A Day Late and A Dollar Short

Published on October 20, 2009 by Jennifer Laviano

Objects - Time and Money

When lawyers get involved, very often experts are retained.  I get it.  Really, I do.  But nothing makes me quite as angry as when a school district brings in an outside expert for the purpose of preparing their legal case, when for years the parents have been refused that very expertise by the same people!

It would be nice if special education directors brought in the experts when they were in a position to actually help the child, rather than as litigation strategy!

I see this pattern all the time in my Connecticut special education law practice.  It goes something like this:  parents have been concerned about their child’s development, behavior or performance for some time.  They ask the school for help in understanding the issues.  Often, they have been asking for years.  Year after year, in meeting after meeting, these concerns and requests are overlooked, ignored, or sometimes blatantly rejected.

It usually requires a situation reaching a “critical mass” before parents of children with disabilities begin to enforce their rights.

As I’ve indicated in the past, when parents contact me, they are typically at their wits end.  Often, they have hired me because they are seriously considering pulling their child from the public schools altogether.  So, you can imagine how frustrating it can be when, after retaining counsel, the school districts’ response is to bring in outside specialists, not to help them DEVELOP an appropriate program, but rather, to testify as to why the parents’ position is unreasonable.

Here’s an idea:  how about, instead of funding a “hired gun” to testify against parents, use that money to pay them to actually design appropriate special education programs for kids!

You’re right.  It’ll never work.  It makes too much sense.

2 Responses to A Day Late and A Dollar Short

  1. Jewels
    October 22nd, 2009 | 8:41 am

    On top of paying for “hired guns” is also the fact that SDs spend a TON of money by having 10-12 district personnel attend LONG and NUMEROUS ARD meetings negating a parent’s ability to find the support and help to meet their child’s unique needs.

    Add that to the bundle of money being wasted and it really makes absolutely NO SENSE!

  2. Heather Rossi
    December 9th, 2009 | 12:52 pm

    I agree with Jewels… total waste of money!


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