Settling a Disagreement with Your Child’s School

11 Jul

More than likely there will come a time when you disagree with your child’s school about what is best for your child (if it hasn’t happened already). Sometimes you will have a different vision for child than their school does. You know your child better than they do, you see your child in many different settings (they see them only at school). You know your child’s dreams for the future and you want to help them obtain them and you should. You are your child’s best advocate!
That being said, if you disagree with something you child’s school says or does in regard to your child, you should speak up and voice your opinion. I suggest that you always speak up quickly, do not let an issue go for several days or weeks and then complain. If you are dissatisfied, you need to give the school a chance to fix the problem right away. On the other hand, you may not want to speak up until you have had a chance to get all the information and think about it for a bit. Sometimes when we speak immediately our emotions get the best of us. You want to always act in a professional and rational way. If you don’t, you risk losing your credibility with the school staff. You become “Crazy Mom/Dad.” You don’t want that label. Besides, you want the school to know that you are only trying to get the best for your child and you do not have a personal score to settle with them. Likewise, the staff should communicate with you in professional way.  However, if a school staff member treats you with disrespect, you need to let them know you will not tolerate such treatment. Immediately call that person’s superior and file a complaint.
If the school does not solve the problem to your satisfaction or denies there is a problem, you would then take your disagreement to the next level…a letter. I would write a letter to the person you have communicated with and send a copy to the principal (or the asst. Superintendent if the principal is the person you are disagreeing with). In the letter, I would restate the disagreement, state how you attempted to solve it and ask that another attempt at a resolution be made. Usually, this is enough for the school to know you are serious about your complaint and they will attempt to come to a resolution with you. If your letter does not work, I would then ask for a meeting with all parties to be present (reconvene your child’s team). If a resolution is not met at the team meeting, you should put your complaint in writing to the school again and ask for mediation. Be aware that you may have to revoke your permission you gave for the IEP to get mediation and this will affect your child’s services. Be sure that the disagreement is worth the fight before you take this extreme measure. Remember that if you go to mediation, there is a chance you could lose.

Good luck and remember you are your child’s best advocate and to always be rational and professional in all your dealings with the school.

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