Angelica Grace Designs Blog

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

HOW YOU CAN HELP

First off, we are speechless! The amount of support we are receiving regarding this issue just boggles my mind. Everyone has stepped up and come armed and ready to take on a battle for the needs of not only our child but in honor of all the other children being affected by this situation who have no voice in the matter. I believe that God has placed all of you here on this blog and in our lives, armed and willing to fight, for a reason. Each of us are prepared for the fight ahead and will push on until we get the attention of the leaders involved. As one commenter wrote in the post below, "A man who stands for nothing, will fall for anything!"
With that said, we'd like to update everyone and let you know that several forms of media outlets have been contacted in regard to this story. Not only did Brent and I make contact with the local news station that ran a feature story on Kenidi and my business a couple of years ago, but another commenter and local Hoosier took it upon herself to contact an additional television news crew as well as our local newspaper for us. To her, we are thankful! We pray that God will shine through no matter what platform or tool we use to get our concerns out there. We have also contacted two local attorney's in the area that deal with "school law" only. We are in talks with them on how we should proceed. Lastly, we have been graciously introduced to Indiana State Representative, Dave Frizzell, who is willing to help us in this fight. He has asked that we immediately begin sending all support emails to him directly. I've listed the information and instructions below on how and what to include within your email to him and the other school administrators. Please be sure to copy us, Brent and Angie, on the email you do send to each of them so that we can keep a copy on hand for our own legal file. We want hard copy documentation of just how many supporters we have in this matter.
Lastly, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE forward this on to anyone and everyone that you can think of. (even if they are out of state, out of the country, without special needs children, etc.) Forward it to anyone who will listen and take the time to write. The more letters we have, the better. Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me. In the meantime, we thank you again for your support and are forever indebted to each of you for your voices and encouragement. I pray that God will use this situation for his glory and that he will use the rest of us in his plans along the way. Please see info below in regard to your "show of support" emails....
*****Attention*****
Please send an email offering your support for our efforts to keep the special education (essential skills) class in Kenidi’s school and prevent it from being replaced by the scheduled high ability class. Please do not think that everyone else will send an email and therefore you need not send yours. We need your support! Please take a second and send one on behalf of Kenidi and all of the other children out there right now without a voice in this matter. As one supporter said, we feel this is a “legal” argument and not just a “passionate mommy” one.

We have made communication with Indiana State Representative, David Frizzell. He is prepared to fight with us by contacting both local and state officials. He needs to be armed with as many emails as possible and is expecting them in his office over the next day or so. Please forward this letter to as many friends and/or family as you can and ask for their support as well. Taking 60 seconds to write an email could change the lives of children with special needs everywhere that are depending on us for a voice. Please copy us on all emails so we can confirm our total number of supporters and have your letters armed with us and on hand. Our email address is: theseamans@sbcglobal.net Please also include all of the other email addresses you see shown below. We ask that your emailed letter be polite and professional but firm! The following information should be within your email to ensure they all get to the correct person(s):

To: State Representative, David Frizzell
Email address:
h93@in.gov, haddixb@centergrove.k12.in.us, longw@centergrove.k12.in.us, kstricker@ssjcs.k12.in.us, stephanoffs@centergrove.k12.in.us, theseamans@sbcglobal.net
Put in subject line: Support for Kenidi Seaman

FYI: You need not include the info below in your email but we wanted to present a bullet list of facts concerning our experience in this matter thus far. They are as follows….

THE FACTS:
1) A parent task force for high abilities children lobbied for new high ability curriculum to be added to 2008-09 programs.
2) School Superintendent is making room for 2 new high abilities class rooms and curriculum by moving the special needs children and their established program out of the school where it has been housed and successful for years.
3) No other new programs are moving in and no other current programs are being moved out of this particular elementary school.
4) Program is established and been in place for years. We are not asking for the creation of a new program but instead requesting the current one be allowed to stay at the elementary school where it has been located in the past.
5) Superintendent, Dr. Stephanoff, did not show up to his scheduled meeting with Brent & Angie Seaman to discuss concerns.
6) Assistant superintendent, William Long, attended the meeting and represented the fact that he was the final decision maker and after a short discussion concluded that the change was final.
7) The superintendent has not made himself accessible. Assistant Director of special services, Kathy Stricker, and assistant superintendent,William Long, have been difficult to communicate with and offered no compassion or spirit of compromise. Neither leader was willing to offer possibility of further discussions pertaining to compromise regarding this difficult situation.

