a criminal investigation! No police action re: unsafe act! #netde #edude @ed_in_de @destateboarded @dedeptofed @foxnews @beaubiden @DelawarePTA

Christina board member accused of harassmentMatthew Albright, The News Journal

The Christina School Board on Tuesday night addressed allegations one of its members, Shirley Sutton-Saffer, harassed a school bus driver, passing a resolution saying it did not condone the alleged behavior while waiting for results of the district’s internal review.

“I feel that these allegations are serious enough that they deserve an immediate response,” said Board President David Resler.

Resler called an emergency meeting after the allegations against Sutton-Saffer surfaced last week. The resolution said a full investigation has not yet been conducted and emphasized the allegations are unproven, but said Sutton-Saffer has been accused of “harassing a district employee” and “engaging in an unsafe act.”

The resolution had included “using a racially derogatory term,” but the board removed that line because a school bus camera that caught the incident on video didn’t include the slur, though a statement by a district employee said she used one, Resler said.

Something seems very corrupt here! The video of the incident was “NOT” presented to the board and public at last night’s board meeting yet an employee’s accusation of racism was removed from a board resolution.

Why was there a need for a “resolution” condoning or not condoning a board member during a “district” internal review? 

Public School board members are “elected” officials and concerns of accusation by a school bus driver of harassment laced with racial harassment should be a matter for the AG’s office.

The board’s action is nothing more than a kangaroo court that paints the board member in question as guilty. The board, “passing a resolution saying it did not condone the alleged behavior while waiting for results of the district’s internal review.” So you’re not guilty until proven guilty but we think you are!

After more than 90 minutes of debate, board members Elizabeth Paige, George Evans, Fred Polaski and Resler voted for the resolution. Board member John Young abstained, saying he didn’t have enough evidence to vote either way

Why wasn’t it unanimous?

“I have been presented with zero evidence regarding the act,” Young said. “I am disappointed that I would be asked to support a resolution admonishing somebody for an uninvestigated, unresolved act.”

Mr Young, is your elevator stuck between floors? McFly Young the “Video” of the incident! Duh! 

Young and Paige were critical that only Resler and Polaski had seen the video.

Sorry Mr. Young my bad for pulling a PTA on you! Well stop the presses! Resler and Polaski were invited to review the video and not the other board memebers present at this meeting? Did the News Journal leave something out such as the video was “not” made available to the board and public last night? If that were the case, how could board members Resler and Polaski view it? I am fucking confused! Did the incident take place and only Resler and Polaski were invited by the district superintendent to view the video? Or was it the district transportation supervisor? Also, WHY is a video of a public elected official accused of a crime being kept in secret from the public and all school board members? Why only “handpicked” board members aka elected official permitted to view the video?

SCREAM !!!!!!!!!!! “School bus camera” ?? Were their children present! Did Sutton-Saffer board a bus during it’s run? 

Sutton-Saffer has been accused of “harassing a district employee” and “engaging in an unsafe act.”

So who was put in danger? Students or the bus driver? Something seems criminal here!

Polaski, who voted for the resolution, said the incident appeared to be about how buses were being driven in her neighborhood.

I wonder did Sutton-Saffer ever report to the district or police about safety concerns re: how Christina’s buses are being driven in her neighborhood? Something tells me she snapped and did something foolish like confront the driver rather than call the police. Wait, if she didn’t call the police on this incident or others was she protecting district employees or the district?

Hey Jimmy Olsen, this story goes very deep! Video of elected officials acting inappropriate possibly criminal being withheld from the public and media! Behaviors of a school board member engaging in an unsafe act that could mean putting students at risk! No police involvement! Come on Jimmy stop sucking on crawlfish heads and give us the real story!

How much you want to bet Publius will be in here ridiculing John Young rather then praising him for wanting the truth and evidence?

Hey Delaware PTA! Don’t you think if there was a safety issue someone would involved the police? It’s it about the children? Don’t well all need to advocate for the safety of children? However, what saddens me is none of the board members last night seem to question why no police involvement? District internal investigation !!!!!!!!! WTF !!!!!!!!!! Who are they trying to protect? The driver or an elected official? Perhaps both and the district’s integrity! Well forget about the integrity part! If the district put the safety of students first they would have called the police!         

Part 8 : A father’s cry for his son Re: failure of a Delaware charter school promise #netde #edude

The Game Of Puppets Chapter 7 : of the poke, the manifestation determination, and the stand

The Game Of Puppets Fact #13: A manifestation determination is used to find out if a behavior a child with special needs has is a result of their disability.

