Through The Eyes Of The
June seemed relieved as she stood in her kitchen that afternoon in March and told Vicky, "Tell Becky what they said to you at school." Vicky began, "They told me I could come up out of special class." June smiled with pride (transcript and fieldnotes, 3/8/99). "What exactly did they say?" I asked. Vicky explained that there was a meeting at the school about her not being in a special-education classroom next year. Vicky stated, "I'm definitely not going to be in special ed" (transcript, 3/8/99). June stated, "She comin' out of special ed class."
June talked about her memories of the beginning of the referral process a little over a year ago and how Vicky did not want to go into a special- education class. June said, "[Vicky] was talkin' about, 'Nah, I don't want to go in no special ed class,' remember that, Becky? I don't want to go in no special ed class. Now she comin' out. She's come a long way. Vicky come a long way" (transcript, 3/8/99). It was interesting for me to hear June tell me that it was Vicky who did not want to be in a special-education class. Although this was certainly the case, such a significant part of June's thinking about the referral process had been her resistance to it. At that moment, as the three of us stood in the kitchen, we all believed in the education system. We believed it was possible for Vicky to have a better educational experience than June. The preceding conversation led us into the second-year CSE meeting with the mind-set that Vicky was going to come out of a special-education classroom for her eighth grade year.
Vicky began her first year at the middle school labeled as "speech impaired" and "multiply disabled." This was the term the psychologist thought "best described" Vicky's "difficulties with visual motor, with speech and language, with cognitive reasoning and with academics" (transcript, 6/18/98).
The general argument presented at the CSE meeting (Year 1) was that Vicky had severe learning disabilities. She needed extensive support. Although the policy on special education suggests the "least restrictive environment" as the best option for the child, the school officials did not see this as the best option for Vicky (transcript, 6/18/98). The psychologist decided that Vicky needed a smaller classroom setting because of the magnitude of her