In a gutsy move that may inspire educators statewide, a former Zionsville teacher’s complaint to the Indiana Department of Education has resulted in a finding of eight different violations of laws designed to protect children with special needs.
As the people implementing IEPs and working with children first-hand, teachers and aides are some of the best-suited people to judge how well a child’s education plan is working. Teachers see the child in the classroom each day, see the quality of work being performed, and see the comprehension shown throughout the school day. A school year’s worth of classroom observations are a gold mine of information when it comes to a child with special needs.
However, because teachers and aides are employed by the school district, they are often reluctant to raise a red flag when a child’s plan is not going well. Teachers sometimes fear retribution if they ask for additional help for a student, because it is possible that administrators will ignore the IEP concerns and instead question whether the teacher is capable of handling her job. Some educators sidestep this danger by going directly to parents and recommending that they request some IEP changes. However, a majority of teachers simply take a deep breath and try to educate the best they can with what they have been given.
Cheryl Boyer-Schrock’s bravery in publicly criticizing the way that Zionsville schools handle children with special needs is commendable. She saw that she and other teachers could do more to educate the children in the classroom, but “administrators are tying [our] hands by not providing the resources", as quoted by the Indianapolis Star.
A complaint regarding a child with special needs’ education may be submitted by anyone, not just a parent. If you would like more information about filing a complaint on behalf of a child with a disability, please review the materials provided by the Indiana Department of Education.