The Game Of Puppets Fact #14: In Finland, considered by many to have the best education system in the world, Finnish children get 75 minutes of recess compared to an average of 27 minutes for American children. They also get a 15 minute break after each class.

Jon’s parents finally heard from Miss Summertop at the end of March. She let them know about a personal situation that was impeding her ability to accommodate Jon to the best of her ability. His parents understood that, but Miss Summertop was also concerned about Jon’s behavior and was avoiding having to talk to Jon’s parents about it. She attributed the behavior to Jon’s grandmother being ill and Jon’s sick cat. Those things may have contributed, but the lack of focus on the teacher’s part played a very huge factor.

April 2013 was a very rough month for Jon. Most of it revolved around his “friend” and their agressive relationship to each other. At a birthday party for Jon, the “friend” and two other kids were there. Jon’s mother watched in horror as Jon’s “friend” attacked Jon without any warning. After that, Jon did not go to his house, nor did the “friend” come over to Jon’s house. Spring break took up the first week of the month, and when the students returned to that charter school in the County of Kent, there was a major schedule change. Instead of going to recess before lunch, it was moved to the end of the day. The 2nd-3rd grade teachers felt it was a necessary change because students were unable to focus after recess and then lunch. For Jon, this was a nightmare of epic propotions. Since his teacher was not accommodating his 504 plan, and giving him breaks as needed, Jon spent more time in classroom settings without being able to cool off and release some energy. Jon’s parents were very upset about this change. As a result, Jon’s behavior increased on the negative side. Behavior reports were filled out almost every day, and Jon started getting suspended for his perceived actions. As usual, Jon was the center of blame. A student could spit in his face, but Jon would get in trouble for poking a student with a pencil when a tic movement would cause his arm to swing out. And as usual, no adult ever actually saw anything.

The school was very concerned about Jon’s anger and inappropriate comments to adults. His parents could not determine where it was coming from. The school was failing to adequately or even minimally accommodate Jon’s needs. The 504 plan, in their opinion, was useless. Changing the recess schedule was also causing extreme problems for Jon. There was no ability for him to release until the end of the day. Jon’s father heard his “friend” on the playground one day telling another student “to get Jon”. Jon’s father said “Let’s not get Jon”. This was just one example of this “friend” bullying Jon.

One day the father of the “friend” called Jon’s father to complain that Jon was out of control and he needed help. Jon’s father explained that his son was also causing a lot of the problems. The father said “It’s never Jon’s fault!” and hung up. One day, when Jon had to take standardized testing with a small group, Miss Short brought him back into the classroom while the other students continued testing. Jon started talking, and Miss Short took him out of the room. She called Jon’s mother and told her that Jon was being “loud and obnoxious”. Jon’s mother took serious offense to this and drove to the school. She asked for a meeting with Lady Kathryn, Lady Ellen, and Miss Short. Jon’s mother explained this was not a term for a special education teacher to use against a student with special needs. Miss Short stormed out of the meeting in anger.

After a few weeks of teachers and administration telling Jon’s parents about all of Jon’s behavior problems, Jon’s father had enough. He started going into Jon’s class more and more to observe. Jon noticed one day that Jon was sitting in the office. He asked Lady Kathryn why Jon was there, and she replied that she didn’t know. He had just gotten there and no behavior report was sent with him. Jon went to Miss Summertop’s class and asked why Jon was sent to the office, and Miss Summertop said “Not now” and ignored Jon’s father. This was the final straw for Jon’s father, and he started doing research into the Procedural Safeguards for Parents.

He spoke with the head of curriculum, Lady Blue, about his concerns with Miss Summertop. She said there wasn’t a lot she could do since she didn’t oversee 504 plans. Jon’s father spoke with Lady Kathryn, and both felt a conversation with Jon’s neurologist, Dr. V, may shed some light on what the school wasn’t understanding. Jon’s parents also made an appointment to discuss Jon’s behavior with Dr. V, but there wasn’t a lot of information to give to him aside from what was told to them. So Jon’s father wrote a very long email to Lady Kathryn:

I need a copy of all incident reports from the last several weeks concerning Jon. As well, I need further written documentation from Miss Summertop and any other teachers, paras, administrators or any other staff in regards to how any of these situations started. Some of the write-ups I have seen don’t go into a lot of detail about what happened before a reaction occurred. What were the factors or surroundings that may have led to that situation? We need this so Dr. V can ascertain what may be some triggers for Jon. I would especially like to hear from the computer teacher on this. There was a situation one day involving a transition with carpet time where Jon became quite agitated. My wife and I have an appointment with Dr. V this Friday at 7:45 a.m. so we need this by Thursday. Dr. V won’t be able to help Jon unless he knows what is possibly leading to these reactions. I would like to be able to give him at least ten specific situations. More would be even better.

