Angelica Grace Designs Blog

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

RIGHT & WRONG

As I begin this post, it is 4am Indiana time. I've laid in bed long enough-tossing and turning-wide awake after yesterdays events pertaining to Kenidi. I've fought the need to blog right now because I realize my emotions are raw at this moment and because of that-I'm fired up. However, after laying there trying to talk myself out of this therapeutic writing during such wee hours of the night, I finally quit fighting it and decided to sit down in the den and try to give you a small glimpse of what Brent and I are feeling right now as well as explain why we feel the way we do. I warn you up front - this will not be a quick version. For that, I am sorry. I encourage you to read all of the story once you begin reading this. The kicker to the story comes in later. In order to get all of the details and see what we are up against, you must follow along all the way to the bottom of this journey. I will preface this by saying that my ability to remain "Christ-like" has been tested in the past few days. I am doing my best to handle myself in a professional and adult fashion. However, I'll be the first to admit that I am not one to hold back during trying times. As many of you know from the past, I resort to writing as a therapeutic way of healing or as a way to help me get thru the moment. In some instances, this has been bad. In other instances, it has worked out for the good. I have no idea where these words will leave me this time but I'm willing to risk it. Over the past two years since Kenidi has attended a developmental preschool (which is away from Brennen's school but within the same district), I've longed for the day when her and Brennen would finally be in the same elementary school together. I knew that wouldn't be possible until she reached kindergarten though. Not only would it help me be able to devote more time to helping in her class beings that I'm there helping out in Brennen's so much but once kindergarten did roll around, she'd be moved to her "home" school (the school for our area) and she'd finally be with her brother and all of the neighbor kids that she knows and loves. She would be with familiar faces - with people that understand her and her condition. She'd be in her "home" school. What does the word "home" mean to you? For me it means security, safety, comfort, love, compassion, understanding, etc. The community your children and my children live and attend school in isn't just a word - "community." The Webster's online dictionary states that the word "community" means this: The district where people live-a group of people living in a particular local area-common ownership-a group having common interests-agreement as to goals-a group of interdependent organisms inhabiting the same region and interacting with each other-belonging to and maintained by and for the local community.
Now, as a special needs parent...you find some sort of comfort or solice in knowing that your child who can't speak or function for themselves, will one day go to school with her older brother-who can then become an extra pair of eyes and ears for us-the parents. Although we know Brennen can't physically be there 24/7 to oversee Kenidi and all of her daily activities at school, he'd at least just "be there." He might be there to protect her when someone got out of line or out of hand with the teasing. He might be able to ensure she got off the bus and to her class without issue. He'd be able to be in the halls of the same place she was-day in and day out. This same theory goes for the neighbor children that know Kenidi and her condition. There were several kids in our area that would have quite possibly ended up in Kenidi's general education kindergarten classroom. These were kids that knew-for the most part-that Kenidi was "special" and their parents even trained them and spoke of the fact that they'd need to look out for Kenidi next year and take care of her. As a special needs parent, this kind of support and compassion for your child is HUGE! We live in a world where unfortunately....kids are cruel now days. Brent and I have feared the day or days when we'd have to battle a child and/or their parents when it came to harsh words said or insinuated about Kenidi and her medical issue's. So far, this has never been an issue. We feel blessed in the fact that most kids up to this point have really treated Kenidi like she is some kind of local celebrity or something. Even kids in 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th grade adore her. Why? Because they know her. They know her personality, her needs, her smile, and they love her for all of it. As I walk through Brennen's school with her in tow, I've got teachers and therapists that somehow already know her even though she wasn't set to attend school there until this fall. She is comfortable there. We are comfortable there. Last Monday, Brent and I attended a two hour long case conference (IEP) meeting for Kenidi at Brennen's school which was also set to be Kenidi's school this fall. In attendance were approximately 8 other people that were part of the school staff, administration, school psychologist, etc. They spent that two hours convincing us of all the reasons why they felt Kenidi was ready for kindergarten-even though her disabilities would require her to attend a "special education or essential skills" classroom during part of her day. They introduced us to who would be Kenidi's kindergarten teacher next year and we immediately fell in love with this woman. They had us sit in on some of her class that afternoon so that we could watch how everything worked in a typical day. Before that, we peeked in on the essential skills classroom down the hall where Kenidi would be placed during part of her day. It is a special education classroom that houses children similar to her. Brent and I left the meeting on Monday feeling really good about our decision to move her on to kindergarten rather than hold her back another year in the developmental preschool. The staff and people present at that meeting played a huge role in helping us to get to that point.
Fast forward three days after that meeting. On Thursday of last week I received a letter in the mail from the assistant director of the special services program for our area. Unfortunately, I didn't open the letter until the next morning. On Friday. In the letter it stated that the essential skills program for Brennen and Kenidi's (soon to be school) was being moved to another school in the area and that Kenidi would now be attending that elementary school rather than her own "home school." Needless to say, I was furious. I immediately got on the phone and called Brent. By this time, I was balling. I felt emotions come out of me that I haven't felt in years. For a moment there, I didn't even recognize myself. A thousand things were rushing through my head.... Back to two different schools. Back to juggling two different room Mom jobs in two totally different schools. Back to having two different PTO's, two different principals, two different schedules for the kids. They want parent involvement in schools now days and preach how a child's educational success is based on parent involvement in the schools. Yet, they want to spread parents like me between two totally different schools and make us run back and forth like chickens with our heads cut off if we want to be a willing and involved parent to the both of our kids. Two totally different lives in two totally different schools most importantly meant that we were back to having Brennen separated from Kenidi. Only this time, it was a separation that was forever. They are wanting Kenidi to attend this other school - always - through all of her elementary school career or until the program is moved elsewhere in the future. This isn't just for kindergarten. Again, it was forever - or at least for the next 6 years of our lives anyhow. I was devastated. Brent was beyond angry.
Go back to the meeting three days earlier. We were stroked and handled with care. Told that everything would be great "here" for Kenidi. Told that the kids would "love" her there and that she would do great "there." Well "there" is now a whole new place. Basically for Kenidi, it will be like moving to a whole new city or state. She'll know no one. Neither will we. On the weekends she knows her friends in our area. On Mondays, after playing all weekend and all summer long with those faces she knows, she'll be confirmed once again that she is "different" when they ship her off to the bus stop to attend a school that she is unfamiliar with.
Now...here is where the story changes even more. This is the kicker. As if this information we learned on Friday wasn't already a blow to the gut, then we have to go and find this out: I called the assistant director immediately once I read this letter. She confirmed the details I had just read but also made mention of the fact that the school needed to - now follow me here - these were her E-X-A-C-T words....
the school needed to "make space" for the "high abilities class" that was being introduced into the curriculum. What does this mean you ask? I'm sure you are thinking the same thing I was at that moment. In a nutshell, this means that because they didn't already have room for a "high abilities (a.k.a excelled honor kids classroom), that something needed to go. What has to go....Kenidi's essential skills class. Yes, you read that right. They are basically kicking out the slow kids class in order to make room for the excelled kids class. WOW! I could not believe that this woman just told me that. I'm thinking to myself....back up-back up. Repeat that again. And she did. Needless to say, when I heard her say that, my calm cool collected manner went way beyond rational. Irrational and down right irate is how I ended up to be frank. I went to the opposite end of the spectrum. I ended the call with telling her that this would make a great news headline when I needed to call the local media for help. Slow kids class removed to "make space" for the smart kids. That is a catchy headline, wouldn't you agree? I told her that I wanted a meeting with the superintendent of schools in our area and that I wanted it "now." I let her know that if I didn't get it ASAP that things were going to get very ugly real quick. This was Friday morning. On Saturday morning she called to tell me that she had a meeting set up with the superintendent for us at 4:15pm on Monday.

