Can A Child with Behavior Problems Survive in a Typical Classroom?

This issue is really getting to me lately.  It seems I have several clients right now who have bright kids who are perfectly capable of doing well in a general education classroom but for their behavior problems.  The schools I’m dealing with often want to transfer the kids to special education classrooms which are exclusively for kids with “emotional or behavior disorders” or to another type of classroom purely for kids in special education, such as a class for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

“EBD” or Other Self-Contained Classrooms

EBD classrooms are generally “self-contained” that means that they have only special education students in them.  Generally speaking, they have a reputation of being filled with boys with discipline problems (as opposed to kids with other kinds of behavior problems, such as distractibility or anxiety).  At the very worst, some of the EBD classrooms are known for housing future or current juvenile delinquents – not a place anyone would want their kid to learn!

Labeling Kids

Though a school district is by law not supposed to place children in classrooms based on their “classification” or label, many school districts seem to require that all students in EBD or ASD classrooms be labeled as such.  While generally speaking, I don’t care so much about labels – I care more about the services a child is receiving – EBD is not a label I would want my own child to have.  EBD is a very broad category which tends to communicate that a child is “crazy” or has severe disciplinary problems.  That label doesn’t tell anyone much about how to educate that child well.  The ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) label is a different story because by definition it encompasses a “spectrum” of kids, and because there’s a lot of resources and political clout following students (and their parents) with that label.

That said, some self-contained classrooms are good ones because they are small, have well-trained teachers and provide kids with a highly structured positive behavior plan based on incentives and rewards for good behavior.  As a parent, you need to ask to observe the classroom before you consent to transfer your child there and see for yourself whether it would be a good change for him or her.

How to Stay in a General Ed. Classroom

If your son or daughter has any “behaviors” which interfere with their learning, under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) they are entitled to positive interventions to help them function in the “Least Restrictive Environment.”  The Least Restrictive Environment means that school districts are required to educate students with disabilities in general ed. classrooms with their non-disabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate. (For more about the IDEA go to www.wrightslaw.com)

When I say “positive interventions” generally I mean a system of incentives and rewards to improve poor behavior.   Under the law, students with significant behavior problems are entitled to a formal Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP).  But what I’ve found in Florida is that kids don’t get a written BIP unless they have serious discipline problems.  All too often schools offer a BIP, not as a true remedy, but only to “set-up” a student, that is, to create a paper trail to show he or she should be transferred to a self-contained classroom, or to create a paper trail for some other reason which is, unfortunately, not directly related to your child’s education.  

What I do for my clients in this predicament is to bring as much expertise and resources – this means I try to get expert teachers and administrators to attend the school meetings who can bring critical information and training (and sometimes funds) to improve your child’s situation.  I also help the school team to create or upgrade the child’s BIP so that it includes a highly structured, individualized and systematic behavior plan which is targeted to reduce that particular child’s problem behaviors.  I define problem behaviors broadly to include things like: inattention, off-task behavior or obsessive-compulsive behaviors, if those behaviors are interfering with their learning.

 

This post was originally published in December, 2007 and was updated as recently as September, 2011.


39 Replies to “Can A Child with Behavior Problems Survive in a Typical Classroom?”

  1. Dr.V.

    Ms.Hertog: I came across your page today and found your story very interesting. As a child psychiatrist and mother of 4 children, including one with learning problems, it is difficult to help children and their families to get on the right path. I have encountered many frustrated, and depressed, children, teens, and parents, due to the lack of proper guidance and knowledge in the area of special education. I am sure your contribution will be of great value to the community. Dr.V.

    Reply
  2. marta abril

    Ms Hertog:I am a mother of twins boys,recently they were diagnostic by a neurologist with ADHD,since may 2007.
    It seems to me that the medication is not working as a did expect.I feel a little frustrated,because i do really wants to help my boys.And Iam sure like Dr V,that your contribution will be value for parents with kids with problems behaviors or learning problems.

    Reply
  3. Mrs. T.