I was very upset about the comment made by Miss Short about Jon being “loud and obnoxious” when he was put back in the classroom while other students were working on the standardized testing. Whether he was or wasn’t, I firmly believe that his case administrator for his 504 plan should not be using those types of terms to describe a student with multiple disabilities. It is discriminatory at best, and this needs to never happen again. I was also taken aback that Miss Short wasn’t aware of all these situations going on with Jon in the past month. It tells me there is a lack of communication somewhere, and this needs to be addressed.

I believe Jon’s issues are stemming from multiple issues going on , but like my wife and I have said repeated times, we aren’t seeing these issues even close to the severity in which they are occurring at school. I talked with Miss Summertop last week and she did inform me that those who instigate are being sent to the office as well as the reactor in a situation. Why is this just now being implemented? Many situations could have been avoided in the first place had this been done. If there is so much teasing going on in the classroom that is going unnoticed, that is a problem. I know it happens, especially at that age, but I also firmly believe a teacher can help to mitigate these things before they become as big as they are. Jon has told me of several occasions where he told Miss Summertop about a student teasing him and how he was told “One minute” by her most of the time and then there was no follow-up with him. This was also communicated with you last week by Jon.

As per Dr. V’s instructions, Jon is now taking his Intuniv medication in the morning as opposed to the night.

I went over the 504 plan over the weekend, and I do not see it addressing behavior in a lot of situations. Furthermore, ADHD needs to be added to it as the official diagnosis came for that a couple weeks after the 504 meeting on 12/5/12. I think some provisions need to be added to cover transition times for all areas: Regular class, math club, specials, club, recess, lunch, Friday of Fitness and any academic setting.

So much of what is going on with Jon right now is sensory overload. It has become too much for him. Any situation concerning him has become a huge situation for him in his head. He is scared, sad and angry. He sees other students getting away with picking on him, and he is getting in trouble for how he reacts. Not that this excuses his reactions, but we don’t know if they are neurological reactions or behavioral. I have been told that Jon makes some of these choices, but I don’t think any of us are qualified to diagnose that as I don’t believe any of us are experts on the trifecta of ADHD, Tourette’s Syndrome and Sensory Integration Disorder. These are three very major things going on with a growing boy. I think a lot of these situations could have been avoided. I think we need to be aware of situations and triggers that could potentially cause a problem for Jon. One of our chief concerns at this point in time is next year as well. I would like his new teacher to be well aware of Jon’s disorders well ahead of next year and to have a plan in place at that time.

As well, we had discussed that there would be an evaluation of the 504 at the end of the year, and I am requesting this to be scheduled as soon as possible so we aren’t rushing and trying to put schedules together at the end of the year. We need more specific, measurable and timely goals set in this plan as they are severely lacking at this time. We don’t believe the plan is being utilized with the exception of Miss Toms. There is no evidence to support that it is being used in other areas. I don’t see the line placement that we agreed to (in the 2012 sensory processing meeting), I’m not seeing the coaching and one-on-one in situations that we agreed to, nor am I seeing the implementation of the idea we put forth together about Jon being sent on daily errands or breaks. I spoke with you about this last week, and I don’t know if this has changed at all since then. We had talked about afternoons specifically being a challenge area for Jon and that one of these breaks or errands should occur at some point after specials.

I will pick up the authorization form for the phone conversation with Dr. V, but my wife or I need to be present for this conversation. Thank you for your time, and it is my sincere hope that we can all do what is best for Jon.” That was followed up by Lady Kathryn with:

“I have asked Miss Summertop to allow Jon a break in the afternoon. As we discussed, if Jon is doing well then it would not be beneficial for him to go on a break. As far as reviewing the 504, we can coordinate a time that we can all meet and see what needs to be implemented beyond what is in the current document. I will discuss this with Lady Ellen, Miss Short, & Miss Summertop. Behavior can be included as a component and a behavior plan written for Jon that helps him be successful and holds him accountable, which will help him be successful.”