In the meantime, I called Brennen's principal at his school, I called Kenidi's teacher that she currently has in the developmental preschool and whom also sat in on that two hour long case conference meeting last Monday. I called and got school board names and phone #'s, etc. Brent and I immediately went into "fight mode." The other kicker to the story is that while on the phone with that assistant director, she also informed me that as we sat around that table last week for the case conference meeting, everyone in attendance there was aware of the change. So...that means that we all sat there and waisted our time for nothing. They coaxed us into thinking all was well and that Kenidi would do great attending school there-only to learn three days later that they knew all along was what getting ready to happen. I will say that Kenidi's current teacher pulled us aside at the meeting yesterday before it began and told us that she was not aware of the decision that had been made at that time. The director said they all knew about it. I don't care if even one of them knew about it...they should have told us. They should have been forthright in mentioning that there was a good possibility that things were getting ready to change and Kenidi "might not" attend her home school and that she could potentially get sent to another school within the district. They should have been honest and up front. They weren't!
Now...let me back up and reiterate the fact that I do not hold anything against the "high abilities kids" or their parents for wanting this class added to the curriculum. If I had an advanced student, I might want those classes for him or her too. I realize that they are doing and fighting for what they think is best for their child. I commend these kids and the amazing abilities they have. I only wish I had some of their intelligence. This is not the problem of the "high abilities" kids or their families. This is the problem of our school system. They need to find room for all of us. No one program needs to be singled out-shuffled around-moved-etc. in order to bring in another. One doesn't take precedent or priority over another. Well it shouldn't anyhow. In this case though, I can't seem to get anyone to explain to me why I shouldn't walk away feeling that the high abilities classroom pushed my daughters special education classroom out of the school.
We showed up to the meeting yesterday only to be told that the Superintendent "unfortunately" couldn't make it now and that the "assistant-superintendent" was there to fill in for him. When I expressed my disappointment in the fact that no one called me ahead of time to tell me this or to at least just reschedule the meeting to a day and time when the "super" could be there, they assured both Brent and I that we had the "decision makers" in the room with us. We gave our concerns and opinions only to be given 100 different excuses on why we should be OK with the school systems decision. They tried to avoid the "deleted the slow class to make space for the excelled class" issue like the plague. They told us we were over simplifying the issue at hand and that it could have easily been an English class replacing the special ed class instead of a high abilities class replacing special ed. Brent reminded them that this isn't the case - English kicking out special ed - but that instead we were there because it is the high abilities class ultimately kicking out special ed. We reiterated to them that we weren't asking for anything that we didn't deserve. It wasn't like we were in there asking for them to move the moon or change school lunches. We didn't want free services, we didn't want extra care or privileges for Kenidi. We just want what was existing all these years up until last week and we want want our property taxes pay for. They pay for Kenidi and Brennen to attend the school in our area - not a totally different school in the same district. We told them how hard it would be on some of those special needs kids that had already been at Brennen's school in the special ed classroom for several years leading up to this. Some of those kids are autistic or have disabilities that do not adapt well to change. Those kids know the environment and are comfortable there. However, with the swoop of a signature, they have forever altered and changed the future of these kids lives as well as their parents lives. To someone that hasn't been around a special needs child or doesn't have one of their own, this might not make much sense. But...you ask a parent battling a daily routine with a special needs child what happens when they alter that normal routine or that environment and they'll be the first to tell you that the outcome is not pretty.
These kids go through enough. Let's face it. Special needs children didn't pick their life. They didn't come into this world asking to be that way. They are singled out and "made different" enough in life. As parents, we are constantly battling insurance companies, schools, etc. to prove that they deserve care. Bottom line, these kids should be the last kids to go, the last kids to be moved, the last kids to be shuffled around from school to school, etc. As an angry Mom with an opinion, I feel that if any child could handle changes and new environments, it would be the excelled kids. The honor students. You know...the students that have parents who WANT to single them out and MAKE them different on purpose because they are so smart. Surely these parents would agree that their child could adapt better to a different school or environment more so than our special needs children. Wouldn't you think? In the end though, it all goes back to the school system. Brent and I feel that the school should come up with a way to provide both. Again, no one class should be singled out. It all comes down to money, politics, and priority though. It's called life and unfortunately my daughter is now a casualty of "life" at its finest.
We left the meeting yesterday even more mad than we were when we went in. The end result was not a successful one. The choice to appoint the assistant superintendent to stand in for that meeting was not a good one. How this man even holds that title, I have no idea. Talk about having zero people skills. He was there for a power trip and that was about the jest of it. As I studied his demeanor and his personality, it was very apparent that he was just meeting with us to "pacify" us and that he had no intentions of truly listening to our concerns or considering the possibility of further discussions down the road. When Brent challenged him being the "decision maker," he immediately shut down and the rest was history. He told us that the answer was NO and that they were not changing any of the decisions that they had made. We let him know that his decisions had made our decisions. At that moment, Brent and I stood up and walked out.
I left there - made a few phone calls from the truck - as well as when we got back home - and prayed some more. I have no idea what the outcome will be from the phone calls I made but in a nutshell, we are calling in the troops. We are lining up the army of people that we feel will best convey our story, our concerns, and our mission. As I told the assistant superintendent when I stood up to leave, "its fixing to get really noisy around here."
I've laid in bed praying all night long. I've prayed for peace, for wisdom, for discernment, maturity, etc. concerning this situation. The "Angie" in me wants to get MAD! The "Angie" in me wants to throw myself down on the ground and throw an utter and all out complete fit. The Brent in Brent wants to send cannon bombs from our house over to their office. The "parents" in us want to cry - and we have.
We fight and fight to make Kenidi feel "normal." We fight to make her feel at home. We fight to prove she can stand with the best of them. We fight to find her the best care we can possibly provide. We fight to keep on fighting! It hurts to the core when your hands are tied and someone else is making the decisions for your child - for you. We want what is in the best interest of our daughter. Their decision is not in her best interest. We are prepared to go to great lengths to show that. As we assemble the troops and line up our defense in the coming days and weeks, I ask that you keep praying for us and for Kenidi as well as for those other parents involved. As I said yesterday, Kenidi is not the only child being affected by this decision. If you should feel lead to want to help us in the crusade, to be a voice in this matter, please email me. We can send you the email addresses of the director and the superintendents office so that you can email them with your opinions on behalf of us. You do not need to be an Indiana resident. In fact, the more voices we have from all over, the better. If you know someone that is affected by special needs or disabilities, forward this blog post on to them. Give them my email address (Angie@AngelicaGraceDesigns.com) and tell them to contact me for ways that they can help voice their opinions too. The more we can spread the word and get this issue out there, the better off all of us and our children will be in the future. As I told Brent last night, if we lay down and give in to this decision, what will we be forced to lay down for next? He and I aren't willing to stand by and allow these administrators to make such unrealistic decisions that make no common sense whatsoever. The only sense they make to the school system is this kind of CENTS $$$$$$$$$$$$.

Stay tuned for updates. In the meantime, thank you to all of you who commented or emailed me directly yesterday. At one point on the way home, I was reading my emails out loud to Brent in the car from my cell phone. I burst into tears during reading one of those emails because I just couldn't get over the overwhelming response we got from that short little post I made yesterday. You guys came pouring out of the wood work and I thank you for that. We thank you! There are no words to describe the amount of gratitude and appreciation we have for you guys right now. We truly thank you from the bottom of our hearts!


In his grip, always....Brent, Angie, Brennen, & Kenidi

72 Comments:

Anonymous Melissa said...

Okay, I am sitting here at work thinking how could the superintendant miss this meeting? Was it because he doesn't want to face anyone? I say call in the media. Have every person that we can make contact with to start sending letters and emails but also most importantly we should schedule out days and times where everyone we know (friends, families, Blog readers, etc) start blowing up the superintendants phone and any other phone.(this way the only calls going in are ours) Let them go the next few weeks with a 1000 calls a day about this. Maybe you should come up with some kind of ribbon color that would represent this issue and lets decorate our area with the colors. Lets get signs made or we can even make signs to put all over the area. Go door to door if we have to. We can start lining up people at the superintendants office and picket around the building. "of course not in a violent way". We could start a petition online. If there is an expense to this maybe we could do some kind of bracelet (similar to that of the rubber bracelets like for Jake and Travis) Sell them to help with the cost. Or something, Tshirts etc. What ever will work to get the word out. Girl I say have a car decorating party for all of the high school kids and anyone else who will join in. Let it be known all over the united states and our area especially. Maybe we can even tie on ribbons to our antenaes on our vehicles (about 100 of us) and circle the area of the superintendants office so that they can't even get to work. :) Girl the longer I think, the more furious this makes me. What ever you decide I will assist you in anyway. We can spend all day everyday delivering flyers, having petitions signed, making banners, passing out ribbons what ever you want. And Trust me, even if the media doesn't think they have a story now, they soon would. Girl whatever you decide I will help you. Just remember that not only are you fighting for Kenidi but you will also be fighting for every child out there. Not just special needs but all kids have a right to be educated. It is just unfortunate that special needs are who they are descriminating against. And last I ask ... How would they feel if it were one of their children being descriminated against?

Girl I have your back. Whatever you decide... count me in.
Melissa
PS...Sorry if I have mispelled all the words but its 1:33am. LOL!

5/06/2008 7:49 AM  
Blogger Katie said...

Your a strong woman and I commend you and your husband for standing behind what you believe. As a Christian it makes it even harder. The emotions come out and you realize how the world really works. The evidence of the spirtual battle is there. You keep your head high and fight for your daughter. You have to be your child's advocate. I don't think any parent would be happy with this decision! They need to come to a agreement. They also should have told you this months ago and parents should have had a say in this. Kids with special needs don't adjust well,especially ones with autism. I will send a e-mail on your behalf, let us all know what we can do. I'm praying for your family! God knows the situation and whatever happens he wants what is best for you. Trust Him! Katie-Ohio

5/06/2008 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Jen G. said...

Angie - I just read the blog post and I am ANGRY! I have never met you in person but feel like I know your family like you live next door. Have you thought about calling your local state representative and getting his or her office involved? What about the Dept of Education for the State of Indiana? Heck, take it all the way to the Governor! I am sure you are going to be flooded with requests for email addresses and phone numbers, but I would love to help. I thank God every day for my 2 children and would lay down my life for both of them. As a mother and a woman, I feel your anger and share it with you. Please let me know what I can do to help. I don't live in Indiana, but I know the difference between right and wrong. They can't and won't do this to Kenidi or the Seaman family!

Much love - Jen

5/06/2008 9:12 AM  
Blogger carole said...

Wow! The way that school handled you was cruel, cowardly and close-minded! I visit your blog often and just love how happy Kenidi looks in every picture, especially the ones with her brother. I can only imagine your heartache right now. I would be happy to forward my support via e-mail even though I am out of state. I do not have a special needs child, not even close enough to anyone who does to get a glimpse of what it is like. But I do have children and it is so hard to see them struggle at times, so to deal with struggle on a daily basis must really take its toll as well as take a mountain of faith and courage.
I DO have a high abilities (I'll call it HA for short) child, who was labelled as such in first grade. (She has since moved on to college) During her elementary years, she was placed in a "special program" for part of the day. I don't know how it compares to what your school is implementing, but honestly, I really don't see a need for them. Most of the HA kids realize early on that may have more intelligence than those teaching the HA class. They do not provide enough enrichment for those kids to gain much of anything and most don't like being labelled as smarter. HA kids can easily find another niche to stretch their brains OUTSIDE of school, and probably prefer too. To REPLACE Special needs programs with an honors type program is just ridiculous! I can't imagine how or why they came to that decision.
Go get'em!

5/06/2008 9:16 AM  
Anonymous Kristen said...

Hey Angie,

Just wanted to let you know that you all are in our thoughts and prayers!! I am so sorry that you are going through this and I pray that this will all work out for Kenidi . I cannot imagine how you are feeling but please know that we will be praying for all of you!!

Kristen

5/06/2008 9:23 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer H. said...

Angie-I have been praying for you and your family since I read your post yesterday. I am floored and scared too that if Kat needs any special ed. in the future, then we are going to be pushed aside like you. Girl, if you need anything, I am here! I love the ideas from Melissa. Get the info out to our community and people will fight with you. These are our children, our future and no one should be discriminated like this. The "slower" children are gifts from God too, just like the higher intelligent ones. Fight! You will not only help Kenidi, but other children that will suffer from being treated like this. See you at the car decorating party!!
Love- Jennifer in Bargersville:)

5/06/2008 9:38 AM  
Anonymous Angie Steele said...

Ang, I just read your very upsetting e-mail. I'am really quite ticked off at our school system! It's just WRONG! I'am here for you guys. Whatever you need me to do, I don't care what it is--phone calls, emails, door to door. It doesn't matter! We'll fight this as a community together.
I'm here for you, and please don't hesitate to put me to work. I've
already sent some prayers and will be sending many more. I do have a new e-mail address. The old one still works too. Just know you are not alone in this. You have the Lord's army behind you.

Love,
Ang

5/06/2008 9:42 AM  
Blogger Preemie mom said...

