Do you want to be the parent from hell? While it's certainly not the goal, here are proven behaviors that might discourage school staff from wanting to engage with a parent of a child with an IEP:
1. Be unresponsive. Ignore phone calls, emails, and meeting requests from school staff.
2. If you can’t be unresponsive, then overwhelm teachers with constant communication. Flood them with an excessive number of emails, phone calls, or in-person meetings, demanding constant updates, explanations, and special treatment. Disregard their need for time and space to fulfill their professional responsibilities. Contact staff outside of work hours regularly for non-emergency issues, not respecting their personal time.
3. Disregard professional expertise. Consistently dismiss the opinions, insights, and recommendations of the school professionals working with your child. Routinely question teachers' authority, methods, and decisions in a confrontational manner.
4. Drop by unannounced regularly, disrupting the staff's schedules and potentially infringing on the learning environment. Ignore all school rules.
5. Become confrontational, especially at IEP meetings. Approach every discussion or disagreement with a combative or argumentative demeanor.
6. Fail to follow up. Don't participate in any follow-up actions or activities suggested by the IEP team to help support your child's learning at home.
7. Escalate issues unnecessarily. Take minor issues straight to the top administrators or school board without first trying to resolve them at the classroom or school level.
8. Hold unrealistic expectations. Demand changes or services that are clearly outside the school's capabilities or responsibilities, or that don't align with your child's documented needs.
9. Criticize the staff or their efforts publicly, such as on social media, instead of addressing any concerns directly with them. Gossip and spread negativity – especially on Facebook pages. Don't worry, there are no moles on these FB pages. You can be confident that your comments will never come back to haunt you.