in the
Roxbury Township, New Jersey NJ
School District


An Individualized Education Plan, commonly referred to as an IEP, is required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

This Law requires public schools to develop an IEP for every student with a disability who is found to meet the federal and state requirements for special education.

Updated February 20, 2014

We are well aware that some of the real heroes of the special services education process are those teachers and staff who work with students having pronounced special needs. We have seen the vans bringing students in wheelchairs to our schools, and can begin to appreciate the extra patience the teachers will need as they labor to bring those children along in basic skills. We've seen students with severe emotional swings being counseled by the Guidance staff so that they're able to complete their education. We truly and sincerely honor their work.

At the same time, we are becoming aware that among some families with students who have only very mild learning disabilities, and who have Individualized Education Plan (IEP's) to address that, there is a strong feeling that the program tradition in the Roxbury School District is to just pass kids through. There does not seem to be  great expectations for their academic progress, and so all too often a minimalist approach is in evidence.


Here's an example of how incompetence by Special Education Administrators hurts children:
Suppose a child enters 3rd grade and the teacher notices that while the child's work is mostly satisfactory, with exemplary behavior, the child has difficulty holding in memory a sequence of more than 3 verbal commands. Testing is done, and a determination made that a mild learning disability exists, and the child is classified and grouped into special ed classes. A dozen other kids are in that same group, some with a very mild condition, like your child, and others with more severe conditions.

As the years go on you learn that some in this group are from families that are well known to the police, or who are being monitored by the State Child Protective Service, and evidence a knowledge of sex and profanity far beyond most 6th graders. All the while your shy child is being traumatized by the taunts and harassment of the troubled students in their SpEd grouping, and your pleas to the staff fall on deaf ears.

BUT WAIT !! Every three years the staff is supposed to re-test, so your child would be re-assigned to a more appropriate grouping. But in your school district the Special Services Leadership is in turmoil, and so they want to avoid doing that which by Law they are required to do. So that 6th grade time for re-testing goes by with the staff downplaying the need for the re-test, so it isn't done. Seventh grade is horrendous, the future criminals take delight in tormenting your child, some teachers make an effort, others don't, and still others literally seem to be off their meds. Eighth grade is worse, with the kids regaling each other with tales of sexual deviancy, mocking your child who doesn't join in. Your now desperate pleas to the staff cause the Vice-Principal of the Middle School to hide in her office when she looks through the office window and sees you coming up the walkway, and causes some older teachers to roll their eyes and tacitly acknowledge your complaint, while saying they are powerless to change things.

By Ninth grade your child is begging you to pull them out of school and home-school, so you make that familiar trip to the Guidance office to complain again, and suddenly you hear yourself  say to the staff member: "Maybe you should retest". WAIT !! By law they are supposed to retest every three years, but they neglected to do that. So in mid-ninth grade, at your insistence, they retest and  GUESS WHAT, your child tests normal, no more learning disability !!  Your child is put into a more mainstream class and does fine. Suddenly, in a growing tsunami of righteous anger, you realize that the staff, in their laziness and incompetence, has just partnered in needless harassment, bullying and hurt to your child in an inappropriate, dysfunctional class for the last 3 years. You are justifiably outraged at how your child has been wounded, directly due to the incompetence of the staff. Those staff members know that they will suffer no real consequences for their blunders, since the NJEA Teachers Union protects it's members from accountability, while your child & family continues to deeply suffer the consequences. You consider a Lawsuit, you've got the paperwork to back you up, but wanting to protect your child you withdraw your teen from the Public School District over the summer.

Next year in a Parochial High School your teen does great academically in regular classes, has many friends, is involved in extra-curricular activities and is a delight to the teachers, all in a positive atmosphere of support and traditional respect in a well functioning school.  
Just a, ahem, "hypothetical tale", but one that mirrors what happens in reality.

Here is a fact: Behavioral issues within some Special Education classes greatly impede learning and traumatize children. School administrators often show a lax attitude toward the toxic climate that prevails in some class groupings. That menacing atmosphere causes some kids to withdraw and link school to painful experiences.

So, these questions almost pose themselves:
Is retesting being offered on the state mandated schedule??
Is there a minimalist attitude toward academics for anyone with an IEP??
Are students with IEP's being sufficiently taught, tested, stretched and challenged??
Are students with severe and dangerous bullying behavior allowed to continue to harass??

To be honest, while we have our opinions on these issues, we can only base them on the experience of the four Roxbury families we've spoken with. So, perhaps this page will stir some discussion, or serve as a catalyst to get other families thinking about their situation. These families need to insist that all that can be done is done.

  ???  Did you know that in the last 7 years, 
Roxbury has had 3 different Directors of Special Ed ???

Download the NJ Special Education Rights Code, hosted on our site

This site serves the Morris County New Jersey communities of  Succasunna, Kenvil,  Ledgewood, Landing, Port Morris, Lower Berkshire Valley and Mount Arlington NJ

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Updated February 20, 2014