Oh Angie, I am so sorry you are going through this. Lean on the Lord and he will see you through. I too am special needs parent. Alicen (my daughter) has a GJ tube and requires formula that costs
168.00 a case of which we will need 5 cases a month and insurance will not pay a dime. I hate the constant fight we have just to get what our children deserve. I s good luck to you and to your beautiful family.

5/06/2008 9:46 AM  
Blogger Cindi said...

Angie,
I am appalled at how you have been treated. As a former school counselor and numerous IEP meeting attendee, the way they have conducted themselves and the downright withholding of information is unreal. I wonder about legality issues there. I cannot believe that your superintendent weasled out of your meeting and the smug demeanor of the assistant superintendent. Girl, call out the injustices and don't think twice about it. Jesus called out the money changers in the temple and he wasn't meek and mild about it. From what I know about you...I know that you always put Christ first and try to do the right thing. And I sincerely feel you are so right in your fight for Kenidi and all the other special needs students. You are right about the autistic children...that is UNBELIEVABLE that they would move the special needs kids for the gifted ones. Keep us updated on your fight and I am hoping to read in the media about your fight! Get 'em involved. Praying for all of you! Love, Cindi

5/06/2008 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Debbie (Brent's Mom) said...

What a powerful piece of writing, Ang! Maybe we need to make signs to place in yards.

5/06/2008 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Shannon said...

Angie ~
Oh, my heart is breaking for you guys! I know how hard this would be for everyone if they don't change their minds! Please know that I will do anything I can from here - praying of coarse being the biggest thing! But, if you want me to send an email, send me the address and I will make sure Dave composes one himself to send along with anyone else I know to do it. I think calling the media is a good idea and not an immature one. You need all of the help you can get it sounds like with Mr. Ego assistant! I am so proud of you for fighting back, you guys will come out ahead! We always overcome with God on our side! Just keep those prayers going up and all will work out! And just remember that in the end, no matter what happens, everything happens for a reason and it will work out in yours and Kenidi's best interest!!
Love ya girl!
Shan

5/06/2008 10:41 AM  
Anonymous Brenda said...

You go girl!! Good for you....fight, fight, fight!! The scrappy dog is coming out of Angie....don't mess with her children! =)

If I can do anything to help...you let me know

5/06/2008 10:42 AM  
Anonymous Melissa Roark said...

Angie, Melissa Roark here.
Okay, I kind of figured it was some garbage like this. Still not sure on all the specifics, but know this......They cannot "penalize" Kenidi for her disabilities.
They are required to place her in the least restrictive environment (LRE) and provide her with a fair and appropriate education (FAPE). If you don't know those terms learn them. www.aboutspecialkids.org often provides training, too, if you have not been through it yet.
LRE means making EVERY accomodation necessary to provide her the opportunity to attend school in the same order/fashion as the "well" child next door. If the well child next door has a 26 minute busride, it is not acceptable for Kenidi to have a 65 minute busride, etc.
It has been my experience that administrators in our school systems exist that KNOW the laws. They just choose to assume parents don't and act arrogantly on their own unlawful agendas. It is not until you gently remind them that its NOT okay with you----and is in violation of Article 7 paragraph blah blah page blah blah does somebody jump. That is a shame. It proves that money motivates over genuine care for our children. SHAME on them! SHAME!
Did you sign your child's IEP? If you did and you feel that vital information was withheld from you in the case conference, well, Angie, you call aboutspecialkids, get in touch with Lisa the Johnson County parent advocate. Call the school, Schedule a new case conference (your perogative ANYTIME you feel one is merited) and gently inform them that you are so "sad" that the first case conference was such a waste of everyone's time. Perhaps we can all be honest and make a realistic plan for Kenidi today? ;-) Bring your advocate with you. The advocate is a great thing.
1) They can help you keep your cool
2) They know and the administrators know they know the ins and outs
3) They are able to play the political game to your benefit.
4) Schools hate it and won't mess with you.
5) If they do mess with you, you have a well documented, protocol followed process behind you for filing complaints with the Department of Education and legal action.
I do have to say that Johnson County has been sort of juvenile in parents I have talked to. Meaning, if you fly off the deep end--- your kids get "branded" and staff keeps you (and them) at arms length in attention and services FOREVER. Whereas if you are a velvet HAMMER, a devil in a pretty little suit--------they will know they can't mess with Kenidi's mom and you are so professional they can't paint you a lunatic. So I recommend before you haul in media and pickets, etc--- to follow their heirarchy and beat them at their own game. Stick it in their gutt where it hurts. Filing complaints with the Department of Education can ultimately hurt funding and looks bad on the school, etc.
I am at 317-523-9647 on my cell or mmroark2@yahoo.com on my email. I can send you some links on stuff I have collected if you like.

Praying for you all,
Melissa Roark

5/06/2008 10:44 AM  
Anonymous Aubree said...

Angie,
I just wanted to say, that my heart goes out to you and your family and the trouble that you are experiencing. Brad and I will pray for you; that you will have peace about the situation and that the outcome, no matter what it is, will end up the way God needs it to in order to lay out His plan. You never know what kind of impact Kenidi can have on the "other" school. Kenidi has the face and personality of an angel, and everyone will love her no matter which school she goes to. I understand how you feel about having Brennen and the neighbor kids all in the same school to watch out for her, I would feel exactly the same way.

Stay strong, have peace, and discernment; we love you and we will continue to pray for you.
In love and Christ,

Aubree

5/06/2008 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Melissa Roark said...

I also forgot to mention a couple of things....

1) I take a cassette recorder and set it on the table in EVERY meeting I have with the school, including my son's case conference. I present it very nicely, matter of fact.....just saying, "I know we always cover a multitude of material, so if it's okay, I will be recording today" and just do it. Now our son's principle ran and grabbed their recorder, so they had record, too....but it was not big deal. What this does is make them watch what they say or "attempt" on you. No lies, no pulling fast ones or misrepresenting the law. Love that thing.

2) All communication is in writing or followed up with a letter recapping the previous phone call, meeting, etc.

5/06/2008 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Aubree said...

Angie, also I'm feeling really motivated to change the world right now, so let me know if you need help doing ANYTHING. I don't know what I could do for you, but whether it's making phone calls, getting together troops to walk around the school holding signs (Bring home the special needs
class) or whatever, I am here to help! Call me if you need anything!

Aubree

5/06/2008 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Jen (AR) said...

I have one question?? Why don't they move the other class and not the special needs class?? I know that you are super busy but maybe you should call some of the other special needs parents. Do they even know that the class has moved??? They would have to be very upset learning that their whole schedule will have to change also. Here in Arkansas they have bring in speech pathologists and other special needs teachers to the schools once or twice sometimes more a week. I would love to help out as much as I can. I will email or call or write or anything!!! Good Luck and God Bless You!!
Jen

5/06/2008 11:29 AM  
Blogger RockinMom said...

You are an amazing women Angie.
Keep up your fight.

5/06/2008 11:44 AM  
Anonymous Lisa (Little Bits) said...

Hi Angie,

I totally understand what you are going thru, we are too. Only ours is the opposite of yours.

Victoria did not start school at her "home" school because there were no special ed classes there. She was only 3 at the time so there were no attachments to neighborhood friends, etc. But the school she has atttended for the past 3 years has become her "home" school. Everyone there knows her and she knows them. Even the older kids and the teachers in the higher grades. But we have just learned that all spec ed students are being returned to their home schools - the one they are zoned for - for the next school year. While it is very convenient, only 3 blocks from my front door - she will know no one there. No children, teachers, therapists, etc. There are no children in our neighborhood that she plays with. We will essentially be starting over. We have requested a transfer back to her current school but have been told that it will most likely be denied.

My understanding is that this has come about because of the IDEA and No Child Left Behind Laws which state that special needs children will be schooled in their home schools with the necessary requirements provided - in the least restrictive environment. So if this is the case, and it would be for the whole US, why would they be moving Kenidi's spec ed class to another school? I'm sure you know the laws backward and forward by now, but maybe it's worth asking about.

My thoughts and prayers are with you as you try to sort this out. I hope you find a solution that best fits Kenidi's needs.

Lisa
Little Bits

5/06/2008 12:31 PM  
Anonymous Crystal said...

Hi Angie,

My name is Crystal and I am the designer behind http://www.sassybabyboutique.com. I am also on ebay sassy*baby*boutique and I have been a fond follower of your designs for the past few years. I came across your designs on ebay and have been following your blog since. I am very fond of your sweet little Kenidi's story and I admire your strength and courage to persevere and conquer and speed bump that comes in your way when it comes to her. I am saddened by the news that you have just shared with us regarding kenidi's first school year. My oldest son just started kindergarten this year and doesn't have special needs but it was a difficult adjustment just for him. I couldn't imagine having to send him to a completely different school :-(. My daughter is only 2 1/2 but will be attending the same school as my son. If I was in your shoes and experiencing the lack of dignity from the superintendent that you did, I would call the local news and let them hear you ROAR! Seriously, this is down right unacceptable and unfair for all of the special needs children that attend that school. Please let me know how I can help, write a letter, send an email I would love to help out in hopes that they will change their mind and see "the big picture" for all of the sweet kids that need consistency the most.

Stay strong and true to what you believe in!

Hugs,

Crystal

5/06/2008 12:37 PM  
Anonymous v said...

Hi Angie,
I had just finished reading your post and after steaming about it for a bit, I sat down and wrote a letter for you... see attached.
I wasn't sure who to address it to and I wanted you to proof read it and see if its something you want to use... change what you want or hold off on it... whatever you want.

Hang in there...
Vicki

5/06/2008 12:38 PM  
Anonymous v said...

Hi Angie,
I had just finished reading your post and after steaming about it for a bit, I sat down and wrote a letter for you... see attached.
I wasn't sure who to address it to and I wanted you to proof read it and see if its something you want to use... change what you want or hold off on it... whatever you want.

Hang in there...
Vicki

5/06/2008 12:38 PM  
Blogger Prim Chic said...

I just want you to know that I have gone through this myself. Not issues with wanting my children together - they are too far apart in age for that, but I did want my daughter to be closer (I was driving 45 minutes one way to take her to school and yes, there is a bus service, but I wasn't putting my daughter on a bus at 6:00 am). The last straw came when during her IEP meeting, they wouldn't qualify her for certain things. Long story, short - they would tell me one thing, but not qualify her for the help she needed. Their response, just medicate her...NO! Not unless her doctor decides that she needs medication. I made the decision to homeschool at that time - the toughest decision I ever made.

I believe that you have to fight for what your daughter - No one else is going to. No matter what the outcome, I support you and I'll be praying for you.

