Carl J. Petersen: A School District’s Gag Rule
Carl Petersen keeps a watchful eye on the Los Angeles school district. He’s also the father of a child with an individualized education program (IEP), and in that capacity, he had a few things to say to the folks overseeing the district’s special education program.
The return to school campuses is supposed to be a choice. For families who do not feel safe about having their children physically return to school, the district needs to ensure that distance learning is delivered in the best possible way. Throughout this pandemic, other districts have allowed Non-Public Agency (NPA) Behavior Intervention Implementation Specialists (BII) into students’ homes, but the LAUSD absolutely refuses to do this. The district’s staff keeps on saying that they are working on it but I have not heard any indication from anybody who has had an IEP that the district is saying anything but “no.”
I have raised this issue at my own child’s IEP but hit this same roadblock and had to engage with a lawyer and proceed past the IEP team. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what the results were because in order to settle the case I had to agree to a confidentiality clause.
That’s right. If you get the district to provide needed services, you can’t let anyone know what services the district will provide.
The use of confidentiality statements is a long-time problem at the LAUSD. I exposed the issue during my first campaign for a seat on the school board in 2015. During my 2017 run against Monica Garcia, I included a mandate “that the LAUSD will discontinue the use of confidentiality agreements in resolving special education due process cases” in the resolutions that I would introduce if elected to the board. The “Improving Special Education Within the LAUSD” resolution also stipulated that “previously signed agreements will not be enforced.”