39. Understanding Chain of Command, Structure and Written Policy

frustratedOften parents will experience frustration because they have identified a problem, carefully documented the course of events, and then failed to achieve resolution because they sought enforcement from the wrong person or agencies.

It is important understand what policies or practices are being applied that are causing the conflict or barrier to the goal you seek.  Once that is established it is the necessary to request a copy of the document and address it with the entity responsible for the writing and implementation. Written or unwritten, spoken or unspoken, if it is something that is routinely done it is a practice and thus becomes policy.  Establishing accountability for the policy identifies who is then responsible for the compatibility and compliance with state and federal law.

It  has been my personal experience that there is a greater success rate addressing written policy with the impact being for all the policy applies to verses individual situations that only impact one at a time.

Without a clear understanding of policy, procedures, and organizational structure parents often experience frustration and simply give up when all they are doing wrong is trying to address the issue with a person or department that does not enforce or implement that policy.  Taking the time to clarify the organizational structure will pinpoint the responsible person to address your issues with.  Unfortunately when parents are unaware of organizational structure prior to making that contact initially will often lead to an agonizing game of being passed from one person to the next while repeating the purpose of your original call over and over again.

Being told no should only mean that we are going to have an opportunity to discuss this further.  It is only when you have exhausted remedies and fully utilized the chain of command that pursing resolution in that direction should be abandoned.

I would encourage you to always try to resolve issues at the bottom of the ladder, but nothing stops a parent from proceeding directly to the top if remedy can be obtained there and there is no procedural requirement to utilize other steps first.

dadschoolIn seeking resolution to a variety of issues you will encounter throughout your child’s education it is important to first establish what is policy or practice and then identify who is the person that can impact the change needed and where to look for that resolution.  Failure to establish this from the start will result in often long periods of time waiting for an answer only to find that the ruling or finding was not favorable because it was not the venue to address it.  One of the most common misconceptions in the chain of command in a school setting is the belief that an ESE department governs a building principal. In most systems principals are only accountable to the superintendent or his appointee.  Often the barrier you are experiencing is building based and not on a district administrative level.

One of the most effective strategies is to always ask these questions. May I have a copy of the policy?  Who wrote the policy?  And Who enforces that policy?

This entry was posted in Advocacy, Dads, Disability, Emotion, Fathers, Florida, IDEA, IEPs, Inclusion, Least Restrictive Environment, Parent Involvement, Public School, Special Education and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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