5/06/2008 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Renee H said...

I truly feel for your family. Coming from a school system out of state, my best advise is to get to the school board. The super or the asst super couldn't have changed anything that had already been approved. The bureaucratic school system is very slow moving, so this has been in the works for months, probably years. You have to get to the school board, because they are elected (by you) to represent you. Make your voice heard!!!

5/06/2008 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Angie, let me say, I don't know you, but got your email from your AGD list. I am a SAHM of three little blessings. Two of mine are in school, neither are high abilities or special needs, just average. I am very involved with the schools and the classrooms. I don't think the issue should be if your children are at the same school, to me, that isn't what's important. When my youngest starts school, my three will all be at different schools...that is just the way the cookie crumbles. Now, I do completley understand you wanting your daughter there because they already know, love, and accept her...I totally feel you on that one. I know how important my children and thier "schooling" are and I know that you feel the same way, probably even more so with a special needs child. You are just going to have to give this to GOD, maybe he has something in store for you that you can't even imagine right now?! I don't mean to sound harsh, truly, and you have every right to be upset, mad, stressed, etc...those people were dishonest and handled it the wrong way...but if that is how they do things, maybe you don't want your daughter there anyway. At our school...the high abilities class is very recognized...it takes priority over everything it seems like...even if it shouldn't be that way...it is. One of my child's teachers had a special needs child she wanted to transfer from another school so he could be at the same school that she worked in, and the school said no...because it would lower their "scores"...I cried for her...imagine her heartbreak. At the end of the day, she knew that if they felt that way, she didn't want her son there anyway, she left teaching to be a SAHM...they lost a very good teacher. Truth is when that is how schools get recognized, thier money, etc...they have so much pressure on them from the "higher ups", what else do we expect them to do? Anyway, I don't mean to ramble...and my heart TRULY does go out to you...also, a prayer is going out for your family, Kenidi, and this current situation. God has a plan, just trust him. Take care and GOd bless!!!

5/06/2008 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Donna L. said...

Dear Brent & Angie:
This is absolutely beyond belief. Please know that first and foremost I will pray for all of you and for all the little ones that are being affected by this dreadful decision. I absolutely believe you are doing the right thing by fighting this. Has your school ever thought about adding some of those “portable” classrooms to the school that so many schools have today because they are getting so large and before they can afford to add on—that sounds like the perfect solution to me—add some portable rooms for the “advanced classes” and leave the special needs with their familiar surroundings. I’ll be glad to send an e-mail to the super or school board—whichever you wish—just let me know. Some of my grandkids attend Franklin Township Schools and at Franklin Central Middle School where Cassie goes they have several “portable” classrooms—also Roncalli has or used to have several also.

Just keep me posted and keep fighting.
God bless you all, Donna

5/06/2008 2:12 PM  
Anonymous Tina Bowling said...

Hi Angie~

I want to say that you are your child's "only" advocate and you need to fight for what is right-- not just for her but for all children/parent's involved. We do not have special needs children (but do have a niece and know several people that have special needs kids) but we do know that change for them is very very difficult! Not something that sits well with a child that has to be kept in such a routine every day. We think you should fight!!! Remember God is there... HE is in the midst of all of this and HE already knows the outcome- but you have to go back to scripture on this one and know that there are battles that must be fought and this one is one of thos battles. You are fighting for YOUR LITTLE GIRL! Someone you would throw yourself in front of a bus for and never think twice-- that is how much you love your child(ren)! You and your husband sound like very involved, loving & genuine parent's (& your son clearly adores Kenidi- pictures are worth a million words!!! :0) and sometimes you have to gather up the troops and get on the front lines to prove a point in this world where $$$, politics and power seem to rule. You keep praying and don't give up!!! Regardless the outcome, whatever you do in this situation will either make change happen quickly or possibly open the eyes of those in charge (possibly their hearts) and the change will eventually come and you will have played a HUGE part in making that change. Continue to suit up in the Armor of God daily-- pray for wisdom & guidance and the words to say to those you will be talking to that are in control. They need to not only hear your words, but they need to hear God's words. You are standing up for what you believe in and that is your child(ren) (and the other parent's that have children at that school that will be involved in being moved, etc). You may be persecuted along the way by other's who don't have your same viewpoint, but do not lose faith in what you are doing is right--STAND FIRM, STAND TALL!!!

Jesus said "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these"... Children are VERY important to God and its very apparent in scripture that we are accountable as adults as to how we handle them and the life they lead while they are children. Remind those involved (even if they are not Christians) that these are children of God- they need the same things every other child needs and they deserve to get the same things as other children. God made each and every one of us so NOONE is less special or less talented or not as smart as the other-- he made each and every child with a purpose to fulfill, special needs or not, and it sounds like to me that the Super & school board need to hear it loud and clear!

Do what you feel in your heart's-- consult with the Great Counselor and remember, HE will stand with you, as long as you are glorifying Him, and help you through this battle no matter the outcome. If anything-- you will make a difference even if you never see it or know it in your lifetime.

We will be praying for your family and Kenidi that God will put favor on you and that somehow there will still be room for the children at the school.

Trust God in ALL things~ Seek HIS words & guidance... He is in control and will never stear you in the wrong direction.

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then , with the belt of Truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Read these scriptures when you get time (when you are up at 3am... *wink*):

Ephesians 3:14-21
Galatians 6:9 &10
Isaiah 41:10
Isaiah 40:31
Matthew 11:28-30

Fighting & Praying alongside you for righteousness ~
In His Grip,
Tina Bowling & Family

5/06/2008 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Tiffany G. said...

Hi Angie, my name is Tiffany Gholston and i am from Millbrook, Alabama. I have been an avid supporter of your family and your sweet, beautiful Kenidi. I do not have a "special needs" child of my own and i could not imagine the daily struggles which you have. God has given you a very special blessing and i am so proud of you for fighting. God is with you and your family through this struggle and the others to come. I am constantly praying for you and your family. YOu have an awesome support system that you don't even know about. God is amazing and he will take care of this situation for the best interest in Kenidi. I would love to do whatever i can to help, if it is prayer then know that i am praying, if it is emailing anyone, i will! Some things i have to say about this, "they" might not like, but we don't like what "they " are saying either :) I am sure you are overwhelmed with emails and everything else, but please let me know what i can do if anything!
God Bless,
Love in Christ,
Tiffany Gholston

5/06/2008 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Kathy Dillon (Payton's Mom) said...

I checked your blog no less than a dozen times between yesterday's posting and this morning. I just got home from work and check it again. I am just steaming over your message today . . . . I have not made it all the way through it yet, but man, I am so worked up, emotional, and ready to help you fight, fight, fight.

I can help be a testament for you in regards to having siblings together in a school with a child who has an IEP because she is so developmentally delay plus school provided PT and OT. You have had a look into our world with Payton and having the support of Dominick AND his friends and classmates have been amazing.

I will start writing later tonight. Much like you, it will not be short on words (not as well written, because you are an amazing writer :0) ) but I can help get my point across to help support the Seaman Family and you can use the letter however you wish. Plus, let me know anything I can to do to help you!
Much love, Kathy

5/06/2008 2:15 PM  
Anonymous Amanda H. said...

Please send me the email addresses, physical address, contact names, etc.

I’ll have Callie, Cyndy….everyone I know contacting them about this.

Could you gather up a lot of people and protest at the school? Maybe I’ve seen too many movies but I think it would cause a stir, especially during a school function or when the parents are at the school.

Let me know how else we can help!!! We’ll be praying also!!!

I went to one school my entire life with my brother only a year ahead of me….having him around helped me tremendously so I can relate to the importance of this matter for her.

Have you called the local news station or newspaper? Call me if you need to.

5/06/2008 2:17 PM  
Anonymous Amanda W. said...

Brent and Angie,

I will definitely be praying that God will find favor for little Kenidi, and that he will grant you wisdom and courage during your battle and peace with whatever final decision is made. I'm not really sure how strong of a force I would be from here in Northwest Arkansas, but please let me know if I can help in anyway.

Richest Blessings,
Amanda Willoughby

5/06/2008 2:17 PM  
Anonymous Bridget said...

OMG Angie! I am so seriously appalled and furious on behalf of Kenidi right now! That is without a doubt, the most ridiculous decision that I've ever heard of with regards to a special education classroom. I would LOVE to write an email to whomever made such a stupid decision to further reinforce just how stupid it really is! We went through something similar last year when Camden was set to attend Kindergarden and we did win our fight with the school system. My older son, Tyler, is in our home school setting which is literally across the street from our neighborhood. We bought THIS house in THIS neighborhood because of the reputation the special education department had in this elementary school. We paid way more than we wanted or really could afford to ensure that Camden would attend this school. He spent 2 years across town, 30 minutes away, in the special needs preschool provided by the school system. I was so excited to have him transition to the home school for Kindergarden- you're so right, it's really difficult to have them in 2 different schools and I have 2 other kids at home also. We attended his IEP last May, with the full expectation that he would be placed in his home school with 50% of his day being in the special education classes. That is what had been discussed for WEEKS prior to this meeting. When we got there, the school system had called in a special mediator to handle the meeting. All of a sudden, the "team" wanted Camden to be placed in a self-contained classroom more than 50 minutes from our house. The classroom would have only 6 students, Camden was the highest functioning child out of all of them. He had spent the previous school year gaining SO much ground with his deficiencies because he was in a regular preschool class with 15 typical children and 3 special needs children. He had learned to walk, to speak more than 50 words, he was trying to use the potty, etc. He had integrated fully into the classroom. So I was shocked that they wanted him to be placed in a setting where he would have nobody to model behaviors for him. The meeting lasted for 4 hours and it was UGLY! Nobody can fight the good fight like a mommy protecting her child! Basically they wanted him placed in self contained because they were concerned that he would be too much of a distraction in a regular classroom setting. I was furious. My child has to suffer because a teacher can't control her classroom? We left the meeting with nothing resolved. I immediately contacted an advocate and an attorney. The advocate set up a meeting with the school board, we went and plead our case to them and we brought letters from our pediatrican, from our specialists and from the community. I fought based on the school systems own "mantra" that a child should be placed in the LEAST restrictive environment. For Camden, that meant a regular classroom with 50% special ed classes during the day. We fought the system for weeks until I filed a letter of intent to sue the school system. All of a sudden, they started listening. Camden went to our home school in a regular classroom with 50% special ed and he is doing GREAT. He has far surpassed his IEP goals for this school year.