Lady Kathryn and Jon’s father had spoken that day at the school, and Lady Kathryn wanted Jon to have an FBA, which stands for Functional Behavior Analysis. But after yet another behavior incident later that day, Jon’s father got on the email again and wrote:

“My wife and I appreciate your talking to Miss Summertop yesterday, however, where was any talk with Jon during this event? We were also very curious how she could not see a student “punching” a student, the other student crying, out, and then Jon laughing. And she was in the classroom. I asked Jon where Miss Summertop was at this time, and he clearly remembered that she was on her cellphone and drinking a soda. I asked him how he knew she was drinking a soda, and he informed me that another student asked Miss Summertop why she was allowed to drink soda to which she responded “Because I’m an adult.” I have frequently seen Miss Summertop on her phone when I have entered the classroom, and Jon informed me that she is on her phone a lot. Our big question yesterday was how she could miss so many of these events. Perhaps this is a possible answer.

We went over the 504 plan again last night, and we have several concerns that have not been addressed from the plan or the very detailed notes within the plan. On the first page going over the 504 plan, it clearly states: The area of most difficulty is during transition times and unstructured activities, such as lunch and recess, walking the hallway. No specific accommodations were put in the plan for the following reason. Jon’s mother had suggested he be given additional time during transitions. Miss Storm indicated that different things could be tried and then it could be written into the plan. To date, this was never done. But yet, most of his problems have occurred during some type of transition time, as noted by Miss Summertop, yourself, and Jon. So our big question, if this is such a documented thing, why hasn’t the plan been modified? Which could have, once again, eliminated many of the situations that have occurred.

Jon also needs consistency from all teachers should a situation arise. First off, we would like it incorporated into the plan that the teacher will ask ALL parties involved, including Jon, before Jon is sent to the office. Furthermore, since most of these events are not seen by an adult, I would like the adult to try to make a judgment call on the behavior being intentional or a reaction to the sensory integration disorder, Tourette’s, or his ADHD. Additionally, if Jon is sent to the office, work needs to be sent with him. We are also requesting a report from each adult handling the situation on what exactly happened, and any potential triggers involved to be sent home with him the same day. In regards to his planner, it was communicated in the plan notes that Miss Summertop would prompt Jon to bring his book bag to her each morning and his planner would be put in her bin. Relying on Jon to do this, as it was written in the plan, does not work. And even though there is only three weeks left of school, we would like Miss Summertop to actually write something in his planner. I would like this to include one area Jon did very well at, and an area where he may have struggled. In addition, we would like to see a return to Jon typing something up for his planner as was agreed up in the 504 plan.

The plan has worked in providing Jon an independent place to work. It has also worked in terms of him being able to type up written assignments. (But) The plan clearly states to allow Jon frequent breaks throughout the day as this was needed to give him a refresh/reload time. We don’t see a frequency in this being used, with the exception of being sent to the office for potential behavior issues. I know it was decided to give him a break in the afternoon, but the plan indicates “frequent” breaks.

What we don’t know is how assignments are being given to Jon. It was indicated in the plan that not only would Miss Summertop tell the class, but she would have direct contact with Jon to go over the plan orally with him.

It was indicated in the notes by Miss Summertop that Jon has problems at recess when the kids are chasing each other. So what has been done about that? If this is a noted area of concern going back to December, why are students still chasing each other? If this is a behavior that is allowed to continue, with it being documented that Jon has problems during this, then we would like to request that an adult join in the chasing or closely observe the chasing and be able to quickly stop a situation prior to it escalating.

We have not seen any work sent home from any class since his last student-teacher conference with the exception of the animal project, as that was on a flash-drive and we helped Jon with it at home.

At this point in time, immediately going forward, if Jon is sent to the office and a teacher did not see the action, and it is determined through a manifestation determination that Jon’s action was from one of his three disabilities by the school, my wife or myself, we will file a grievance with the Department Of Education Charter School division.

Some recent examples of this are as follows: Yesterday’s situation with another student and Jon being sent to the office for putting his leg up when a group of girls were converging on him during recess which resulted in another student being kicked by Jon, and Jon’s “friend” being poked in the back with a pencil by Jon when his “friend” spit on his face. All of these are, in our determination, classic reactions from his sensory integration disorder which has been documented with the school and diagnosed by a certified neurologist. No manifestation determination was made to determine cause in any of these situations and they were treated as behavior/discipline issues. “I don’t know what happened” or “I didn’t see anything” will no longer be a sufficient answer for my wife or myself.

