Sunday, August 9, 2015

Advocate for Your Student on School Issues

Advocate for Your Student on School Issues


  • It is your decision to give the school your child’s records.
  • There may be a good reason for the school to have medical and mental health records, but only those that are educationally relevant.
  • Do not sign a consent form (release) from the school unless you are sure that you want the school to have all the records the school is requesting.
  • Make sure the release is specific and only for the information the school really needs from the doctor, hospital or medical provider, and that it is not your child’s entire file.
  • Call the medical provider’s office before you sign the release to find out which records are in your child’s file.
  • You can always give the school copies of specific records they request instead of signing a release. One way to do this is to:
  • – Ask the school for a list of written questions or information they need from the medical provider in order to educate your child.
    – Then ask the medical provider to give you a written response to the school’s questions, which you can then provide the school.
    – This allows you to remain in control of your child’s care and still provide the school any necessary information.
    – It can also prevent misunderstandings or the release of records the school doesn’t need to see.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: Lee's Summit second-grader exposed to porn at school - FOX Carolina 21

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: Lee's Summit second-grader exposed to porn at school - FOX Carolina 21


The parents of a second-grader are upset that she was exposed to porn and other inappropriate comment through a computer given to her by the Lee's Summit School District.

"I couldn't be more shocked," said Kris Mojica. "This content was there on my 8-year-old's laptop that the school hands her."

He said he saw two naked girls having sex in one of the videos, saying he considers what he saw "hard-core pornography."

The district has shut down most access to after he and his wife complained that their daughter had been exposed to porn and other inappropriate content. Other children at Meadow Lane Elementary School also saw adult content through their district-issued Chrome books.

The district has told the parents of the second grader that it was about 10 students, but the Mojicas believe the problem was more widespread than that. The parents also believe district officials in denial about how big of an issue that they have with computers issued to children.

Assistant Superintendent Kate Collier said the district regrets the mishap.

"We have expressed to the family that we are certainly sorry that they or any children were exposed to that content that would be inappropriate for children during the school day," Collier said.

The district says the inappropriate content was seen in late January and early February. The Mojicas say they alerted an assistant principal on Feb. 2, while the district says the conversation took place Feb. 3.

An investigation was launched and as a result access to the entire site was shut down the afternoon of Feb. 3 according to the Lee's Summit School District.

The district had allowed access to YouTube For Schools. District officials said they had a filter in place to block access to the regular site.

"Through the investigation, technology department staff members determined that our district's internet filtering did not catch a recent update to the regular YouTube website, allowing all YouTube content to be accessible for a short period," the district said in a statement.

Typically the YouTube school channel is available just on student devices.

"In this instance, (Lee's Summit district) staff members believe a recent firmware upgrade on the appliance , which manages the district's filter was flawed and caused full access to YouTube to open late last week," the district said.

Mojica kept his daughter out of school last week, but planned to return her to class this week. And then he realized that the district had blocked YouTube but his daughter and students could still access graphic content through a simple search on their web browser. He said he found images of people being hanged, swastikas and other content simply by typing in "white powder."

He said he shudders to think what else is available.

"You got a lion in a cage. The last thing you want to do is just hand an 8-year-old (the key) and just kind of see what happens," Mojica said. "And that's what they are doing. They're handing my daughter a web browser to put in whatever happens to blow through her mind."

His wife said that their daughter has had part of her childhood innocence taken away from her.

"Bottom line, if it's not educational, it does not belong in school," the father said.

District officials said a "few" other students were exposed to the inappropriate content, and administrators are working with the parents of those children.

But the couple believes their daughter viewed the video before Christmas. They said the filter has been off for weeks, and the district has refused to acknowledge it.

District officials refused to address whether the videos were pornographic. District spokeswoman Janice Phelan repeatedly said Wednesday that it was "inappropriate content."

Teachers continue to have "controlled access" to YouTube for Schools via their teacher computer devices, Phelan said.
She said the district is working to ensure this doesn't happen again.