    I have a son that was diagnosed with ADD when he was 5, he is now 13. I originally when to a pediatrician who had attended several training conferences for ADHD. I found out that working with a specialist that works with children is essential in finding the correct medicine for your child. It takes time to find the correct medicine for each person. “One size fits all” does not work when it comes to ADHD medication. Stick with it and change specialists if they don’t want to try different medicines if you feel you aren’t achieving the results you want.

    Reply
  4. TheDeeZone

    One problem with self-contained classroom for ED children is that students tend to get worse & learn new ways to act out. I have worked as a learning facilitor and was responsible for helping students with a variety of special needs suceed in the classroom. I dealt with several ED students and provided a varitety of support services. I usually had 4-5 students who had emotional problems at any one time. Most of the students were able to succeed in the regular classroom with support. Every couple of years we had one student who needed a special placement. As a general ed teacher I often had students with serious behavior or emotinal problems. Most were able to succeed in my classroom. I have also taught a class for ED students it was a horrible experience with very little learning going happening. The school didn’t provide proper support. The class was a dumping ground for difficult children.

    Reply
  5. Sibyl V.

    Hi, I’m the mother of an “ADHD” child, who is 10, attends 4th grade and will be testing for gifted on Saturday.
    I want to comment on two things:
    – I was lucky enought to find an amazing Occupational Therapist that ran a series of test on my son (namely, the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test and the Bruininks Oseretsky Motor Proficiency Test, among others). As it turns out, he suffers from a disorder that is very similar to ADHD, called Sensory Processing Disorder, sensory-seeking type. He’s been off medications for nearly 2 years as they were not working for him anyways, and side effects were terrible. Even though his Occupational Therapy treatment has been successful, we still have a long journey ahead, b/c his case is rather severe, and complicated with another sensory condition named Dyspraxia, which makes him very disorganized, with poor handwriting and poor fine motor skills, as well as poor sequencing of tasks.
    But apart from that, he is very strong, very good at sports (gr

    – In any case, having a right diagnosis has helped us get some services at school and he gets some OT at school. I am the kind of mom who is afraid of the school system, and for that reason, I think I haven’t made the most of it. For my upcoming IEP meeting, I am going to ask for a couple of accomodations: a) to have the school make sure that my son writes down his assignments and takes home any papers. He sits at a satellite desk, and many papers just don’t reach his desk, and on top of that, he’s very disorganized and frequently loses the papers. Also, I’d like the school to help him make sure he has everything he needs in his backpack; b) I’d like the school to make sure he understands the directions and sequence of assignments he’s supposed to turn in for the day.
    Any comments or tips will be appreciated!!!

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Just as a suggestion have him color code folders etc to the colors of his books, it helps organization, have him put his work in an agenda and all homework in a special folder of his choosing.

      Reply
  6. TheDeeZone

    Sibyl V.

    Does your son by any chance have Dysgraphia? Several of the things you describe ie the poor handwriting & poor organizational skills could also be dysgraphia. Dysgraphia, Dyspraxia, dyscalculia and dyslexia are all related problems. You can read more about dysgraphia here.Also, I have written some things on my blog about dysgraphia, dyslexia, and ADHD.

    Reply
  7. Sibyl V.

    Hi,
    From what I read in the link in your post, yes, my child must have dysgraphia. He fits the description perfectly. Anyways, his private OT is addressing this by teaching him cursive writing (it is so much easier than print), finger exercises for strength and endurance, perceptual exercises for spacing and organization of the papers. At school, they don’t make a big problem out of his penmanship, thank God. They rather isolate and single him out due to behavior, which is little by little improving. And the teacher is very frustrated by his lack of organization in general, and I suppose she is not fully aware that it’s up to her to help him in class. That’s why I’m addressing this at the next IEP meeting.
    Thank you for your comments!