WHY IT'S IMPORTANT TO US:
1) It’s important to us that the school complies with the Federal IDEA act as it is required by law.
2) It will provide stable environment to students with special needs
3) It will allow Kenidi to attend her home school with siblings and neighbors of the community that offer familiarity.
4) Attending her home school will help develop her social and emotional skills with assistance from peers.
5) Establish boundaries to the school for future shifting/moving of students and prevent the lasting effects on children unable to adapt to change well.
6) Allow healthy typical peer school children to interact with special need children which in turn will teach and allow them to realize not all children are the same. Life is a big melting pot of people with all abilities.
7) Having all siblings in one elementary school will allow parent involvement (i.e., PTO, room Moms, field trip chaperone's, etc., etc., etc.) Parent required to travel back and forth to multiple elementary schools are limited to the amount of time they’d be able to devote to events where parent volunteers are needed

14 Comments:

Anonymous Kristin said...

OH man!! They messed with the wrong people!! OOPS!!

Kristin

5/07/2008 8:53 PM  
Anonymous Pam Ciamillo said...

Angie and Brent, as a customer of Angie's and A MOM, I am so proud of how you guys aren't taking this lying down. Good for you. These administrators will listen if the roar is loud enough. The squeaky wheel ALWAYS gets the oil. May God bless you in this matter, I will keep you in my prayers and please keep me posted of anyone else we can contact in your fight for your little angel. I will send the emails that you requested now! God Bless, Pam Ciamillo

5/07/2008 9:10 PM  
Anonymous Jennie said...

Hey Ang! I want to read the blog to see how I can help when I get a few minutes. So sorry this is happening. I was glad when Keelie's school decided to add the high ability program to her school next year. However I would never want them to do that at the expense of another program(especially special needs children)! Do the parents of the children in the high ability classes know to what expense their children paid to have such a program? Maybe if they all knew they could refuse to let their children in the classes therefore taking away the need for them! I know how frustrating it is trying to get info and meet with people that you just can't get through to. You are doing the best thing as to making anyone and everyone aware. It takes a village, right? I'll do what I can to help! My sister-in-law and aunt-in-law work at the Daily Journal. I will forward this to them for you! TTYL Hang in there!

5/07/2008 9:12 PM  
Anonymous Chelsea Hayes said...

Just sent a letter, and I have forwarded on your email to a friend whose daughter has special needs. She knows MANY people and will most likely rally some support too!
Good luck!

5/07/2008 9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I get an AMEN?

That's proof!

Proof of what you ask? That God is listening and answering prayers. Oh Angie, I am so proud of you both along with all of your bloggers for coming together as one to fight this mess that has been created. Way to be such wonderful parents and most of all way to stick up for Kenidi and all of the other children who could be effected by this. Way to stand up for what is right.

Melissa

ps. Mother's Day is right around the corner and you are a prime example of why we celebrate that day.

5/07/2008 9:29 PM  
Anonymous Rein said...

Good for you! If you ever need some federal legal advice, just ask. I am only a click away.
Rein

5/07/2008 9:37 PM  
Anonymous Shadia said...

Hello Angie
I just read your emails about what is going on in your daughters school. I actually work in as a School Social Worker in Michigan. I deal with Individualized Education Plans on a daily basis. I do not know what your daughter Kenidi is qualified under on her IEP but you may have the right to ask for her to be mainstreamed at her home school along with accommodations and modification and maybe even a one on one par pro to assist her. If you start saying this to the School District along with some of the other parents who have children that are going to be moved they may consider keeping the classroom. In the end they will look at cost and if enough parents start asking and putting demands they will realize it is much easier for them to keep the program in its original school. This is sad but for seven years I have watched parents fight for different things and it just seems that the parents that fight the hardest always end up a winner. You should look up to see if you have any agencies in your area that provide Advocates that will attend all your IEP meetings. The louder your voice the closer you are to getting what you want. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers and I hope you get everything you are asking for.
Thanks,
Shadia

5/07/2008 11:24 PM  
Anonymous Kim P. said...

Hi Angie,

I am sorry to hear about all of this. I did forward your email on. I am working on my email. I was wondering if you were going to include the school board too. I think they need to be aware of this issue as well. There are a lot of changes ahead of our school system(schools closing, redistricting, larger schools, teacher support staff being let go, support programs being taken away) and I feel that it is important for the school board to realize the impact that all of these changes, like moving Kenidi's class, is making on the students. It seems like they are making these decisions without thoroughly thinking them through and the impact they will make.

Good luck,
Kim

5/07/2008 11:27 PM  
Anonymous Dana Bowman said...

Angie & Brent,
We had special prayer for your family in our church services tonight. I forwarded your email to 120 people today in my personal address book. I have over 2000 (yes-thousand) people on my consignment sale email list and I will also be forwarding them a copy before the week is out. We are happy to help in any way possible.

