Have you heard about the situation at Fletcher Miller?
We have heard the district is threatening to take away the 2 RNs from Fletcher Miller and leave just ONE LPN. That means this school with 100 medically fragile kids would have minimal medical professionals on hand to attend to their needs.
In speaking with a nurse in Jeffco, she notes that some of the needs of Fletcher Miler children is outside of the LPN Scope of Practice.
Board member, Les Dahlkemper, is lobbying to include this situation on Thursday’s meeting agenda. We are also encouraging folks to write the Jeffco Board of Education asking this topic be part of the agenda.
Here’s a rundown from a Fletcher Miller parent:
There are two main issues facing our Fletcher Miller School community right now:
- The change in status of FM from a school to a ‘program’- While it is still unclear what the ultimate implications of this change are it does mean that the district, and not school administration and staff, are in charge of making decisions regarding staffing, budget, as well as the goals and emphasis of the ‘program’ taking place at FM. As a program FM would not be able to issue grades or diplomas. This change in status was made without consulting or notifying parents, and seemingly without consulting FM staff or administration. The Special Education Department, under the leadership of Sue Chandler is responsible for this decision.
- Removal of Direct Nursing Care- FM currently has two RN’s and one LPN on campus. The Health Services Department, under the leadership of Linda Buzard, has already attempted to transition FM to a ‘delegated model’ of care, meaning that an RN would no longer be present on campus, but would delegate tasks to an LPN or clinic aid, teachers and para-educators. Once again, this decision (which endangers the health and well-being of our students) was not communicated to parents. In response to a flood of emails and calls from concerned parents (THANK YOU!) the district has put off implementation of this ‘delegated model’ until the end of the school year. Most of the students at Fletcher Miller have direct contact nursing services mandated in their IEP’s, which are legally binding contracts. This puts our children at risk and is a huge liability for teachers, staff and the district.
Important things to know:
- Thus far, it seems that Superintendent Dan McMinimee and Chief Academic Officer Syna Morgan, as well as the Board of Education, were not aware of these changes, but rather the Special Education Department (under Sue Chandler) and Health Services (under Linda Buzard) are responsible. While it is very important remain firm in our mission to make all district administration aware and responsive to the issues facing our community, and accountable to the parents and special needs students, let’s do what we can to maintain a positive and constructive dialogue with the people who are in a position to help us.
- The law is on our side.
- The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees that students with disabilities should receive instruction in the least restrictive environment. The district receives funds from the federal government in order to implement this. No child is too disabled to qualify for IDEA’s protections
- Supreme Court Ruling (No. 96-1793) Cedar Rapids Community School District v. Garret F., decided in 1999: requires a public school district to fund continuous, one-on-one nursing care for disabled children.
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973: No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States … shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
Important Questions to Ask and Points to Emphasize:
- When decisions about nursing and the school to program shift are made, will FM parents and staff have a seat at the table? When and how will parents be notified about such decisions?
- What is the motivation behind these decisions? Why are these changes, which will so negatively impact our community, being discussed?
- The FM community now has a complete lack of trust in the Special Education and Health Services Departments. They have not only made decisions that obviously do not have the well-being of our students in mind, but were also secretive and noncommunicative about these decisions.
- Are there other discussions taking place, specifically regarding special education budget or facilities and Fletcher Miller’s future, that we have not been made aware of?