"District staff members are continuing to work with senior engineers from the vendor of the content filter to address this situation and to prevent it from happening in the future," the district's statement said.

Meadow Lane parents interviewed by KCTV5 on Wednesday said they were stunned to hear about the issue, and were disappointed that the district didn't alert them to the problem.

Mojica said the district needs to do more and address a serious issue. He said young elementary school children should not need web browsers that provide access to anything but internal educational content.

"This whole thing is extremely wrong," he said. "Our education process (shouldn't) involve me having to explain lesbian activity to my 8 year old."

Share your thoughts on KCTV5's Facebook page. Click here.

This is the district's entire statement:

"Lee's Summit R-7 School District officials were contacted by the parent of an elementary student about a potential problem with the district's Internet filtering on Feb. 3. The district's Technology Department immediately began an investigation regarding this situation and made the recommendation to close all access to YouTube for Schools (YouTube EDU) with this access shut down by the afternoon of Feb. 3. Through the investigation, Technology Department staff members determined that our district's Internet filtering did not catch a recent update to the regular YouTube website, allowing all YouTube content to be accessible for a short period. Normally, only YouTube for Schools is available on student devices. In this instance, R-7 staff members believe a recent firmware upgrade on the appliance which manages the district's filter was flawed and caused full access to You Tube to open late last week. Teachers continue to have controlled access to YouTube for Schools via their teacher computer devices for instructional purposes. Administration at the elementary school where the inappropriate access was reported have been working with parents of the few children who were able to access these websites."The R-7 School District has a CIPA (Children's Internet and Protection Act) compliant content filter in place as required by law and by the district's Board of Education policy. YouTube for Schools has been the only YouTube option open for elementary students. Through the district's filtering procedures, the full YouTube website should not have been available. District staff members are continuing to work with senior engineers from the vendor of the content filter to address this situation and to prevent from happening in the future."Here's additional information regarding our district's content filtering and monitoring from Board policy EHB:

"Content Filtering and Monitoring"The district will monitor the online activities of minors and operate a technology protection measure (“content filter”) on the network and all district technology with Internet access, as required by law. In accordance with law, the content filter will be used to protect against access to visual depictions that are obscene or harmful to minors or are child pornography. Content filters are not foolproof, and the district cannot guarantee that users will never be able to access offensive materials using district equipment. Evading or disabling, or attempting to evade or disable, a content filter installed by the district is prohibited."The superintendent, designee or the district's technology administrator may fully or partially disable the district's content filter to enable access for an adult for bona fide research or other lawful purposes. In making decisions to fully or partially disable the district's content filter, the administrator shall consider whether the use will serve a legitimate educational purpose or otherwise benefit the district."

Copyright 2015 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: Celebration for all graduates

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: Celebration for all graduates

I wrote this in May 2009.  It is still relevant today.

Celebration for all graduates
I was a part of three life changing events this week.  The first was my son 16-year-old son dropping out of Lee's Summit High School.  The emotional and psychological damage of going to school wasn't worth the little educational benefit that he was receiving.

The second was my twin daughter’s graduating from Lee's Summit High School.  They were average students that had to work very hard to achieve their success.  That was something that we weren't allowed to celebrate at their graduation. The only students that were recognized were those in the top ten percent.

The third was the graduation of my nephew from Missouri University of Science and Technology.  He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a bachelor's degree in computer engineering.  He was a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.  He is also a graduate of Lee's Summit High School.

The first graduation was a status symbol for the Lee's Summit School District.  There were many speeches about how well the top ten percent did.  The were many honors bestowed on the students that made the district look like it had earned it's reputation.  There was no time for each student and their family to savor the success of their child.

Parents were not allowed to clap for their children. They were allowed to stand when their student's name was called.  However they were made to sit down immediately.  I had two graduates and was forced to sit before my second child got her diploma.  The security at this graduation was stronger and more aggressive than that of the security where the president is making a speech.

