Pimp Slap Part 1
The cold calculating atmosphere of an IEP meeting permeated the atmosphere of the psychologist’s office. An IEP is an Individual Education Plan. A plan is created for every Special Education student. Usually the IEP meetings would take place in Mr Ampersand’s office. He was the Bridge Coordinator who conducted most of the IEP meetings and performed many of the miscellaneous details of the Special Education Office. However, he was absent today, so Ms. Asterisk, the School Psychologist was presiding over the meeting.
Present at the meeting were the Special Education student, Joe Underline; the student’s mother, Ms. Underline; the translator, Ms. Quote; the eighth grade counselor, Ms Comma and a Resource Specialist, that was me. Everyone sat stoically awaiting for the events to transpire which would outline the educational course for this student’s next year.
I was apprehensive about not only what I would say during the meeting, but what would be said particularly by Ms. Asterisk. Prior to the meeting she had gone to Mr. Ampersand about what she thought were mistakes in the IEP that I had written up for Joe. Joe was on my case load, so I was responsible for writing up his IEP. Mr. Ampersand requested that I make the changes that Ms Asterisk requested, even though the Department Chair, Ms. Plus had told be to do it the way that it was done. Also the previous year’s Program Specialist for the school district had requested that I do things the way they were done.
So here we have one of the greatest sources of aggravation in Special Education. And that is that there are too many people insisting that they have the right to enter into the IEP writing process many of whom have contradictory demands on the Special Education teacher, so that he/she doesn’t know what is right. Not only that, as I was later to find out, many of these people are not authorized or qualified to enter into the IEP process at all.
The thing that really raised a red flag for me was the fact that a psychologist who is a DIS (Designated Instruction and Services) provider had gone into my IEP line by line and requested that changes be made. Not only had she made some mistakes in her criticisms, but it bothered me that she was the first DIS provider in my entire career that had intervened in my writing of an IEP. Whether she was right or wrong in her criticisms is not really the point. The point in my mind was whether she was authorized and qualified to even enter into the process of writing an IEP. Not only that I had heard comments from other Special Ed teachers that she had done similar things to their IEPs.
Prior to this time DIS providers such as psychologists, hard of hearing specialists, language and speech therapists, and adaptive physical education teachers would simply put their present levels of performance for their students and the resulting yearly goals into the IEP and then leave it at that. But now this woman was intent on going beyond these traditional borders and controlling the contributions of credentialed Special Education teachers.
So, this was all going on in my mind during the meeting putting me in an aggravated frame of mind. I had decided to confront Ms. Asterisk after the meeting, when everyone had left, to explore her rational for what she was doing and challenge her authority to do so. I had a very compelling gut level feeling that all was not right in Glocca Morra.
Barclay Totten copyright 2017