Keep on fighting. You know what is best for your child. Do not accept anything less than that! And honestly Angie, I would go to the media. I would call so much attention to this matter, and I would point out every single time that they are kicking out the "slow" kids for the "smart" kids. The public will be as appalled as I am! Please let me know if I can help you in any way, I would love to!!

Bridget

5/06/2008 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Chelsea said...

As a former teacher, I can't say I'm surprised. It's sad, but typical in most areas to do this kind of dishonest thing. Just one of MANY reasons that I quit teaching in our district and started teaching college.

I hope that you can get enough action to get them to reverse their decision. Certainly they could make one of the people who have a classroom travel (like art or music) or even use one of the conference rooms or something for the therapists so that they don't occupy a classroom area? These are some of the solutions our district has come up with in the schools where I have taught. Often the library has a resource room in the back, or even the library itsself where a small class could be taught (such as gifted or honors).

Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you guys! I know how trying it can be to reason with the school board and principals!

I'll keep your family in my prayers!
Chelsea
www.raleighandaiden.blogspot.com

5/06/2008 2:21 PM  
Anonymous Kristi said...

Angie,

I am so sorry for the pain this is causing you and your family.

I sadly am not surprised by this though. This is the state of public education. This is what happens when we put government in charge of things, especially the education of our children. And sadly, I'm not sure that taking this to the media will be of benefit to you. I know in our community there is a strong backlash against the disproportionate amount of funding that goes to special education. Many people feel like the special needs kids are taking needed resources from other kids.

Instead, you may want to approach this from a legal standpoint. I am not an attorney but I did live through a long year with my best friend while she sued her school district -- and won -- over her son.

Some things to think about. Did you sign documents at the end of the IEP meeting? If you did, did they specify your home school as Kenidi's placement? If they did then they are legally obligated to provide EXACTLY what is in that document. If you didn't, then they are legally obligated to continue providing what is in your most recent IEP document. I would contact an attorney immediately. It seems to be the only thing school districts fear. There are all sorts of legal aid resources, many free or low cost, available to parents of special needs children. I think you have a strong argument since you were lied to in the IEP meeting. You are an equal member of that IEP team and you would have never agreed to what they were saying if you'd known the whole story.

You also could pursue an alternative option. Perhaps Kenidi could attend her home school for Kindergarten and then receive district-provided special ed preschool at the new location. Or you could insist that she go to her home Kindergarten and then have the district pay for private therapy in addition to Kindergarten.

Just remember that the school district will try to intimidate you. They will try to tell you they know better. They will try to make it seem like you're overreacting.

Interestingly, after winning her year-long battle my friend elected to home school her son. She was so disillusioned with the public school system that she couldn't stand him being there. He is now well above grade level and doing fabulously. The biggest lesson she learned was that his emotional health was far more important than anything else. Giving him security and stability was the most important thing.

I'll be thinking of you.
Kristi

5/06/2008 2:22 PM  
Anonymous Nicole D. said...

Angie...

I read your email and the blog - how awful.. Two things quickly came to mind... Sean and Jesse (his partner) happen to know everyone in Indiana. I now have him reading the blog at work this morning - lol.. After he read it, he told me to ask if you have talked to Dr. Sue ellen Redd?? Also, can you write some sort of letter for me to give to Annie, one of the producers for "O" maybe she can pass it along to the right hands.. It's all about who you know.. Girl, I'll keep praying..

Stay Strong..
Nicole

P.S. Are you going to be home tonight to talk so we can plan Thursday.

5/06/2008 2:23 PM  
Anonymous Karen Seifert said...

Oh...SIGH... I am so sorry your family is going through this. Your family is in my thoughts and
prayers. You guys are wonderful parents who are great
advocates for Kenidi! Don't lose sight of that. It is wrong on many levels. I can't believe that this
is even legal. Have you thought of contacting a lawyer? It should not be legal. I thought public schools had to work with kids of all needs and abilities. This is an outrage, and I will send emails or letters to whomever! I imagine the media would get involved in this. As parents we chose to buy homes in
certain areas so that our kids can be in certain school districts and benefit from that. I am really outraged about this. I will send emails or letters to whomever. Just let me know, or send an
email, and I will help in any way.

Again your family is in my
prayers. Hang in there and take care of yourself. And don't hesitate to tell me what to do to help. Sometimes it takes a village of angry voices to be heard!
~Karen Seifert

5/06/2008 2:25 PM  
Anonymous Nicky said...

HI Angie

I was one and still am of your customers for a while on ebay (MY3princesses2005) and I have been reading your blogs every so often
and I sympathize with your pain and issues you are currently having, I live in NY and you would think it is different here but everywhere it is the same situation. My daughters school had experienced a sort similar problem. My daughters school came out 2nd in the region so they wanted to bring in students with disabilities into the school. And parents were against it for the simple fact #1 was because this was an elementary school up to 5th grade,and they wanted to bring in junior high school students that had disabilities that were violent that required special needs programs that our school didn't cater too,they wanted to take them out of there comfort zone where they were perfectly fine in . I don't know why they said they didn't have the room because they had plenty of room .We get kept getting the run around like you are. We contacted the Chancellor of NY Joel Klein ,we contacted politicians and so on , no one bothered at all then at the end we didn't want to do it but we had no other option we brought in the MEDIA everything got resolved within 1 weeks time. So if you have to resort to the media then go ahead it is worth a shot
I am speaking from experience because it will be very draining and time consuming but at the nd there will be an outcome hopefully the outcome you would like to hear....If you need help in anything I can help you with please feel free to let me know...

Nicky

5/06/2008 2:26 PM  
Anonymous Lacey said...

Hi Angie,

I just read your blog and can’t believe what your family is going through!! And I can’t imagine even having to hear those words that that woman said to you……..BUT I do know the exact person you should be talking to. I have forwarded on your message and she just happens to be friends with the federal person of education in the US. Zuhy is my bestfriend’s MIL and she just happens to be the advocate for Canada for people with disabilities. She is going to be honoured as one of Canada ’s top 4 women in Flare magazine coming pretty soon too. She is amazing and she will definitely get you going in the right track, that’s for sure!!!

If you would like to send her an email it is docsayeed@shaw.ca

My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family Angie, and I know things will work out!!!
All my best, Lacey

5/06/2008 2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Angie it's me again. Look at the amount of support that has been shown just overnight. I must say that I am not surprised at all, and i am sure there is more to come. I have two words...TAKE ACTION!!! You and Brent are a true example of what parenting is about.

Keep your head up and stay strong.

Melissa

p.s. maybe the next CG lunch could be held outside of the superintendents office. (It's a nice day for a picnic)

5/06/2008 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Jenn F. said...

I am with you 100%. Before I had babies I may not have understood...but I am sitting here thinking of ways I too can help! Please let me know what I could do! First, what school district is this in? I know higher ups in Washington township that may or may not be able to help~that person being my mother-in-law. No worries...if she is related to the topic~we are aren't close anyway! Maybe, just maybe she could say or do something though. Although, the answer sounds permanent, with enough voices maybe some change could be made! All schools, I know, in the area strive to have certain images and it is ridiculous what is happening to Kenidi! The all want to be known as a super school that is recognized by state or national school levels!
My thoughts and prayers are with you! I still hope to see you on Thursday! Maybe we could talk more about it then!
Jenn

5/06/2008 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Kristin said...

Hi Angie,
I read that entire page and I can say I do feel for you and I want to buy that T-shirt… As a parent all we live for is to protect our children, Sometimes I feel that Motherhood makes me so frail and scared that I wish I never had them. I have a very smart 3 year old girl and a boy who was 3 months premature and constantly having issues, he was once on life support for 10 days and awoke at the age of 2 forgetting how to talk and walk. After PT o our home for a couple of years he is now 6 and in Kindergarten and looking at staying in kindergarten next year as he is very behind..

You don’t need to hear my sob story but can I just tell you what I always think to help myself… I think…. It could be worse, I think, he could have died….. I have to think of those things to make the issues we face every day seem not so “end of the world” As they always feel. I have cried mysdelf to sleep many a nights wondering how EJ will feel when the class he has grown to love and understand as they have grown to know his querks as well… How is he going to feel when they all got to 1st grade and he stays behind?? I try very hard to think “hey, maybe he will turn into the smarter kid, maybe he will be a leader…. Kids are so much more resilient and more brave than we are… I often find I think he is thinking like I do but he isn’t. He isn’t me, he hasn’t faced my lives challenges and I do think that what ever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and better.

As for the School district…………………. I hate to swear but (^(&^*& them…….. I am fed up with it as well. I have fought for testing, I have fought to get my son out of certain schools to get speech therapy etc……. You name it, I have fought for it. I should send you a picture of our binder….

Kids are awesome but they are also the hearts in our chest so I understand and know you are not alone, it could be worse (not really) But they are healthy and happy and this too will pass!! Until the next tragedy… You take it easy and just be the best voice you can….

I want a shirt!! I want it to wear to my next meeting and I want for each of my kids…. The squeaky wheel gets the grease so keep fighting for what you want and you will get it!!!
Good Luck!!
Kristin

5/06/2008 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Rein said...

Hi there! I am a special education lawyer, but in Los Angeles. I can tell you this, the federal law, IDEA states a child will attend their home school whenever possible with their peers in the least restrictive environment. It also states, a child's integrity and needs will be taken into affect for his/her placement.

With that said, there is NO law that states or protects children with gifted abilities. That program is secondary. I would argue the IDEA and placement of the home school and get a psyche evaluation stating the importance of her social and emotional development to be in her home school with neighborhood friends and family/siblings.

This is a LEGAL arguement and not a passionate "mommy" one. Your local school district already has their mind made up. Write a letter to your council person and CALL and fax a letter to your senator. The squeaky wheel gets heard. In the interim, I would find a high powered attorney. If you know people within the district, ask them who scares them, just by name.

That's my two cents.
Rein

5/06/2008 3:18 PM  
Anonymous Amy said...

