I was naturally curious when a letter arrived in the mail from Kyle’s middle school. (He’s in ninth grade.) Tearing the envelope open, I noticed it was a copied form letter.
To the parent/guardian of (my son’s name penciled in here):
It has come to our attention that your student received a failing grade in one or more core classes for first semester. Since a failing grade greatly decreases a student’s opportunity for successfully passing future core classes, we strongly suggest that a remediation course be taken.
(blah blah blah blah)
Assistant Principal Smith
At first I felt mild irritation, and then medium irritation. (On the salsa scale, I was moving toward hot.) So I decided to write a response back to the school.
To the Assistant Principal of (school’s name penciled in here):
It has come to my attention that your school has given a failing grade to a special needs student who is being mainstreamed in a regular-ed class. Since assigning a failing grade to an autistic child indicates you are not making adequate classroom accommodations for his disability, I strongly suggest that the school administration and faculty take a remedial course in special education.
(blah blah blah blah blah)
Alright, so I don’t really plan to send the letter. (But writing it helped; I’m back to mild on the salsa scale.) I do plan to call first thing on Monday. In my opinion, no child with a legitimate cognitive delay should ever receive an “F” in a course. My son is showing up every day with a smile on his face and eager to learn, and is doing so at great disadvantage due to his disability. There is no failure in that. I’m certain that with a single phone call, I’ll get a big “whoops” and “we’re so sorry,” and Kyle’s “F” will magically disappear. Somebody forgot to tell somebody, who forgot to tell somebody else, that Kyle is a special needs student. This is a case where the school gets an “F” for their breakdown in communication. (Don’t worry class, there will be a make-up test after school.)
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