The graduation at Missouri S&T was about four years of accomplishment and the celebration that comes with it.  The students walked down the aisle very slowly.  When their name was called they walked slowly across the stage and the audience was allowed to applaud and the band even played for band mates.  They didn't distinguish which students had accomplished the most and they didn't speak about their student’s accomplishments as if S&T was personally responsible for them. 

At the Lee's Summit graduation the students were rushing down the aisle at a near run.  Two students were crossing the stage at the same time and parents were removed from the building if they applauded the success of their children.  The audience was told that this was a team effort and that individual praise was not wanted.  I certainly don’t remember any of the team members staying up all night to help the other team members accomplish their goals.  This was not a team sport.  It was an individual effort that warranted individual accolades.

Both graduations lasted for the same amount of time.  Both graduations had the same amount of graduates.  What was the difference?  Missouri S&T were allowing the families and students to celebrate ALL of the student's hard work.  Not just the top ten percent. Not the students that made them look good.  This is applied ALL of the students. 

I walked out of my children’s graduation feeling like their only reward for staying up all night to do homework and struggling through thirteen years of learning was to run across a stage and grab a diploma. 

I walked out of my nephew's graduation feeling that I had attended a real celebration of EVERYONE'S hard work. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Does your school have a secret history of abusing disabled children? Find out here - National special education |

Does your school have a secret history of abusing disabled children? Find out here - National special education |

1. North Mercer R3, Mercer, MO (Seclusion Room: Closet converted to seclusion room)
2. Underwood Elementary School, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Lee’s Summit, MO (Seclusion: Child kept in closet for most of a month)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: Do NOT Let The State of Missouri and Lee's Summit R-VII Steal Your Child's Future

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: Do NOT Let The State of Missouri and Lee's Summit R-VII Steal Your Child's Future