Hi Angie. I am writing from Maryland . You are one of the best mothers! You keep up your fight for Kenidi. She is SO blessed to have you and Brent. In Maryland we have all inclusion for special needs students. That means NOBODY has to move to another school unless you choose to do so. They are completed included in all classes. The school must provide for your child at their home school. I am sure you already checked, but just in case…you should check your state laws. Their may be some legal issue that is not being addressed. I know that special needs children are required to be provided the “least restrictive environment” for their needs. To me this includes not only educational needs but social and emotional needs as well. I will be more than happy to write to your school board administrators and let them know how we feel in the rest of the country. Our school system was recently rated as one of the top 10 public education systems in the country. Our voice should count for something. My father in law is also a professor in education at the University of Maryland (after being a teacher and principal for over 30 years). He works with some doctoral candidates in child advocacy. I will forward your blog to him tonight and see what his students can come up with. Maybe they can be a voice from the university and research level. You definitely need to contact the media and I would talk to some people at the closest university to your home. A lot of masters and doctoral students research the effects of education processes on young people. They could probably provide you with some studies that prove what they are doing to these kids (I am sure Kenidi is one of many being affected). I will keep you and your family in my prayers. In the meantime I will get started on my contact to your school board. Take care of yourself.
Amy

5/06/2008 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Grandma Eunice said...

Angie and Brent: My heart is broken for you. The politics in this situation and most every school problem is just so hard to crack open. Have you contacted the TV and the media in the area? Do you have the names of your State representatives? You are fighting an uphill battle and you are in my prayers and will continue to be always. Give the kids a big hug for me and know that I love you guys so much. Keep us posted.
Love, Grandma Eunice

5/06/2008 4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Angie Brentand my wonderful grandkids, I hate that this is happening to you, however I believe God is in charge of everything and that certainly includs this ordeal. I know that there is some parent out there, that couldn't have been as vocal as you are able to be. Those parents will hold you up high to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,asking him to Bless you dearly for speaking up for them and their special needs children. You know as you say"God don't waste pain" He will certainly bring some good out of all of this for all involved. Jesus himself had to be confrontational sometimes, as long as it is going to give Glory to God, then it is not a bad thing. He said He will fight your battles for you, and He is doing just that by telling you what to do as we speak! You just keep praising God, and the Holy Spirit will find joy in going before you in all things, xoxoxo Mommy sue, (Grandma)

5/06/2008 5:17 PM  
Blogger CelticBuffy said...

As someone with a background in special education I strongly advise you to find the parent advocacy group in your state and get yourself an advocate NOW! This is what they specialize in. You can also file a formal complaint against the school system. Your child has the right to be educated in the LEAST RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT and it must be documented why all other settings are rejected. I have found to often that the special ed department will do what the administration wants and everything is written up before the parents even arrive to the meeting. Legally nothing should be pre-written on that IEP before the meeting because the IEP is a TEAM written document and also a legal document. DO NOT fight this fight alone but seek help from the state advocacy group!

5/06/2008 5:31 PM  
Anonymous Susan D. said...

Angie-
I am so sorry to hear you are going through this. Welcome to the dysfunctional world of public school systems!

Unfortunately, administrators and school boards are the ones who make the decisions for the districts. I, too, have been in a battle, alongside many others, in a different district. We have been fighting for over a year and a half now. Our voices are not heard and there have been many repercussions just for trying to exercise the right to be heard. School board members are elected officials and rarely do they listen to community input or their constituents voices. Trust me, I have been involved in similar battles, and one of the best ways to make a change is by voting. It sounds corny, but it's true. Find out all you can about school board members and candidates. That way YOU control who will be elected to those seats and who will ultimately make the district's decisions. My group has been waiting a long time for election day and hopefully we will finally have a victory tonight when the ballots are counted. Out with the evil, in with the people who make appropriate decisions.

I am a prodigy of private schools, though I teach in a public school, I have always had some trust in public education. The past year and a half has caused that trust to dwindle. I have to believe that good will prevail through voting for the right people to be in these decision making positions.

When I first read your email I was worried you were going to say that Kenidi was not admitted into the Kindergarten program. Whew! What a blessing that she gets to attend kindergarten with her peers. She will touch hearts and make a difference, no matter what the venue. She will fulfill her purpose no matter what the setting.

I am sharing some Scripture that has gotten me through the many months of agony in my own battle with a district. (I actually have these on post its plastered all over my house so that I can see them all the time!) I pray the words speak to you and give you some sort of peace in your heart, patience, and understanding.

Psalm 37:7
Jeremiah 1:19
Matthew 5:38-39
Matthew 5:44
Psalm 9:10

I hope that Brennen is doing well. I think of him often.
Best wishes,
Susan

5/06/2008 6:12 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer E. said...

Angie,
I wanted to respond to your e-mail and first say that I am sorry. I know that your heart is so heavy right now and your mind is being so consumed that it is probably difficult just to function. I am about in tears with just the thought of my oldest moving from the safe cacoon of Mt. Pleasant kindergarten into the public schools. Transition is difficult...more so for some of us (me!) I wanted to tell you that I empathize with your position not only as a mother, but as an Occupational Therapist. I think you are making a very right statement with the affects of the extra travel and the change of routine on the kids. This is by no means my area of experience or expertise. I having recently been gearing my continued education courses towards pediatrics and sensory integration with the thought that it may be a direction I would like to go in once the girls are older. In one of the courses I just took, they touched on some of the very issues you are raising. For many kids, a long bus ride is enough to over stimulate them and leave them poorly prepared to learn once in the classroom environment. With a blog like yours, I am sure you are reaching more people with better expertise. If not, I could try to do some leg work for you and get some people with some more "expert " opinions who have alot of knowledge in this area. Please try to have faith in God in the meantime. He is blossoming Kenidi into a wonderful little girl.
God Bless,
Jennifer Eberwine (OTR : ) )

5/06/2008 6:13 PM  
Anonymous Zuhy Sayeed said...

Dear Angie and Brent,

Hello!
My name is Zuhy Sayeed and I live in Alberta, canada.
Your email was forwarded to me by Lacey, who knows you through your work. She also called me regarding your daughter.

I too, am a Mum with two children with disabilities who have been included in school for their entire school lives- not without a great deal of negotiation, vigilance, blood, sweat and tears.

I have been a volunteer in this field of disabilities and inclusion for 26 years- my husband as a family physician for close to 34 years. I am the immediate Past President of the Canadian Association for Community Living and have done a fair bit with wonderful people in the U.S- families, professionals and academics as well.

I have forwarded your email to many of my contacts in the last 15 minutes and anticipate that I will get all kinds of offers to be of assistance to your family. These are very well known people in the field, with great expertise, knowledge and huge commitment. I know that you will be very pleased to speak to these folks and get their support and assistance and the how tos for you to get Kenidi into school- and an inclusive school- where your son goes...

As a Mum and Dad-our thoughts are with you and we hope that the school will finally see the abrogation and violation of Kenidi's rights.
Thanks so much- good luck and I will be in touch!!

Zuhy

5/06/2008 6:16 PM  
Anonymous Heidi D. said...

YES!! Praise HIM in this storm. I didn't read the blog yet because this song just made me break down. It has meant so much to me in the past few months since Daddy's death. I will read it later on tonight, but I want you to know you and your family are in my prayers. Your children are just beautiful beyond words. Talk to you soon!
Heidi Deal

5/06/2008 6:23 PM  
Anonymous Malinda W. said...

Angie,

I am very sorry to hear about Kenidi. You will all definetly be in our prayers. A good friend that I used to work with had basically the same issue. Her daughter was moved between several different schools and being special needs that was very hard for her to get comfortable. Hope to see everyone soon!!

God Bless,
Malinda

5/06/2008 8:36 PM  
Anonymous Gina Hayes said...

Oh Angie my heart is breaking for you and your family. I know for a different reason what it is like to have a child that is not like the other children and how your heart just breaks for you when you see people respond to them "differently". Lord help anyone who tries to mess with a Mother's child!!! I know exactly what you mean to "fight" for your children. If I could do anything at all to help your family I would love to. I am a Christian, Mother and received my education to be an Elementary Education teacher. I have a family full of teachers and know what the system's purpose is "supposed" to be but also know how that can be so misconstrued by the wrong people!! If I could be a voice for you in any way I would love to. Just send me the info I need and I will do this.

Love in Christ...

Gina Hayes
Sassalot Originals

5/06/2008 8:37 PM  
Anonymous Dana B. said...

Angie,
My name is Dana Bowman and I am in Shawnee, OK (35 minutes East of Oklahoma City). My husband is the pastor of the United Pentecostal Church in our city.

I have purchased items through you on Ebay in the past. For years I have loved your designs and I am thrilled to be on your email list. I marvel at your beautiful photos of your amazing family. I have been continuously touched by your compassion and your love for Christ. I don't have alot of time to read (3 children, being the mother of our church and my own small business) but I have followed your story of Kenidi. I became even more interested when my niece was diagnosed with a genetic abnormality just after her first birthday. She has many of the same developmental delays that it looks like Kenidi works with daily. I have sent a link to your blog to my Sis and I know that your story will be an inspiration to her to keep on fighting for the rights of her daughter. To date, there is not one other child in the whole world (that we have found) that has the same genetic abnormality. She has 12 specialists (she is now 4 years old) and we have flown all over the US trying to find answers and a firm diagnosis. I said all that to say, "We are in prayer for your family and understand the daily struggles that you deal with. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you." As a mother I applaud your determination to fight for the rights of your children. We are in a small battle presently with our school district and our asthmatic son (much smaller scale when compared to your struggle). We join in prayer with you and want you to know we will support you in any other way possible. I would be happy to email or call any contacts you have to make your voice be heard.

Do not be afraid-the Lord will go before you!
Dana Bowman

5/06/2008 9:36 PM  
Anonymous Beth Ransom said...

Certainly our prayers continue to be with all of you and especially as you go thru this very trying time. I agree completely that they are setting these children up for a set back. Change is so very difficult for them. Our school district made the decision to disband the coop that handles all of our special needs children. My neighbor has worked with the children through the coop for over 20 years. She is devistated. Andrew, through the A+ program, is working as an aide in the special needs room at the middle school. He had known the children for only 1 semester and was so worried about what was going to happen with them, and how this one wouldn't be able to see her friends anymore, and another one was just beginning to socialize and how was he to get along and on and on. It doesn't take long even for a teenager to be able to see what a disaster change is for these children. The school may say the decision is final, but they forget about the power of prayer, the power of parents love, and the power of educating the public when something like this happens. Keep faith!

Beth

5/06/2008 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Melissa K. said...

