Santa Monica Dispatch Article Concerning SMMUSD's Retaliatory Acts Against Students and Parents by Filing False Claims of Child Abuse with the Department of Children & Family Services

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Santa Monica Dispatch Article Concerning Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School Disrict's Retaliatory Acts Against Students and Parents by filing false claims of child abuse with the Department of Children and Family Services.

SMMUSD Vs. Student

Posted by Peggy Clifford on Thursday, January 15, 2009 · Leave a Comment

By Debra Shepherd

Good evening Council members. I am the parent of a child in general education and a child who requires special education services. I am also a member of the Working Group.

Although the non-disclosure agreements are no longer being used to my knowledge, the environment that brought about the use of those agreements still exists.

When a problem arises, there does not seem to be an ability to resolve the problem without input from the attorneys. Since November of 2008, the District has been more adversarial toward my family by threatening me with due process litigation at tax payers’ expense. The SMMUSD refuses to even acknowledge that my daughter has an autism spectrum disorder despite multiple pages of detailed assessments from UCLA in a school setting that have been a part of my child’s records for the last 4 years.

The District is also attempting to take needed services and accommodations out of my child’s educational program. I had to fight for two years for my daughter to receive occupational therapy services.

My extended family has also traveled thousands of miles to help me with these issues. The SMMUSD would rather spend thousands of tax payer dollars suing me than pay for a needed assessment for my child or provide her with a free and appropriate education as mandated by law.

I thought that we had reached our lowest point in the journey when school staff filed a false report against me with child services in retaliation against me for hiring an attorney. My youngest child is still not recovered from the trauma of that incident. I am also disturbed by the number of families of color that have left the district. When families of color complain about how they are treated by the district, their address is verified. This whole situation has taken a toll on my health and the well-being of my family.

Note: Ms. Shepherd made this statement to the City Council

Tuesday night, January 13.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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