Joseph began at Marshall High on November 8th, 2000. He was to be assigned an aide, I guess to prevent him from beating people up. The District didn’t get it together to find an alternative location for him to receive academics, so we reluctantly agreed he would get these needs attended to at Marshall along with life skills training. At this point we had very little faith that he would be educated in Portland Public schools, but we had no where else to send him that wasn’t too expensive. We managed to get him a keyboarding class and a Title I math class, but there wasn’t much else they were willing to do.
An aide finally entered the picture during the week of December 4th. He left the picture the next day and a new aide was brought on board. He jumped overboard a week later, and another aide was enlisted. If you don’t know anything about autism, this is probably the most accurate fact you need to know... People with autism need consistency. Especially Joseph. The aide that stuck with him during his 2 cups of coffee at Marshall is the son of the Director of Special Ed.’s assistant. In early January he wrote in Joseph’s communication log that he realized we were new to Joseph’s situation. He’s gonna tell me I’m new to my nephew’s “situation” who I’ve known from birth? Enough about the aides.
Let’s talk about their attorney instead. She began showing up on cc lists within the District in November. I’m not sure if this was an attempt at intimidating us, but the result was that it really pissed us off. By the end of November we were gaining confidence that this school/situation wasn’t going to work out either. Very few of the agreements they made were coming to fruition, even though they were written into Joseph’s ISP. Tension was constantly in the air whenever we dealt with them. By the end of November we decided to look for our own attorney to go after them in Due Process. We found someone who took care of the paper work in filing. She had good intentions, but there was 1 problem. She thought we should settle with them out of court. We weren’t interested in settling. Beside the way these players had denied our nephew a free appropriate public education (FAPE), they were likely to do the same to other kids unless we exposed what they had done.
Joseph continued to be under educated at Marshall until we could no longer watch his time being wasted. He had learned more at home than in the schools he attended here, so we pulled him out and home schooled him until PPS showed a REAL desire to educate him. We’d experienced tampering with documents, lies, sneakiness, and blatant incompetence. I believe some of it was due to fear and insecurity, but I also believe some of it was a result of our taking PPS to court.