A spring 2015 Principal’s Weekly reminded principals that IEP-mandated services for students are not to be canceled except in extraordinary circumstances.
The Principal’s Weekly reminded principals that the programs and services on a student’s IEP — such as related services that include speech, occupational or physical therapy, and counseling — are legally mandated and necessary for the student to make progress in school. Therefore, providers of these services must serve each student as mandated and may not be assigned to other duties like exam scoring, coverage or proctoring for other classes that would prevent them from doing so, except in extraordinary circumstances. An extraordinary circumstance is one that cannot be foreseen by a principal or a school; our interpretation is that this is a snowstorm or widespread illness.
Recently a probationary speech teacher was terminated for not providing enough speech services based on the teacher’s encounter attendance. There were many sessions cancelled due to proctoring dates, test preparation, student absences, trips and citywide tests. This administration held the speech provider accountable for these missed sessions although the administration was clearly responsible for most of these issues. The provider, however, had not reported the proctoring issues and test preparation to the administration or, through a special education complaint, to the UFT.
This is a lesson for all of us: We must ensure that our students get their services. If you are prevented from seeing your students regularly, you must report it formally to the school’s administration, and your speech supervisor. You can also discuss it with your school’s chapter leader and with the speech chapter hotline .In addition, you can complete the online special education complaint form. Your complaint will be handled by Carmen Alvarez’s team of experts. Feel free to discuss any of these issues with us to see the best steps for your individual situation.