March 9, 2023- While I was ordering a small lunch, whilst waiting on my tax returns to be finished, a former colleague came to the counter, to order her own meal. In conversation about the various schools, we both agreed that the placement of a somewhat older and much bigger child with 10-12 year-olds was a travesty. It occurs to me that it is a conundrum, in that it is unfair to not want to deal with a difficult person, out of disagreement with the politically-motivated placement. On the one hand, the machinations of adults should not be the cause of failing to educate a child-even an adolescent, placed among preteens. On the other, the child has the right to an education-even if it means that both teachers and other students are at some risk of injury. The conundrum remains in place, for the next 2 1/2 months. How often I, personally, will abide the situation remains to be seen, as so far, no one has pushed me on the matter.
To me, it is a no-brainer that the child in question be placed among age mates-as that appears to be the least restrictive environment, so conveniently ignored by those who want a more comfortable working situation for themselves. There are two private institutions, designed for children such as the one mentioned above. Both have refused to take him in. It is by this means, that the present situation was contrived, as an expedient way to rid themselves of someone they did not wish to have around. The problem has not gone away, and the child, far from being stupid, has realized that there is a growing number of people who don’t understand his difficulties-and has therefore amplified his rage.
I’ve seen this before; seven years ago, in fact. A much more untenable situation, involving several children, was derived from their inappropriate placements-again, due to a desire for expediency. Two colelagues and I were told to deal with it, the best we could-and the year ground to a halt, with little to show for all our efforts.
No one promises anyone a rose garden, in this life, but if Public Schools are given few resources, and are told by Private facilities, that are designed to deal effectively with specialized situations, that they do not wish to admit difficult children, it is no surprise that the Public Schools are seen as institutions of last resort and are judged as failing.
To me, it is a no-brainer that Public Law 94-142, which requires appropriate placement of a Special Needs student, in the least restrictive environment, be vigourously enforced-as it was when Penny was teaching and when I was a counselor, with input into such placements. It is not up to special needs institutions to cherry-pick who they will and will not accept, based on personality.