Tuesday, July 10, 2012

 

Hawaii’s war on the disadvantaged shuts down special needs school


by Larry Geller

They call this the Aloha State… how come? There’s little aloha for special needs students.

Hawaii has a case before the 9th Circuit to take away medical care from Micronesians and other migrants. Instead of providing housing opportunities for homeless citizens, it takes away their possessions and conducts multiple sweeps to move them from one place to another. And Hawaii’s war against special ed students continues, even after the conclusion of the Felix Consent Decree.

KITV has been blacked out from the cable system, but you can still see this video on the web: Parents on difficuluty (sic) of finding good schools. It reports that the DOE has withheld at least $700,000 in payments to Loveland Academy, so the school announced it is closing its doors on July 27.

Watch the video. According to one of the parents interviewed, he was told by a teacher that his son had a “broken brain.”

It takes time for lawsuits against the DOE to work their way through the courts. In the meantime, Loveland can’t pay its bills and is going belly up. I guess they’re celebrating somewhere inside the DOE.

Welcome to the Aloha State.



Comments:

i don't understand this entirely. the news reports haven't been to detailed. is this an issue where a special needs child's family has to prove to a hearings officer every year the need for special needs education AFTER the school year in which the special needs education is given? so either the parents pay up front and get reimbursement much much later or the school has to teach the kids on credit hoping the parents will succeed in their hearings officer procedure? is this the issue? the DOE is foot dragging on those totally unnecessary hearings which is forcing these schools out of business, or is it by some other sinister method?
 


It can be complicated, and depends on the situation. Some schools that provide services to special needs children have had so much trouble getting reimbursement from the DOE that they do (or have in the past) required parents to pay in advance. Many parents can't pay. Mission accomplished for the DOE. As in the Loveland situation, the DOE can tie up payments for so long that the school is hurt. So Loveland has announced that it is going under. DOE mission accomplished. Of course, Loveland could have, I suppose, turned down the children, but I understand that they are not inclined to do so. The early years are crucial to the advancement of children with autism, for example. Missing a year is a terrible setback and could make a difference down the road to success in school and maybe going to college-- or not.

There are cases in litigation, and without knowing the details of each, I can't say what is going on with accuracy. I am familiar with what Loveland has accomplished and know that should they close, there will be fewer options for special needs children on Oahu.

Despite the long Felix Consent decree, the DOE and parents are still in contention when the DOE does not provide and won't pay for services. Hawaii has a large number of due process hearings per capita as a result. The DOE also may not follow the orders of the hearing officer, in which case the family has to seek a remedy which may include going to federal court. All this takes time.
 

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