Month: July 2020

“Bound By Law”

Quite often  (even in these Covid times) I  hear misinformation and misunderstanding from professionals and parents alike regarding children’s issues and the school’s response.

Maybe it’s my advancing years, but I find my crankiness meter rising as I hear the misinformation passed along.  Much of my professional mission (both with parents live and through the blogs and books) is to try and dispel these notions.

There may be a tipping point, though, where I am pushed over the edge.

Or as the Beatles said in one of my favorite songs, “It’s all too much for me to take.”

As an example, a mom recently insisted that the school was “bound by law” to accept my recommendations and findings regarding her 12 year old daughter  who clearly had  a variety of “issues.”

Sometimes in this work I feel like some version of the Grim Reaper as I try to bring a dose of reality into the situation. Recognizing that I am not a special education attorney, I respectfully told the mom, “No, they are not. They are not bound by law to accept my findings.”

As an  outside professional evaluating children, it is my job to evaluate the child, determine what is going on (from my perspective) and guide parents in what I call, “next step thinking.”

That is, they need to be informed what they should do next based on the findings.

While there are some relatively objective tests given to the child within the assessment, much of what is concluded is based on an interpretation of the test findings.  In other words a professional such as myself is offering a professional opinion,  with the operative word being “opinion.”

This opinion isn’t always objective in a “yes-no,” “has it – doesn’t have it” determination.  There are many variables or shades of gray that go into the ultimate conclusions.

In other words, there is no blood test or x-ray to comment on any reading, attention, writing or emotional issues that are concerning with the child.  This is as true for dyslexia as it is for ADHD/ADD.

Ideally, schools should take the findings  of the outside assessment into consideration in terms of what they offering the child relative to accommodations and interventions, but that is different than being required to accept them.

There are plenty of questionable methods or treatments that are promoted through advertisements, television and other media that are not supported by any research or clinical experience.

If the school gets a report recommending such an approach, is the school required to follow it?

No.  They are not.

The only time (as I understand it) where the school is required to follow a recommendation is when there has been a due process, special education hearing.  If the hearing finds that the child is not receiving an appropriate education, then they are bound by law to follow the recommendations of the hearing and the outside professionals.

Takeaway Point

Schools should consider the findings of reputable outside professional evaluations, but they are not required or “bound by law” to follow them.

Copyright, 2020
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“To Complain About the School, Press 1”

Recently an email came to us from the Maroochydore High School in Queensland, Australia.  Included in the email was an audio phone message.

The school staff had voted unanimously to record the  message on the school’s  answering machine.

The message came about because the school implemented a policy requiring students to be responsible for their children’s absences and missing homework.

As it was explained, the school and teachers were being sued by parents  requesting  that their child’s failing grades be changed to passing grades, even though the children were absent 15-30 times (pre-coronavirus) during the semester and did not make up enough of the work from what  they had missed to get passing grades

Recognizing that humor can be tricky (one person’s funny is another person’s offense), the following transcription of the phone message is cautiously offered:

“Hello, you have reached the automated answering service of your school.  In order to assist you in connecting you to the right staff member, please listen to all of the following options before making your selection.”


  •   To lie about why your child is absent, Press 1.
  •   To make excuses for why your child did not do his homework, Press 2.
  •   To complain about what we do, Press 3. 
  •   To swear at staff members, Press 4.
  •   To ask why you didn’t get information that has already been enclosed in your newsletter and several fliers that have been mailed to you, Press 5.
  •   If you want us to raise your child, Press 6.
  •   If you want to reach out, slap or hit someone, Press 7.
  •   To request another teacher for the third time this year, Press 8.
  •   To complain about bus transportation, Press 9. 
  •   To complain about school lunches, Press 0.

If you realize the real world and your child must be accountable and responsible for his or her behavior, classwork and homework and it’s not your teachers’ fault for your child’s lack of effort, please hang up and have a nice day.”

 Takeaway Point

Pretty funny.

Hope you are laughing too.



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