    Reply
  8. TheDeeZone

    I have written in my personal blog about my expericences with learning disablities. Cursive can be helpful for some with dysgraphia. However for me it just didn’t work. I think it may have been the combination of dysylexia & dysgraphia. As for the organizaiton, just keep plugging away. At your son’s age he needs to be held accountable for being organized. My mom used a system of rewards and consqeuncese with me. Sometime around my junior year in high school I finally got it. Now I am very oragnized. I am still can be messy but there is a differance between neatness & ogranization.

    Reply
  9. Yolanda

    I am curious to hear from parents who have left the public school system and found a private school in Miami that was better for a higher-functioning disabled student. With the coninuing cuts in funding, the situation with the public school system is bound to get worse before it gets any better. Thanks.

    Reply
  10. Lisa

    My son is in middle school ( 13 yrs. old ) and has been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD. They did testing on him and Friday we find out the results. He’s had problems – in / out of school suspensions, doesn’t want to do his work, attitude, not caring. Well, they want to either put him in a self contained class or another class they call ” Exell”. I wonder with the behavior problems he has, if going into one of these classes will make him worse? Or should we consider a private behavioral center? I’m really pretty stressed over the whole thing. If anyone has been through this – help! Please any info would be great. Thanks.

    Reply
  11. TheDeeZone

    Middle school is a tough time for all kids. Check out all of your options carefully. Private behavioral centers may actually be worse. What treatment/coping methods are you considering for your son? It is possible that medication for ADHD may help your son be successful in school.

    Reply
  12. allisonhertog

    Lisa: The results of the upcoming testing will be critical.
    You have a right to see the report a day or two before the
    meeting. That will give you time to read and understand it.
    If you fax me a copy of it at 3055731559 on Thursday I will give
    You some free advice on how to proceed. You could challenge their
    report and then refuse to consent to a change in placement.
    Best, Allison

    Reply
  13. Yolanda

    I would like to hear about any experiences with school discipline. What is the process to have notes and or a suspension removed from your child’s school record? My understanding is that this does not go through Due Process. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Reply
  14. allisonhertog

    Hi Yolanda: You’re right. You do not have to file Due Process to get notes/suspensions removed from a child’s file. There is a special process to petition to remove items from your child’s cumulative file. I would start by contacting the District student records department and ask them for the form. Best of luck, Allison

    Reply
  15. Fearing For My Safety

    I just began a new job in a middle school as a special educator. I have a student with EBD who exhibits severe verbal agression, beginning signs of physical agression, bullies and intimidates those around him, swears at me and his regular ed teachers, walks out of class, throws books, talks and draws incessantly about gang involvement, drug deals, getting high, and states that if I try to keep him in a self-contained environment, he will “blow my head off.” I’ve discussed numerous safety concerns for staff and students with administration. Because of my own schedule, I cannot self-contain him but he is in a regular ed environment. It is to the point where I fear going to work each day.

    Does he have a BIP? Sure. Have we tried positive reinforcements? Absolutely.

    Suggestions?

    Reply
    • allisonhertog

      Dear Fearing for My Safety:

      I truly empathize with your situation. First, you should immediately notify your superiors and perhaps your union (if you belong) that you fear for your safety. You may need to notify the school police or even the school board attorney’s office as well. I also suggest that you keep very good records of exactly what he says/does with times and dates for the next several days. You should ask your superiors to convene an IEP meeting as soon as possible to consider another placement for him where there are behavior specialists who can manage his behavior. Keep me updated – that’s how I learn. 🙂

      Allison Hertog

      Reply
  16. Yolanda

    I really hope that “Fearing for My Safety” does not contact school police as a way of dealing with this child. This is clearly a child with emotional issues that have not been dealt with. Getting school police involved is only going to further traumatize this child. This child needs help and not a criminal record. Nothing good will come of throwing a disabled child into the juvenile justice system.

    Reply
  17. Fearing For My Safety

    To think of all that has happened since I wrote that. Yolanda, I agree – a ticket will not serve any positive purpose. I have always been and will remain student centered and a strong student advocate. That’s why I say that this student’s chance lie in a firm plan in which he earns privileges connecting both positive and negative consequences in a consistent manner. But that would mean he would have to be self-contained for part of the day and they don’t do that.

