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Davenport, IA: SPED students put in isolation each day for weeks at a time

June 20, 2018, Davenport, IA, Quad City Times: Mothers of students with disabilities express concerns for Davenport special-ed processes Nicole Wallace's son spent three weeks of school days in a barren room where, at one point, he urinated on himself. When Wallace's son, Keagan, told her he spent his days at Smart Intermediate School in "the skills room," Wallace didn't know that meant an isolation room. She also had no idea why he was sent there. One day, Keagan, who had an individualized education program, or IEP, to address special education needs, told her he had been “in skills” for three weeks. She asked school officials what that was, and was taken to a room. “When I walk into this room, there was pee in the corner,” she said. The room was barren, with a bump-out that served as a makeshift bench. … Keagan’s last day at Smart was Sept. 29. His mother is home-schooling him until he enters Central High School in the fall. Now Wallace is one of three Davenport mothers of children with disabilities who want to correct flaws they see in district processes and ensure fair treatment for special education students. All are members of the District Wide Davenport PTO. They went public after a state audit of the district special-education program found "systemic non-compliance" with several parts of the federal law that governs education of students with disabilities. As a result, the district must work with a state-selected adviser to address the problems.

After the audit in late January, the Iowa Department of Education said the district must reconvene IEP meetings for hundreds of special education students and provide them compensatory education services, if they're owed them, at the district's cost. It must also work with a national expert to address a disproportionate number of students of color identified for special-education services, and the disproportionate number of minority special-education students subjected to disciplinary actions. …

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