Are Polk Public Schools underserving special-needs students?

Sep 17, 2019 by

An investigation by The Ledger into Polk County Public Schools found that district officials have no system in place — beyond spot checking random records once a month — to ensure that every special education student’s individualized education program, known as an IEP, is being followed by educators.

BARTOW — He’s 6 years old and autistic. He moved here with his family last school year from New Jersey, where he received special education services as prescribed in his individualized education program.

His mom, Danielle DeAngelo, enrolled her son in Padgett Elementary School in Lakeland, expecting the same treatment here.

But according to DeAngelo, her son, who has additional health issues, including seizure disorder, attention deficit and hyper activity disorder, disruptive behavior disorder, pediatric bi-polar, and a language disorder, never received the help he needed.

He’s not alone.

An investigation by The Ledger into Polk County Public Schools found that district officials have no system in place — beyond spot checking random records once a month — to ensure that every special education student’s individualized education program, known as an IEP, is being followed by educators.

IEP compliance has been an issue for at least a dozen years. A 2007 review of the district found that there was concern as to whether the services and supports in the IEPs were being implemented as required because “there seemed to be no systematic way” of checking.

Source: Are Polk Public Schools underserving special-needs students? – News – The Ledger – Lakeland, FL

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