    I voiced numerous concerns over my safety and that of my students. The student blows up walks out to the office where the disciplinarian offers him a comfortable chair, tells him they know how bad his life is, how much this person cares about him, states that they’ll bring him food, and by the way, don’t do that again. Back to class you go. The cycle repeats hourly. Admin has told me that this student should be ‘the majority of my time’ and the reg ed staff will have to ‘pick up the slack’ for the rest of my caseload. I need to connect with this kid. Kids have been pushed, threatened, sworn at, I’ve been sworn at, books thrown. The administrator then told us that when he swears at us in the classroom (this is reg ed/team taught mind you with 30 kids), we should ‘let it go’ and the other kids should be expected to be tolerant and understand.

    Yes, I was told to expect verbal assault and request my students do the same. I was so upset I called in sick the next day and e-mailed the main administrator (the disciplinarian is the AP) stating that the emotional attachment towards this student has interfered not only with my ability to do my job but with my physical safety and that of my students. I need clarification of my duties (one student or caseload), I am unable to work with the other students and they are suffering. Basically, the response was to ‘dial it down’ and not make such a fuss. And then……

    The tables were turned on me and I am not on the rec’vg end of a ‘witch hunt’ because (no, not kidding), I’m apparently not trying hard enough to reach this student or doing my job. This comes from the disciplinarian (no surprise there) and the Dir of Spec Ed.

    The union has stepped in and I guess this situation is not new. In dysfunctional situations, attack the one bringing up the problem. I am resigning tomorrow from this position, my car is filled with empty boxes to pack up my classroom.

    I have a ‘gift’ of reaching kids who present such challenges. Former students, now successful in college and/or careers, remain in contact with me and visit bringing their families. How proud I was when a former student asked my husband and I to look at homes with him as he prepared for his first purchase. Being a teacher is “who I am.” So it is with such sad regret that I leave this profession tomorrow after only 10 years. I can no longer take the incompetentcy at the top.

    I have no idea what I will do now. Our own children are in college. I’ve applied at local retail stores this weekend – with a masters degree.

    Signed,

    No longer fearful but now tearful in Pennyslvania

    Reply
    • allisonhertog

      Dear Fearful and Tearful: I’m so sorry to hear you had that experience, but perhaps it’s for the best (at least for you). I wouldn’t give up on special education. We need talented, educated and caring professionals like yourself. You may want to tutor as an interim position or permanently (if you have benefits from another source). We are in desperate need of good tutors as a nation. If you are interested, I have some ideas on how to provide excellent cost-effective tutoring for special needs students, particularly in reading. Don’t despair. You’re still very much needed. Warm Regards, Allison Hertog

      Reply
  18. Fearing For My Safety

    Thank you Allison. I have seen so much dysfunction in schools while living here that it truly is disheartening. The union officials where I worked are furious over this situation and have provided me with support and sanity. They too, believe it ludicrous to allow students to swear at you in fits of rage in the classroom.

    I would be happy to take any tutoring suggestions. I was a reg. ed social studies teacher before moving here – a job I greatly miss. It has also been suggested that I take my kinesthetic based curriculums for social studies classes and publish them. I am thinking of doing that too.

    Reply
  19. Michelle

    Hello Allison,
    My son is in a EBD class in which the teachers were trained on how to handle him before he even started going to school there. His IEP plan even states how they should speak to him. All of this was arranged in a District meeting to reevaluate his IEP. He was even assigned a one on one. This teacher refuses to follow the IEP and speak to him in any manner that she wants, even with his one on one present. I’m glad he is there to intervene. It seems as though every time my son takes a step forward, she does something to knock him back a couple of steps. She is one of those teachers that claims to be afraid of him, but I don’t see how that is possible with her attitude.