Dana Bowman
www.sugarandspiceconsignment.com

5/08/2008 6:20 AM  
Anonymous Kristin Donovan said...

You are such a good Mom!!!!!! I don’t even know you and I feel so proud of you…I am really enjoying reading all the past blogs about you’re family. It reminds me a lot of my family dynamic although it is my oldest who struggles. It has been kind of refreshing to read and I realize once again that I am not alone on these private battles and hurt that only as a Mother are felt. Blogging is pretty cool!!! I like it!! Like the music too. I sit at my computer and cry just reading these…

5/08/2008 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Angie Deaton said...

Angie and Brent,
I just wanted to say that I commend you on your fight for your daughter. You have every right to feel angry. God has put you in this situation for a reason and I think it is to be the voice of other people in your situation who may not know to get this situation changed or may not have the money to do what you are doing. For that I thanks you for stepping up to the plate.. GOD BLESS YOU!
We are in Mooresville Indiana and we have a program at our school called "Peak" which is for the over achievers. My daughter was in that program for 2 years. At our school we do not have special classrooms for them, the teacher sets aside extra time for them while the rest of the class worked on homework or classwork. So my point is if other school systems have basically the same program without having to let other classes go then why can't your school system? Or why don't they see about using Portable classrooms for the Excel kids. Our school is using 4 portables at this time and the kids actually love them.
I will keep you and your family in my prayers.
Angie Deaton

5/08/2008 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Everyone. I think it is so wonderful how everyone is offering their prayers and support. I do have on thought that I want to leave you with. Please write a letter and forward it on to the listed Email addresses. Don't hesitate while thinking "oh, my letter would only be one." You never know, even if we don't currently have a child with special needs, we all could one day. Or who is to say that a child that we currently have couldn't have a life changing accident and become a child with special needs. Let's fight for all children of today, tomorrow, and the future.

Melissa

5/08/2008 12:05 PM  
Anonymous Jodi Smith (AZ) said...

Angie,
I came across your website/blog some time ago and peruse it occasionally. I have a son, Jake, who is the same age as your daughter. Your recent blog post really struck a nerve with me and I am absolutely stunned by the arbitrary nature of what your school district has pulled on you! I can very much, on a personal level, relate to your feelings and frustration with this situation. My son, Jake, was recently diagnosed with PDD (Pervasive Development Disorder) which is a mild form of autism. This has come as such a shock to me as he had been previously tested twice by our school district and only diagnosed him with a moderate to severe speech delay. While he’s been receiving speech therapy for the past 2 years, no one, not even the speech therapist seemed to suspect any other potential issues. I had to obtain this diagnosis through a private psychologist due to my school district’s ineptitude.



The long and short of it is I feel your pain. My son turns 5 on July 24th and is set to enter kindergarten this fall. My husband and I have struggled with the decision to send him to kindergarten this fall or hold him back another year. After much though and debate, I believe we have finally decided to send him to kindergarten. A HUGE part of this decision is due to the fact he will be attending the SAME school (which is our local neighborhood school) as my older son Zach (age 7—entering 2nd grade in the fall). For many of the same reasons you want your daughter to attend the same school as her brother and neighborhood friends, I know I can rely on the support from my older son and his friends to help Jake along and, most importantly, to feel accepted. I work outside the home full-time so knowing they will be at the same after-school program is of tremendous relief to me (and, of course, it will somewhat simplify our lives by having both kids at the same school--finally!)



I would be beyond livid and furious if my school district did what yours has just done. In my book, you are completely justified in fighting them tooth and nail because what they are doing is absolutely pathetic and ridiculous. I have some battles of my own to fight and I know I would appreciate any outside assistance I could get. Therefore, I promise to forward my thoughts on to your local senator and school district as well. I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers. Good luck!
Jodi

5/08/2008 4:57 PM  
Anonymous Shaune said...

Angie,
I forwarded all the info to my friend. She is a former teacher and attends most all the school board meetings. She said she’s working with another family right now dealing with the same type issues in CG. She knows all about the mess the superintendent has made over the past few years and also is aware of the asst. super’s character. She felt confident that you will win your case as what they are doing is unlawful and cannot claim funding as a reason for not providing for the special needs groups. There is a similar case with a child at Roncalli as well, and by law, they are even required to provide for the special needs in private school. I felt encouraged for your case after talking with her…she will definitely be all over this and may contact you.

Praying for you…be encouraged! God has a plan (maybe bigger than we know) with this!

Shaune

8/11/2010 4:08 PM  

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