Public school districts often face the threat of budget cuts. In some districts, limited funding prevents all students from receiving a quality education when a disproportionate amount of funding goes to accommodate special needs students. Parents are often forced to become vocal advocates for their children and often feel they have taken on a second full-time job as they work to ensure that their children receive appropriate services. Often, attorneys and other independent experts are hired to help parents overcome the hurdles put in place by a district. When confronted with this set of challenges, some principals react by behaving abrasively toward parents and the professionals they have retained to assist them. I don’t envy the difficult task that principals face in these situations, but it is easier to work toward viable solutions when everyone at the table is treated with respect.
*Each public school child who receives special education and related services must have an Individualized Education Program, also known as an IEP.