My child has special needs and we are thinking of moving into Melrose. What are parents experiences with the SPED department in the high school?
It deeply saddens me to tell you that in addition to many parents not having their child's needs met (IEPs, etc), those that do complain are retaliated against and intimidated almost immediately by the school department's top administrators in order to get you to go away. Word of advice: If your child is elementary age, stay away from the Horace Mann top administrator). I'm not talking about routine annoyances like not getting call-backs, meeting dates, or IEP needs not being met. I'm talking about unlawful acts such as false police reports being filed against you, you or your child being sent to court to fight false harassment charges, e-mail threats from the city solicitor, copied to the Chief of Police, warning you not to communicate with certain school administrators or it will be considered harassment (with the obligatory legal action threat for good measure), Nasty grams from top brass falsely accusing you of misbehavior on school property, informing you that you can no longer volunteer and must be "escorted the principal while in the school. And don't think about telling the School Committee to see if they can do anything about it. The school committee chair routinely violates the State's Open Meeting Laws and State Freedom of Information Act laws in an effort to cover up these violations from the Citizens of Melrose as well as school committee members and actively bullies those brave SC members who bring these issues to the surface.
Believe me, there is good reason for the multiple Civil Rights investigations being undertaken as we speak by the DOE's Office of Civil Rights.
Note: The civil rights investigations are being conducted by the United States Office of Civil Rights, not the MA DOE/DESE, just FYI. That's important. The MA DOE has historically looked the other way at Melrose complaints (or worse, victimized those who bring things to their attention) due to the political connections with officials in both organizations. That isn't the case with the US OCR, which also hasn't ever taken on multiple investigations of Melrose before now. They are a difficult adjudicator and do not even open investigations unless a long and rigorous process happens with their senior investigators, if that tells you anything about the seriousness of the current situation in the Melrose Public Schools.
Sorry, should have said " DoDE: U.S. Dept. of Education. They have their own office of Civil Rights.