At this point in time, we are not giving permission for Jon to speak with Miss Diagnosis for a functional behavioral assessment, as I don’t believe the plan and it’s notes have been fully utilized or modified. In addition, we want to speak with Dr. V tomorrow to determine our next course of action. As well, we have requested a reevaluation of the 504 for the end of the year to be scheduled as soon as possible and I would like to add a request that a decision be made as soon as possible for this 4th-5th grade teacher to be determined prior to that meeting and for that teacher to be in attendance at the meeting. We formally requested Miss Nada for that teacher in a letter given to yourself yesterday. In addition, I would like Miss Short to take a more active role in following up with Jon’s teacher in regards to the 504 plan. As indicated last week, Miss Short had no idea about Jon’s recent issues due to no communication from Miss Summertop or Miss Short in regards to the 504 plan. We would like this to occur for the remainder of this academic school year as (well as) the next academic school year.

I will come to the school before bussing to pick up Miss Summertop’s notes on the recent incident reports.”

The response from Lady Kathryn, which never had the school admitting to doing anything wrong, was this: “The functional behavioral assessment is aimed at getting at the why of the behaviors, which is the reason I recommended this as a next step. Jon’s behaviors are such that I believe this would be helpful data for the team to include proper behavior supports in his 504. This information would also help us to recognize if his behaviors are a manifestation of his disability. If you would like more information from Miss Diagnosis I’m sure she would be willing to speak with you.

There are situations where Jon has been unable to have a respectful conversation and needed some cool off time before he talked about the event. It is appropriate for him to be removed during these instances to the office and a conversation had when he is able. One important component for us helping Jon is his following the direction of adults, which has been a recent difficulty for him, and without refusal or a disrespectful tone from him. These behaviors are not beneficial to the environment of all students and we need to deal with these and hold Jon accountable for this immediately. I appreciate your support when this has occurred and you holding him accountable for this will be helpful for him as he grows.

Recess is an open play exploration time for students. Not allowing students to run and play chase is not a reasonable request for all the 2/3s. If Jon continues to struggle at this free time we can look at alternate activities for him that will have him still get some exercise. Perhaps Dr. V can help advise us in this area as well. Miss Short has received correspondence as of the past week and I will continue to keep her informed of issues on a more regular basis.”

So a plan was in place to get Jon a functional behavior analysis from Miss Diagnosis. As well, a phone conversation with the 504 team, Dr. V and Jon’s parents was to take place. After the FBA was done by Miss Diagnosis, all the team members would get together to modify the 504 plan. Jon also began drawing pictures of students and violent situations. His doctor believed he was letting out his feelings, although inappropriate, it was how Jon was coping. At the same time, Jon started out a new medicine that Dr. V prescribed called Metadate. This was a stimulant, so Jon’s parents were very nervous. But Dr. V felt it could help the anxiety and aggression Jon was feeling. About five days into taking the medicine, Jon began to draw pictures of students and violent situations. This alarmed his parents, but Jon had always drawn pictures of how he was feeling. Jon’s parents talked to him, and he said he was just drawing crazy pictures but he would never act out on them.

It became glaringly obvious to Jon’s parents that the school was never going to accept Jon’s disorders if they believed “Every behavior is purposeful” (which was what Lady Ellen said to Jon’s father one day). That charter school in the County of Kent was not a good fit for Jon. Something had to change.

Meanwhile, Jon’s grandmother passed away. It was a hard time for all of Jon’s family, but his father had the phone conference the day after his mother died. Jon’s father drove back to the Kingdom of Del late that night.

Dr. V stressed that recess should never be taken away from Jon, or any child for that matter. He cited studies that had proven this. He also strongly advised against having it at the end of the day as there would be no major release of energy for Jon. Dr. V also stated it could take several months to determine how effective the metadate would be and what would be the correct dosage. Dr. V strongly reccomended Jon got occupational therapy, but Jon’s mother explained he didn’t qualify for services when Jon got tested the prior year. He felt Jon should get some social skills development both in and outside of school. He reiterated the need for frequent breaks throughout the day. Dr. V also stated Jon should have a paraprofessional nearby at all times during unstructured time, such as recess or lunch or transition time. He concluded that Tourette’s Syndrome can be very difficult to control but he felt confident with the right supports and better plans from the school that Jon could be successful. “

We’d been given a gift and our job now was to unwrap it, and see what’s inside.” Todd Burpo

Jon’s loving father 

To be continued