Expressing Undisputable Priorities

Standard

Sometimes you just have to remind the school district of priorities – and put them in perspective.

I had a client who had cystic fibrosis. It was serious enough that her doctor recommended she not attend school at all, as the population of viruses and illnesses that float around high schools could infect her and that infection could cause death.

The family was, therefore, looking for home bound instruction as the only feasible form of FAPE (free appropriate public education) for the girl. The district did offer some home bound instruction, and also that the student come in a few days a week for a couple of hours for specific classes. The family did not think that that was appropriate, and they had a doctor’s letter clearly stating that exposing the student to germs in the school could be fatal for her.

The school district did not want to provide home bound instruction for the child’s entire curriculum. Citing the need for socialization and spending time with peers as the priority for the student, the school dug in their heels on providing only partial home bound instruction.

So I read the doctor’s letter aloud at the PPT meeting – even though the staff had already read it. I underscored the portion where the doctor states clearly that the child should not be exposed to germs or viruses as it could be fatal.

I explained clearly and concisely to the school staff and administrators that the family’s number one priority was to keep their daughter alive. Their second was to educate their daughter with the same curriculum as other young people her age. And the distant third was socializing their daughter with other children her age. The school staff could not argue with those priorities.

They agreed to provide home-bound instruction for the entirety of her schooling – at least until the doctor gives the ok for her to attend school again.

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