I was talking to a friend today and some things came to mind.  Many people want to know why I fight with the school district and the State.  I have earned quite a reputation as a crazy mom.  There are many people that are happy with the education that their children are getting and wonder why I am not.  Well, let me explain it to you.
I have known that my son has autism since he was three years old.  I lived in a very small town in Illinois with the population of 1,200.  I had twin daughters that were 5 years old and were in all day kindergarten.  The town was having testing for children 3-5 years of age.  I thought it was to see where they were academically and what they needed to work on prior to starting kindergarten.  My son was three years old and the only child that I had home during the day.  I signed him up for the testing and took him up to the school.  I wasn’t sure if he would go through it because he was a screamer.  I don’t mean that he screamed every once in awhile.  I mean that he screamed 24/7.  For the first two and a half years of his life he would sleep for 30 minutes and scream for the next two hours.  This went on all of the time.  He didn’t speak or even make noises.  He never said MaMa or DaDa.  He just screamed.  When you tried to hold him he would arch his back.  He never reached for me and even really acknowledged me.  He just screamed.  I had asked the pediatrician and he said boys don’t talk as early as girls and some babies cry more than others.  So, they took him into another room for awhile and when they brought him back they said that if they felt that he needed to start Early Childhood they would call me within a week.  Within three days I received a phone call.  They weren’t sure what his issues were, but the district felt that he "wasn't right" and put him into school.  They didn't know what the problem was, but they were determined to find out and give the best that they had.
This was a town of 1,200 people.  The school district was a combination of two towns with a combined population of 2,000.  Their resources were very limited.  I didn't even know that my child had an issue.  I was blind.  Something that would affect my judgment for the next ten years.
These wonderful people put my son into a classroom of six students and two teachers.  They gave him OT and ST.  They worked on his social skills.  They worked on any issue that came up.  Not because they had to.  He didn't even have an IEP yet.  They did it because they saw a child that needed help to be successful in life.  They treated him like a human being that needed guidance and support.  He was not another drain on their budget.  They had practically no budget.  It didn't matter.  HE mattered.
When he was four they did some educational evaluations.  This was before the internet.  This was before anyone knew anything about autism.  They said that his tests came back with some very odd results.  They said that he was way at one end of the curve on some things and at the other end of the curve on other things.  There was nothing in the middle.  They said that he didn’t make eye contact.  I had never noticed this.  They said that he didn’t play with other children.  That he would only parallel play.  They said that he used dramatic and constructive play, but not interactive play.  He could name colors, count up to 12, and recognized numbers.  He could sequence objects by size and understood concept of big.  He needed a routine and things had to always be the same and if it was not it would throw him off.  He would flap his arms and rock when he became excited.  He couldn’t follow simple instructions.  He displayed a short attention span.  He was very interested in Thomas the Tank Engine and could name every engine, their color, and their number.  He could tell the name of a Disney VHS tape just by the font.   You could lay out the movies, without the box, and he could name the movie just because of the font.  I never even noticed that each movie had a different font.  They took all of this information and started reading.  They found that he exhibited many language, behavior, and socialization characteristics that may indicate a pervasive developmental disorder.  They included:  late talking, limited variety of responses, non-use of greetings, lack of conversation, lack of playing with others, limited eye contact, perseverative language, echolalic language, arm flapping, strange attachment to objects, and an ability to repeat video scripts verbatim.
When my son was five we moved back to Kansas City.  This is where my husband and I were raised.  We carefully called and interviewed every school district on both sides of the state line.  We wanted to make sure that Jake would get the best that Kansas City had to offer.
After several phone calls and interviews we chose Lee's Summit.  I went and told the personnel here that the district in Illinois felt that Jake wasn't ready for regular kindergarten.  They felt that he needed 1 on 1 or small group instruction for at least one more year.  It stated it in his IEP.  Lee's Summit assured me that they were a big district that could handle all of his needs and issues and that the best thing for Jake was going to kindergarten.  Once again, I was blind.
Jake went to Prairie View from kindergarten through sixth grade.  He had some amazing teachers there.  They were kind, supportive, and made accommodations that his IEP didn't call for.  We had no issues there.  I truly felt that we had picked the best school district that we could have.  I volunteered in his classroom every week for at least 2-3 hours.  I helped with the school carnival.  I helped with health fair.  I wrote to the Kansas City Star and told them what an amazing job they were doing with my son. 
I didn't know much about autism and I felt like the district was doing all that Jake needed.  Little did I know that when he got into high school my only hope for him would be living in a group home.  That is where we are now.  On his IEP the district has decided that his transition program would be to live semi-independently.
WHY?  Because the district never addressed his autism.  They didn't address his dysgraphia.  They didn't address his social issues.  They didn't address his written language issues.  Why didn't they?  I didn't demand it.  In seventh grade the only goal he had on his IEP was to be able to write a paragraph.  This is a child with autism, dysgraphia, and a written language deficit.
I thought that you had to believe in the experts and trust them.  That blindness has caused the loss of my son's independence.  If I had educated myself and fought for him, he would have a different future.  His future was stolen and I stood back and let it happen.
I gave the school district a five year old with potential.  They have given back a child that will never leave home.  I let them do this to my child.  My silence and acceptance granted them permission to destroy my son's future.  He could have been an independent taxpaying citizen.  Now he will be a burden on tax payers.  Not to worry, Lee's Summit.  You have no group homes here, so he won't burden your city.
My son dropped out of school on May 11, 2009.  It was his sixteenth birthday.  No longer could I allow them to destroy him physically, mentally, and emotionally.  He was receiving no services and his anxiety level was through the roof.  They were not helping him academically.  His psychologist discovered that he couldn’t multiply or divide.  The district’s answer was that they would allow him to use a calculator.  This is a child with a nonverbal IQ of 137. 
Your children still have a chance.  Your children still have a future.  I pray that none of you ever have to read the following and have it apply to your child.  But, if you continue to sit back and do nothing, you will face the same situation that I face today.  I let the State of Missouri and the Lee's Summit School District steal my son's future.  I will live with that until the day that I die because Jake will be living with me until the day I die.  What will happen to him after that, only God knows.  I pray that you never have to go to bed at night and think about that.
Jake's future goal, according to the school district, is to live semi-independently.