I am writing in response to the editorial on IEP procedural rules at OPRF High School that appeared in the May 31 edition of Wednesday Journal [Middle ground on IEPs]. The editorial was an affront to all students with disabilities and their families. I am astonished that the Journal would print anything so foolish without appearing to do the tiniest bit of research on this subject.

The IEP procedural rule you complained about in your editorial (requiring at least one general education teacher to attend each special ed student’s annual IEP meeting) is established law, not a subject for debate. There is nothing to debate here. This law stems from a statute that was adopted by Congress nearly a decade ago after intense scrutiny of research regarding students with special needs. Public schools are required to follow it. Federal funds are allocated to public schools across the U.S. to pay for compliance.

What’s more, the “flexibility” in the law that you describe is just not there. Did the Journal call the U.S. Department of Education? Or was the only source of information for your editorial the same administrators at OPRFHS who have violated this law for years?

Without exception, every public school in the country is required to comply with this law requiring regular ed teachers to attend IEP meetings, and they do. Did the Journal call a single Illinois public school district to ask about this? I did. The Chicago Public Schools district has more than 425,000 students?#34;141 times the size of OPRF. Of these, 85,000 to 95,000 are special ed students. Numbers notwithstanding, at least one CPS regular ed teacher, and often more, attends each and every annual IEP meeting for each and every special ed student in the CPS district. They do it because this is the law.

I also phoned Evanston High School, Glenbard South High School and Riverside-Brookfield High School and learned that they, too, follow this IEP procedural rule and would not consider doing otherwise. Recently, the New York State teachers’ union, with 525,000 members, has pushed to have more than one general education teacher attend IEP meetings.

Regardless what District 200 administrators and Wednesday Journal’s editors think, the laws in this country already do protect students with disabilities. The problem is that OPRFHS does not follow any of these laws. Over the past two-plus school years, I have observed that OPRF administrators, teachers, staff and special ed personnel routinely violate the federal disability rights and special education laws. Their special ed director and staff don’t even know the rules. Even worse, I have observed that OPRFHS special ed students and their parents are routinely retaliated against by OPRF for asserting their legal rights under these laws, though this is illegal. Parents’ efforts to obtain much-needed disability law training for OPRF teachers, administrators and staff have been ignored and rebuffed.

This situation needs to be addressed now. Four decades ago, African Americans faced similar ignorance, bigotry and outright retaliation when they tried to assert their legal rights granted under the Civil Rights Act and the Voters’ Rights Act of 1964. Would the Journal print an editorial in 2006 opining that African Americans shouldn’t have civil rights in public schools because they’re expensive? Of course not. A newspaper editorial attacking the already established rights of students with disabilities is similarly offensive.

The IEP rules and other laws and rules protecting the rights of students with disabilities in public schools in this country have been on the books for decades. It’s the law, and it’s high time that OPRF?#34;and Wednesday Journal?#34;recognized this.

Meg Reynolds

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