Hi, My name is Melissa Keating and I live here in Indianapolis, In. I recieved your blog from my best friend who is continually forwarding me your stories! Anyway, first off....Hang in there and STICK TO YOUR GUNS!!!! I am a mother of four. My oldest is Molly who is 6, Tommy is 5 and is a special needs child with Speech Apraxia as well as on Growth Hormone Injections 2 a day, my son Ryan 3 was diagonsed with ALL Leukemia last year and has 2 more years of treatment EVERYDAY, and Brady is my baby who is 20 months. Needless to say my hands are full! I feel for you and my heart breaks to read your stories. I know the challanges you face, it tears your heart out of your chest to have to see your kids faced with any heartship. I wish I could do it for them! As a mother we want the best- you keep fighting for that!!! I will help with your crusade in ANY way possible! I have forwarded your blog to several friends and neighbors.......one of which is a State Senator and one is Mitch Daniels top executives. I face similar challanges with Tommy getting ready to start Kindergarten next year. I had a case confrence and he is intilted to "Special Services" daily. I take Tommy three days a week to Riley downtown for Speech therapy. Tommy attends a special preschool in Washington Twnshp, and will attend a Specail preschool summer program in Noblesville for kids with special needs. I will be all over the place! I have to want the best for him, I have to believe that with every bit of help he can get he may be one step closer to talking! My husband and I have been to every specialist we have been referred to. Tommy has had every test possible done to him. It is so unfair. He did not choose this, as you said. I sometimes feel as if I can't handle anymore. God has truly tested my limits and honestly, sometimes I wonder. In the last year, I had a new baby who was 7 wks old, was told my 2 yr old had cancer, and sat in a hospital watching my father slowly die of a rare blood disease. Go figure?! What are the odds? I should win the freaking lottery, or at least get struck by lightening!!! I know things could be worse. I wonder how, but they could. We are blessed. We have wonderful hospitals here locally, a great support system of friends and neighbors, and every now and then, my faith. I have to believe- if I don't who will.
I don't know if you have a website for your daughter. We have a site for Ryan that I blog on, it is www.carepages.com log onto prayersforryan. All one word. You are more than welcome to follow us on our journey. I know what it is to have a special needs child, and change is not the best thing for them! I wish you much strength on your fight! You and Brent are her voice and it HAS to be heard! Go as high and as far as you can! I have passed this along to many people we know, and would be happy to add anything that may help to our blog! We have many people who follow us, all over the states and in Ireland and New Mexico! Let me know if there is anything I can do to help! Even if it is just to cheer you on! I am hear to lend a hand or a shoulder to cry on!

The best of luck to you Angie. My girlfriends always tell me, "A woman is like a tea bag, you don't know how strong you are until you get in hot water!"
Blessings to you and your family. You go girl!!!
Much love, Melissa Keating

5/06/2008 10:36 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

Hi Angie,

We don't really 'know' each other, but, I believe I have talked to you thru Ebay. I might have won one/some of your auctions in the past...I know I've bid on some on Ebay. I think I signed up for your emails through your Ebay ME page. But, I do know I sometimes will check out your designs on Ebay and your website and read your blog from time to time - which is so fun, girl...you do a great job.

The reason I am emailing you is that I received your email below and I can tell you that I totally feel for you. My oldest daughter, Alaina, is special needs. She has a VERY rare neurological disorder that most people, well, in fact everyone, has never heard of or dealt with before. We end up having to educate people on what to expect. It's a cruel disorder where she has episodes of hemiplegia (limpness) and dystonia (stiffness). Her episodes happen on a cycle (about every 7-10 days) and are triggered by excitement and other things such as bright lights, loud noises, swimming, swings, etc. She also has developmental delays. She is very low tone and started walking independently the week of her 4th birthday. She has a wheelchair she uses when needed that we keep at school.

Alaina received the full range of therapies since her dx at 9 months including hippotherapy (horse therapy) and went to a special needs preschool. She was comfortable at preschool and it was a great program that integrates 'peer' (normal developing) children with special needs children. They only had 8 students per class with aides and therapists available. It was great.

When it came time for Kindy, I requested an aide for Alaina and was immediately shot down. I thought that it would go without question that she required an aide. Her episodes are unpredictable and I kept thinking what if my poor baby went into an episode during class...what would the teacher do with the other TWENTY students??!
Without going into too much details, we went into 'fight' mode and I got letters from multiple doctors, contacted legal counsel, and reached out for support from the other parents I'm in touch with children with the same dx.
The preschool is in the same school district as the elementary school. I remember emailing (and then calling and calling...) Alaina's preschool teacher, OT, and PT to ask them to make recommendation for an aide in Kindy and they refused to do it. In fact, they wouldn't even return my emails/calls about it. I was floored and felt betrayed, angry, and upset - these were all girls that I had wonderful relationships with thru Alaina.
Instead, I got a call from the preschool principal saying that they could not make that recommendation to the elementary school and there was nothing they could do. I explained to her that her role is the school 'administrator' and that I was looking for input from the teachers and therapists that worked with Alaina on a daily basis NOT the school adminstrator.
...ugh...so, I stewed on it a few days and went another direction. I called the principal back and asked if it was OK for the teacher to write up a list of the things during the day that Alaina needed assistance with - everything from washing hands, walking, staying on task, etc. At that point, we hadn't even started potty training. She agreed they could submit that for Alaina's IEP into Kindergarten. Well, the list was over two pages long! Alaina needed assitance with everything during the day. It was great ammunition.

Bottom line, Alaina does have an aide (or Instructional Assistant) that stays with her. She went thru Kindy twice and is now 8 years old and in 1st grade. She is learning to read, do match, etc. She has an IEP and a great 'team' that works with her at school. While I work outside the home, I am in constant contact with her teachers and school and receive updates daily.

Honestly, at first when I read your blog, I thought, yes, it would be a bummer if your dd went to another school then your son, but, ASSUMED there was good reason for it (i.e. safety, better handicap access, etc) SOMETHING.
BUT, it is UNEXCEPTABLE for the school district to make the decision to bump the 'critical' special needs program in favor of adding an honors program to the curriculum without the input of parents and the community.

It sounds like you and your husband are wonderful advocates for your daughter, I mean, if we parents don't stand up, WHO WILL??!! I agree with so many of the things you say in your blog entry. I don't know your daughter's dx, but, maybe you could argue that she needs to stay at your 'home' school b/c of health and/or safety reasons. Would there be a long bus ride involved? are there a lot of stairs at the other school? what are the facilities like for the special needs children?
In your situation, I don't think it would do any good to go to government officials, but, I wouldn't hesitate to get the media involved...they would love a story like yours and that would definitely get the school district to listen.

We pulled out the SAFETY card when dealing with the school district for Alaina. It is their DUTY to provide a safe environment for our children. I brought up things like fire drills, opening heavy doors, running...Alaina can't handle any of that.

Well, I could go on and on....whew.
I just felt somewhat of a kinship when I read your blog today. My heart goes out to you and your family. Bottom line, Alaina is my heart...she is the SWEETEST, funniest girl and has the shiniest personality. Her teachers, friends, classmates, EVERYONE is endeared to her - they reach out to her and truly love and care for her....I don't know how or why, but, it touches my heart everytime I visit her class to see how the children are with Alaina. Truly. I know you commented on how cruel children can be, but, my faith has been restored in that regard over the past couple years. I do know that as she gets older, that it will likely become more of a challenge. But, we'll take that as it comes.

There are so many details I'm skipping but, I know I've written WAAAAY to much as it is.

My prayers and thoughts are with you...you definitely sound like you've got the 'fight' in you and you are driven by love for your daughter. I believe there will be a special place in heaven for families, especially mothers of special needs children. We are watching over God's angels.

Let me know if there is anything I can do.

Sorry for the long email...I can't believe all of this came out of me tonight! LOL

5/06/2008 10:52 PM  
Anonymous Jenny A. said...

Hey guys,

Oh my goodness, this is unreal! Please send me the e-mail addresses and names of the board members and superintendant/assistants. This greatly concerns me (especially since we are considering moving to the CG area and schools). I have heard a few people mention the Asst. superintendant and how upset they were over some other decisions that were made. Where will Kenidi be going to school now for kindergarten? Is Brennen at CG Elementary? I agree that Kenidi should remain to what she is used to, and not have her whole world come completely undone and re-organized. And it would be so comforting to her to see Brennen sometimes at school, as well as the other kids she knows. I will keep you in my prayers and you hang tough girl! I know all about those 'raw' emotions when it comes to standing up for your children. You have to 'fight' for them and not let them get pushed around. YOU GO GIRL!!

Many blessings,
Jenny

5/07/2008 7:33 AM  
Anonymous Rachel W. said...

Hey there. I’m sorry to hear about all you are going through. It sounds like an awful situation. I talked to my mom last night, who was a superintendent in Indiana for several years and is still in administration to see if she’s heard of this happening. I went through the story as best I could. She said that every parent has the right for their child to go to their home school. Kenidi should be able to stay in that school regardless of if they’ve moved the program. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that she will have access to as much extra help if she stays in that school, but she can go there for sure and get the best guidance that is there.



She also said that sometimes schools in a district will have one integrated Kindergarten center where the kids from each school all come together. This way they have all the right chairs, desks, best books for their reading levels, best teachers, best additional helpers, etc. all in one area to help that group. She feels though that it’s always best for the child to stay in their home school whenever possible.



She said that you have rights and there are many levels of action that you can take to keep her in her home school. Have you spoken with an education based attorney to see what your rights are and how to proceed with appropriate action?



Rachel

5/07/2008 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Julie B. said...

Hi Angie & Brent,
My thoughts and prayers are with you. I have a nephew with Down Syndrome in Muncie who is 6. Last fall, his parents were told that he would have to ride a "special bus" over an hour to get to his school instead of attending the neighborhood school. Jacob cannot sit still for 10 minutes, let alone 60. I was at his birthday on Saturday and watched as all of his school friends- both challenged and not, played together, ate cake together and cheered together while he opened his packages. Not one of those children was judging him, they love him and build him up- Kenidi needs to have the opportunity to have that same experience.

I'm from Zionsville, a school system very much like Center Grove- excellence is expected and fostered. Anything less than that has never been accepted or embraced. They are doing a terrible disservice to children to not allow them to see what life is really like- a big melting pot with people of all abilities.

Is Brennan capable of writing a letter to the school? That may be a way to drive home the message to these closed minded individuals. Not that they aren't going to have enough reading to do.

Please send me what addresses you have. I will write till I can write no more and until then, rest your hearts knowing that people who love you are lifting this prayer up in your names.

Julie Ann

5/07/2008 12:23 PM  
Anonymous Jen said...

Angie,

I look forward to hearing the updates on the representative, news reporter, and lawyer. I really hope for you and your daughter that you create a change! Parents of these little ones have to be the voices for them. So many of them don't have the ability to stand up for what is right. God bless you and I pray that He will be with you through out your fight!

Jen

5/07/2008 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Sherry said...