    Reply
  20. Michelle

    I’m sorry Allison my mind was somewhere else earlier.
    I feel that some can survive the regular classes. My son is in an EBD class for emotional behavioral problems. I plan on mainstreaming him back into the regular classes. He is very bright as most of the kids in these classes. Just being in the contained classes alone is taking a toll on him because he is not learning anything and is getting frustrated. Like I stated earlier he has a one on one for when he needs to take a break or becomes frustrated. I feel as though they are treating these kids as though they have learning disabilities instead of emotional problems. My son scores the highest scores on the FCAT in school, why should he be given easy work just because of his emotional behavior.

    Reply
    • allisonhertog

      Hi Michelle:

      You’re absolutely right to question why the academics are of a lower quality in a class for special ed kids without academic problems. I think that stems from the fact that generally special ed teachers are not given a post-graduate education in academic content. In other words, they are expected to be able to teach any academic subject as long as they take other courses on how to teach special needs students. I can make that statement because I, myself, have a Masters degree in special education from one of the top educaiton graduate schools in the country and I wasn’t required to take a single academic content area course.

      In terms of your legal rights, if a student is capable of doing the work in a general education class (even a gifted class) but has emotional problems which interfere with his educational performance, he should be included in that class with accommodations to support his disability. You should ask for an IEP meeting to change his placement.

      I hope that helps.

      Sincerely,

      Allison Hertog

      Reply
      • Raz

        Just so many of you know…a teacher that will show up everyday and put in maximum effort with every trick up their sleeve for the benefit of students with behavior disorders, deserves a medal. This job is hard, and many would not last 10 minutes. When asked why academics are “low quality” and compared to the teachers education is insulting. The best teachers and trained scholars in this setting will tell anyone, the work assigned is not always what the child is capable of. Rather work is assigned at a level the child will work. Unfortunately the education system has created impossible classroom settings/makeup that demands we work for the behavior not against it. Yes, we can challenge students academically, however, with a behavior disordered child….behavior must come first then academics. Therefore, if it “appears” the academics are of low quality, they should compare it to the “behaviors displayed in class” Most students in these classroom settings work in incremental intervals established to “shape” behaviors before “pressing” the academic. Just needed to say this for all of those do everything possible and positive in a setting that has basically found it “easier” to pass blame to the professional instructing the class.

        Reply
  21. Tanya

    HI everyone,
    I have a 9 year-old nephew who is a 4th grader in public school that has been diagnosed with ADHD, ODD and Mood Disorders. It has been very difficult to get the school to follow through with my request for am IEP because he scores high academically. What am I to do now? He continues to suffer in the regular classroom because of his disabilities and no interventions have been done on the schools behalf but I have gotten him enrolled in a mental health program outside of school. This agency is providing intensive in home therapy for him and he seems to be doing well with it. He has 3 qualified professionals that work with him so I feel that I am doing my part as his guardian, but the school is doing very little to support him but they want “us” to work as a team . What else am I to do?

    Tanya

    Reply
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  23. marlene

    My son is 5 years old, he was placed in a Pre-k public school inclusive classroom (Jan. 2012) after being tested through FDLR’S. Prior to that he attended a fantastic private school (he is a very bright kid who will be perfectly capable of doing well in a general education classroom except for his behavior problem) . He was tested because of his impulsivity, always moving and talking, lack of boundaries, poor spacial awareness, frustration, anger, disrespect for authority among other things. He also exhibits many sensory issues. He lasted 2 months in the public school setting, before we pulled him out of the school. In the two months he attended his inclusive classroom he was suspended three times, the police was called every single time he was suspended. He was suspended for hitting (the teacher), kicking, screaming, & spitting. We moved him from the private school to the public school looking for help (which was promise at the fdlr’s meeting). The experienced has been horrible for my son, he is completely negative about school, says he hates school and that he doesn’t want to go back. His self-esteem has suffered he calls himself a looser. A negative paper trial has been carefully created by the public school (someone from ebd came to observe him) while very little help was given to us. It seems it was more important to get him tagged negatively (paper trail) that to actually make the appropriate effort to really guide and help him and us as a family. A week ago he was diagnosed by a neurologist adhd, behavior therapy was recommended and he attended his first session today (may 23). He also has an up coming appointment to be tested with an OT for sensory integration. In August he will be starting kindergarten and we are completely scare of what to expect from the public school setting since the school told us in kinder he can be arrested for his behavior. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Reply
    • AllisonHertogAllisonHertog Post author

