Once there was a rabbit preparing for an IEP meeting. She was busy outside her hole, digging up reports, franticly reading articles and books, and trying to find out what her baby bunny needed to be successful in school. As she was looking through all of her papers and books and websites, an administrator fox came up to the rabbit with jaws open wide.
"Haha!" said the fox, "I am going to eat you up!"
"Oh, please, Mr. Fox, don't eat me yet," the rabbit pleaded. "I just need to get through this IEP meeting so my baby bunny will get the services she needs to be successful at school."
"Oh, hoho!" the fox replied. "I won't fall for that. You'll never get the services you need, because there isn't enough money in the school to pay for them!"
"But the law says budget concerns cannot be used to turn a student down for services. Besides, these services will save the district money in the long run. Come on down into my hole, and I will show you all the calculations I have done to prove it."
The fox was incredulous, but he followed the rabbit down the hole. He was never seen again.
A few days later, the rabbit was again busily preparing for the IEP meeting. She was surrounded by letters from specialists, generalists, and therapists. She had three-ring binders stuffed with paperwork, carefully organized. She was working on a powerpoint presentation about her baby bunny's needs, strengths, and supports. As she was busily preparing, a school coyote appeared from the bushes with mouth open wide.
"Haha!" said the coyote, "I am going to eat you up!"
Oh, please, Ms. Coyote, don't eat me yet," the rabbit pleaded. "I just need to get through this IEP meeting so my baby bunny will get the services she needs to be successful at school."
"Oh, hoho!" the coyote replied, "I won't fall for that. You'll never get the services you want, because we can't hire any more personnel for the school year, and we have no one qualified to provide these services!"
"But the law says you need to provide an appropriate education in the least restrictive environment," the rabbit explained, "These services are needed for my bunny to participate in an appropriate environment. Come on down into my hole, and I will show you all the data I have collected to prove it."
The coyote was incredulous, but she followed the rabbit down the hole. She was never seen again.
The following week, the rabbit was sitting on her front porch, having a glass of wine, waiting for little bunny to come home from school. Her friend squirrel saw her and stopped to chat.
"How did the IEP meeting go?"squirrel asked politely, and prepared for the onslaught of commentary. But Rabbit smiled broadly and offered her friend a celebratory glass of wine.
"The meeting was great, We got the services little bunny needs, and she is already doing much better at school. Come down and have some wine!"
So squirrel followed the rabbit into her hole, which though not exactly tidy, was comfortable enough. To one side of the cozy living room was a pile of fox bones. To the other side was a pile of coyote bones. And in the back, stretched out in front of a cozy fire, was a large Advocate Lion.
Moral of the story: the schools may give you all sorts of crazy reasons to not provide services, even if you do all the work to prove the services are needed. What really matters is having the right advocate/lawyer on your side.