Angie, I am so very sorry that your going through this right now.
I know it's tearing you apart inside and it is devestating to have the rug pulled out from underneath you when you think it's going to be one way and then whammo- different plan.
However, if you want to blame someone. Look into the No Child Left Behind Law that was passed by our dear President.
This law also states that high abilities students must have equal classes available within their districts as much as low abilities students are to have classes available to them. Unfortunatly it only states that the class must be available to them "somewhere" within the district. And if the class is available outside the school attended that they then must provide transportation....
As far as the individual schools decision does it totally stink- HECK YEAH but they are doing so out of a business sense and when looked at it non emotionally way who can blame them. The reason I say this is because, Schools get more funding based on "good scores" and how are they going to increase funding for their school--- high test scores and averages via the high abilities students.... So to them it's business. Not personal .
Sad but true. In their eyes they are doing the greater good for the "majority" of the school- including Brennen because the money given is spread around.
It is very sad that Kenedi can't go to her brothers school, it is horrid that the system is the way it is. Fight for your daughter and VOTE federally to change it.
In the meantime, since God has blessed you so bountifully you can always consider priviate school, that's what we did after 2 years of fighting back and forth with our district...

5/07/2008 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Debbie said...

WOW! I'm amazed at what you and Brent have accomplished already. I believe God is working! And not only is this obstacle going to come out for Kenidi's good, but I feel strongly that its effects are going to be felt by many special needs children and families. In fact, I believe God hand-picked you and Brent to be Kenidi's parents and to be used by HIM to make a difference in the lives of -who knows how many- of HIS special, precious ones.

I'm praying today for both of you -for HIS strength, peace, and wisdom. I'm praying for God to use this situation for HIS glory and to use you both for His plans.
LOVE YOU!

5/07/2008 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Renea said...

I think your going to be doing Kenedi more harm by not moving her because if they leave her at the home school she will get less help. Unless of course they moved ALL the LD kids to your school and that would create the same problem your having for someone else. Unfortunatly, it's a lose lose situation here.
I have to say I agree with a previous commentor about sticking to the legal aspect and notspeak of the 'unfair funding" because there are far more people that feel jipped because SO MUCH funding already goes to a very small portion of the LD kids. It is very unbalaced actually, in favor of the LD kids- so I just wouldn't go that route.

I hate to say it. But you and Brent live a life most everybody dreams of $ wise . Lots of people read your blog to live vicariously
I also agree with a previous commentor that said "you can afford it, send them to private school" because, quite frankly this SUCKS but it is what it is in our government today.

5/07/2008 12:48 PM  
Blogger Angie (Angelica Grace Designs) said...

I want to jump in here and say that an update is coming very soon. I'm awaiting a couple of things before I post a new blog today. Stay tuned.

Secondly, I want to say that is not a funding issue or allocation of those funds. (as maybe misunderstood by previous posts) This program is already in place and has been there at this school for years. Our fight is to keep it there and not to create it. We utilize no government assistance when it comes to Kenidi's healthy care. Kenidi's medical expenses are totally self funded. Daily therapy, hospital visits, medication, orthopedics, etc. etc. etc. We bare that cost of all that out of pocket. We are the employer which means my husband also pays for all of the health insurance. I can appreciate where the last couple of commentors might have come to the assumption that "we can afford" alternative measures for Kenidi. Brent and I will be the 1st to tell you that we feel overly blessed by what the good Lord has given us in life. The state assesses in property taxes, income taxes, and employer taxes in exchange for education services in our community. We are asking for nothing other than the outlined exchange.

Just wanted to add clarity to this beings that we received those last two comments about why we don't pay to send her to private schools. The IDEA act/law actually requires the same services from the school corporations regardless of whether she attends a public school or a private school.

We do appreciate everyone's feedback and views in regard to this issue. Even if opinions differ slightly, we value each persons input and are taking each one into consideration so that we are armed with knowledge as we embark on the fight of our life.

Again, stay tuned later tonight for a follow up and how each one of you can help. The troops have definitely been called to "active" duty and we appreciate that all of you are armed, waiting, and ready to go. Hang tight and keep that passion and fight alive for us, for Kenidi, and for all of the other children without a voice in this matter.

In his grip,
Angie Seaman

5/07/2008 1:09 PM  
Anonymous Trae M. said...

I had begun an e-mail to you earlier, and saw that there was an update. This is exactly what I was going to recommend to you - let your Representative and Senator in on the problem. Channel 6 and the school board would also be good ones to contact. "A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything" is an appropriate quote for you - keep on keepin' on! I'm standing by you and praying for you. You just keep on standing for Kenedi and for the thousands more who will follow her.

This might just be one of those 'purposes' the Lord made you for. Look at it as a Heavenly assignment and it may just bring you joy in the process.

I'm a friend of your mom's and I will certainly be praying for all of you. Love - Trae McQueen, IU

5/07/2008 1:12 PM  
Blogger Angie (Angelica Grace Designs) said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE that quote Trae. I am going to make that one my motto throughout this battle.
Thanks so much to each and everyone of you for your voice and your encouraging emails, comments, and letters. We couldn't do this without the awesome support we are getting from everyone around us as well as those of you in the US and outside the US. Brent and I are overwhelmed by the response and are incredibly humbled by the amount of support God has laid in our laps in just 24 hours. Stay tuned later this evening!

In him, Angie Seaman

5/07/2008 1:14 PM  
Anonymous Melanie K. said...

Hi Angie~ I don't know if you got my LONG email I sent to you last night. Anyway, I had forwarded your blog to some neighbors and friends of ours. She is a State Senator and a Huge advocate for education. I got an email from her this morning and she wanted to know what district your in? If she can't help she wants to forward this to the right person who can! I also sent this to her husband, who is a right hand man to Governor, Mitch Daniels. He was not happy with what you were told!! Let me know so I can get that info to them! Good luck with your fight! Melissa Keating, IN

5/07/2008 1:24 PM  
Anonymous Nina (FL) said...

My dear friend Angie,

I have just read your posts, had not had any computer time this week...but anyway...where do I start...

I feel like I have known you for a million years...I remember when I first started reading your blog, you were pregnant with Kenidi. It seems like just yesterday, but yet it seems like so long ago. I remember you saying all your hopes and dreams for this sweet precious girl who had not yet entered the world. You did not know what was in store for her, or for you and your family. I also remember the postings when she was born, this beautiful sweet little girl with her happy (yet tired ;) ) parents and her big brother who was so enraptured with this new little angel. And of course I remember all those months later when you got the diagnosis of her hypotonia. Kenidi is and always has been a beautiful gift form God.

You have always been a great support person for me. From the first time I emailed you when I was pregnant with Aiden, had a 2 yr old, and a 13 yr old at home, and had just been laid off from my then career, you emailed me with words of encouragement. You told me to have Faith in our Lord. Strong faith, Faith of Gold. Actually here are the words you emailed me (I have saved them as they meant so much to me and I have often turned to them during trying times):

Therefore, just remember to turn your fears and worries over to God. Lay them at his feet and say...."it's in your hands Lord...we know you'll see us through!" Believe that with all of your heart too! Have the faith of "gold" not just an alloy. (fake, brass, imitation of gold) Be strong and have an open mind. What sometimes seems like a crisis often turns out to be a HUGE blessing in disguise. God is good, isn't he? What would we do without him? Seriously!

This words seem so true right at this moment. I know how strong your Faith is, it is an awesome testament to how much you love Him. I often do exactly as you told me, I put everything in the Lord's hands, lay them at His feet, and tell Him that I know He wants to handle these obstacles, crisis, trying time for me. And you know what He does!! I owe this all to YOU!! My words to you are to fight, fight with every inch of your being for Kenidi Grace. You and Brent are her greatest champions, supporters and protectors. You fight for what you know is right for her and what you feel is right for her. But also hand it over to God, and He will also fight for you.

Angie, you know without a doubt I am here for you!! I will email, call, write whoever and where ever you want me to!! Send me the phone numbers, email addresses, and addresses you have. I will be a fighter for Kenidi, for you and for all children who are being tossed aside. Kenidi and Brennen are Blessed to have you and Brent for parents, you both are amazing!! As you have been for the past 4-5 years know that daily you and your family are in my prayers.

I love ya girl!!
Nina

5/07/2008 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Melissa K. said...

Angie~I hope you don't mind, I just contacted Karen Hensel with Wish TV. I know her Dad well and have chatted with her reguarding my sons with special needs. She herself is a mother and I ask that if she can't do anything to at least pass it on and see what we can do! I hope you don't mind! We also have some connections at the Star and I am looking into that. Us Moms have to stick together!! Our motto is....Be Strong, Stay Strong...Beat IT!!! Melissa Keating :o)

5/07/2008 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Cortney Johnson (AZ) said...

Angie-
You and your family haven't left my thoughts for long since I read your email and blog. I can't pretend to say " I know how you feel", I don't. I do know that I have this sinking feeling when my child says they don't feel well. I know I am in for the helpless feeling of not being able to make them better and having to wonder how long they won't be their normal selves. I have to liken these feelings to yours, knowing that you have this child that you love with every cell of your body and not being able to make them normal in everyone else's eyes. I know we have never met but we are mothers and I know what that feels like so I know you will fight with all you have. God will guide you and you will listen and Kenidi will thank you and him. You are so inspiring and I know you will not sit around helpless with his help.
Keep us posted.
Also, after reading your blog about the little girl that died in the car. I took the safety locks off my BMW that don't let your child open the door from backseat while inside. Here I was so worried that one of them might open the car from their carseat or booster while we were driving that I never thought of the possibility that they may need to open it while it was still in the driveway. We live in Arizona were this happens a few times a year and your blog made me realize this was a much better option than a door flying open while my children were still strapped in a seat while driving.
Thanks for that.
Cortney Johnson

5/07/2008 6:17 PM  
Anonymous Krissie said...

The responce to this situation your family is going though is amazing! Its humbling to see that there are such wonderful,giving & caring people in this world! Per our convo. today you know how I feel...(its wrong on so many levels) Your family is in our prayers. If you need anything at all, even if its stuffing envelopes, let me know. Keep up the good fight!
Much love & luck to your family,
Krissie

*p.s. Mellisa is too funny..I agree it is a good time for a picnic!

5/08/2008 3:35 AM  
Blogger PamperingBeki said...

Oh Ang!!!

This is the first time I've checked in here this week and I'm so sorry to hear this.

You keep fighting girl! I will pray for your family.

5/10/2008 12:24 AM  

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