      Dear Marlene:

      Thank you for contacting me. It certainly sounds like your son’s needs were not met in PreK. As you probably know, public schools are required to provide your child with the special education support and services he requires to be at a level playing field with his peers. In addition, they appear to be making misstatements about how they can treat him in kindergarten. A child cannot be arrested in school for misbehaving! I would be happy to have a phone or in-person consultation with you so that I could advise you in greater detail on how to get your son’s needs met in school. My office number is 305 663 9233. I am very, very busy until the end of this school year, but can meet at your convenience beginning the second week in June.

      Best Regards,

      Allison Hertog, Esq., M.A.
      Founder, Making School Work

      Reply
  24. Lynette walker

    Hi my son is 5 yrs. and had been recently diagnosed with ASD ( he has also been diagnosed with ADHD). He just started kindergarten this school year. He has an IEP but the problem is his behavior in general education class. The class size if about 21-22 kids which is too many, he often does certain things for attention. The main concern is the aggressive behavior he exhibits toward the other kids, by hitting them for no reason. While the school thinks it would be a good idea to put him in a zone class( our county’s program for kids with autism). I really don’t want my child in special education but I don’t have a choice since the class will be smaller. His casework wants me to fill out FBP ( formal behavior Plan)

    Reply
    • AllisonHertogAllisonHertog Post author

      Hi Lynette: I empathize with your plight. Maybe they can provide him some more support for his ASD before they move him to a more restrictive setting? While aggressive behavior is totally unacceptable, perhaps he is acting out aggressively because he is seeking sensory stimulation or to obtain a reaction from his peers? A behavior plan would be a good idea if they develop an intensive research-based positive intervention plan. Sometimes a behavior plan is just a bureaucratic hurdle and not a true intervention. If you feel a smaller class would be beneficial for him, make sure he is placed in one with students on a similar academic level so that he does not fall behind.

      Reply
  25. Gwen

    Our school really needs some guidance. We have a student in first grade that has been diagnosed as autistic. She has kicked, bitten, punched and spit on staff on numerous occasions. Today she spit in the face of one of her classmates. Her teacher is scared for the safety of her students. We have been able to get an aide to help in her education, however, the behavior continues and we haven’t seen an improvement. The mother does not want her anywhere but in the classroom and has brought in legal support. The situation is painful on ALL levels. The teacher and principal care about the student and have gone to trainings and have brought in experts to offer guidance. The teacher and principal also care about the other 18 students in the classroom, and feel like they are not only at risk for their safety, but seeing behavior that disrupts their learning and models negative coping mannerisms. As I read your blogs, my stomach churns thinking that we may lose a great educator due to this situation. I don’t want to see the student put into a centralized classroom, however, the general classroom doesn’t seem to work either. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • AllisonHertogAllisonHertog Post author

      Dear Gwen:

      Sorry for the delay in my response. I have been out of town. On behalf of parents of children with disabilities in this very difficult situation, I thank you for your concern. These situations are very complicated. Obviously, safety comes first and the child may need some more behavioral intervention before she’s ready to be in the current classroom setting. On the other hand, some times a good third party analysis of the situation could lead to improved behavior and allow this child to remain in the current setting with the right supports. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet for these situations it’s very dependent on the specifics of the case.

      Again, thank you for your concern. I hope it works out for everyone’s sake.

