IEP is complete. Rowenna will have another year of 4K at our request and will attend a different school in our district.
People are describing this as a “win” and congratulating me. I suppose it is a win. Ro will be in a placement that we truly feel is best for her at this time.
So why doesn’t it feel like a win?
Is it because of the seed of doubt planted in my mind that this is not the right placement? The parents who staunchly speak and write about always staying with same age peers, the teachers who pushed – hard – for a kindergarten placement?
Or maybe it’s because the final IEP meeting had a certain air of resignation. I had said the right things to the right people and I guess I “won.” No one said a single word against retention at that final meeting. It was quick and straight to the point – one team handing Ro off to another. It was a bit odd after the tension at the previous meeting.
Or was it having my own bubble burst? Learning that what seemed like a good fit and a great school year maybe wasn’t so wonderful at all?
But what I really think it is, way deep down, is the overwhelming sense of injustice. The conversations I’ve had in the last month are being held at meetings all over the country. We are all still fighting the same, tired fight. Decades upon decades of the same simple request: teach our children. Presume competence. Welcome them.
This fight shouldn’t have happened at all. Not today. Not in 2015. Not just because there is a federal law ensuring her education, but because shouldn’t we know by now that children like Rowenna have worth? Shouldn’t we be past the point of having to threaten lawyers, and in a place where a teacher wants all children in her class?
It just doesn’t feel like a win when I have to wonder if I will be writing the same blog posts next spring, and the year after, and the year after. It doesn’t feel like a win when I still have a list of people to call and questions to ask. It doesn’t feel like a win when it is incredibly obvious that most of the people I’ve spoken with in the last month still have no idea why we were upset in the first place.
It’s not a win when no one understands why anyone would take issue with calling something the “cognitive disability room.”
This isn’t a win because I know the fight isn’t over.
We’ll take it, though. We’ll take this placement and learn from this year and strive to build a strong team that can carry her through the next few years of school.
I’ll keep nudging and challenging and asking.
This girl is worthy. This girl has so much to offer.