      Best Regards,

      Allison Hertog

      Reply
  26. Margie Vacchiano

    Please help! I have a meeting at my son’s school Wednesday and could use some advice. He is at 9 suspensions & looks like they want him transferred to another school for a self contained room. His suspensions are talking back to teachers, calling his “friend” a monkey, getting out of his seat without permission etc…. To me this is all small stuff and typical of a 13 year old boy. They have IEP but with no rewards. I think it is more of a paper trail for them to have him moved. What do I do???

    Reply
  27. Karina

    I know I am reading this years later but I’m amazed at how many parents care only about their child and not an ounce for the poor children who cannot learn because your child is constantly disrupting lessons by getting out of their seat, which, by the way, IS a BIG DEAL, if it happens every day 30 times a day for 180 school days in a row. Even the best teaches cannot work miracles. You have to work together. To those parents I ask, do you have consequences at home? Take something away that they like to do. Have a system. If you are saying the teacher is incompetent because your child is still acting up you must also call yourseld incompetent because your child is still acting up. Enough blaming teachers. Work together. Are you doing your part or leaving it all to the teachers to be able to have someone to blame?

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Karina, You have an ignorant view, if a child has a disability, it is not as simple as ” taking something away or more consequence at home from the parent” the child cannot help their actions, I have a daughter with no disability and a son with adhd and the same discipline for both is not effective, you should try to see both points of view before commenting!

      Reply
    • Robert

      That is a very insulting comment, coming from an “educator” I would think you should know the answer to that. The blame game goes both ways. Do I enjoy the fact that my son acts out and disturbs his class?? Absolutely not. If you only know the tears I have shed regarding his situation, you would change your wording to not be so thoughtless. The fact that these people, myself included, are on this website looking for solutions, should tell you the answer to your dumb questions. I am also labeled “incompetent” as a mother in the schools eyes and it is so unbelievable frustrating. We are looking for the rights of the children. You wouldn’t say such things if the child had dyslexia or any other diability. We aren’t looking for blame, we are looking for solutions. And by the sounds, you are probably a part of the problem.

      Reply
  28. Amelia

    I am not the parent of a child with a disability, but I have been a teacher for many years in an urban school district. In previous years, students with severe violent and disruptive behaviors were taught in a self-contained classroom. This year the school district where I teach decided to integrate all Special Education Emotional Support students in the Least Restrictive Environment. On the floor where I teach, a handful of 3rd grade ES students have disrupted instruction and interfered with the learning of other students not only in their own classroom, but in the entire hallway where there are approximately 150 young students. These ES students leave their classroom at any time of the school day and then proceed to slam doors, yell and scream profanities, and throw desks and chairs in the hallway. Sometimes the behavior begins at the start of the school day, and continues throughout the day. Even with classroom doors closed, the screaming and profanities (especially the F word) are heard loud and clear. It’s pitiful to see young students hold their hands over their ears to try to block out the noise. And due to the fact that this disruptive and violent behavior happens any time of the day, students in the hallway who are going to another room, the nurse, the office, or the bathrooms are at risk of being injured. Despite numerous complaints all year by teachers to the administration, it is now May and the behavior continues. When an adult finally arrives to address the student(s) behavior, the student(s) is either taken to the cafeteria to get something to eat, taken to the gym to throw some balls, or given a laptop. Teachers have been told that these things are done to calm the students. Unfortunately, the students have also learned that by leaving the classroom and exhibiting negative behavior, they will not have to follow classroom rules, pay attention or complete assignments, but instead will be able to run around or get a laptop. Sadly, one of my students was recently hit with a desk being thrown while she was in the hallway. I believe that every student, including a student with an IEP, deserves a quality education in a quiet and safe learning environment. However, according to State and Fed guidelines, and regardless of available space and/or funding, Least Restrictive Environment is not a “one-size-fits-all” for every student. While the majority of Special Ed/ES students do benefit and learn in the LRE, it does not work for some. Each student needs to be evaluated to determine if LRE is not only best for each student, but in addition, best for all students in the same environment. As I’ve witnessed this year, the problem is too serious to ignore.

    Reply

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