Buried by Unit 5

By: Diane Benjamin

I was contacted by a citizen pertaining to the treatment of a student. The student has an IEP – Individualized Education Program. Since schools are required by law to provide an education, IEP’s are legal documents that provide rights and protections for parents and students needing special education so they can thrive in school.

The information I have is very limited except for the following document. The story I was told is the student and family were not happy with how the district was handling the IEP. “Student A” tried to go up the chain of command, but instead of help a safety officer was sent to his/her home to confiscate the computer and ban him/her from having any further contact with the district. A police report was also filed against this special needs student but isn’t available because charges were dismissed and a minor is involved.

I’m sure there is much more to this story, maybe readers can fill in some pieces.


Note: Petitions to run for School Board are due between December 14 and December 21st. Various other offices including Heartland Board and library boards are available for filing too. Start with the County Clerk: https://www.mcleancountyil.gov/760/Candidate-Filing-Information


This is the document I was sent:

The document is from the United States Department of Education – Civil Rights Division. If this student did not have a case it would never have escalated to this level. Much of what I stated above is confirmed in the document.

I believe OCR stands of Office of Civil Rights. The document is a little difficult to read because of redactions, but it confirms the student had a legitimate complaint against Unit 5. Jump to the end:


I did not receive the “voluntary resolution agreement” referenced above, but it isn’t necessary to realize Unit 5 handled this situation poorly.

If you have more details or examples of other infractions, please let me know.

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8 thoughts on “Buried by Unit 5

  1. Unit 5 is the worst. My kids went back in person two days a week for about a month. Some teachers were allowed to teach remotely while a substitute was paid to monitor the classroom. I don’t care if all the teachers strike. That’s not much different than the education my kids are getting. The phrase “COVID pacing” is being used by administrators. This means they are not teaching as much. Teacher pensions have to go. Maybe unit 5 should sell all their buildings go all remote. This would hopefully lower taxes so a private education is affordable. Much more to say. I’m so disappointed with Unit 5.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The special ed director is the one that should be fighting for the kids. Disgusting! The board needs to inform themselves and a thorough investigation to their system needs to be done. I have heard way too many stories about the poor treatment of special needs children by Unit 5.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have a child with an IEP situation and in my experiences district 5 has been nothing but professional. My child doesnt attend district 5’s internal programs ,however and attends a 3rd party school so to speak, so maybe there are a few people ive never dealt with. A family member works with special needs children within the area as well and i can say there are two sides to every story. Its a difficult job being a parent, a teacher or a student when it comes to special needs. We are all human. I hope nothing but the best for all involved. God bless.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am struggling to understand why you would support socialism Diane. Public schools=socialism. The Americans with Disabilities Act=socialism. You are consistently against socialism, but not in this case. Your position on this confuses me.

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  5. You would think there had to have been such egregious behavior to warrant this response. What on earth did the child say? How can Unit 5 defend the removal of this student? To send the SO to the home and take equipment was extreme. They have to provide education to all students. Our son had an IEP (D87)until he graduated. He learned to advocate for his services. He started out at a private school and he could have continued there while getting services through our district. We opted to pull him.

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    1. The student was advocating for themself. The administrator in question wildly overreacted and, as the document states, found concerns with the district to warrant a resolution agreement. The district retaliated on a student with a disability for speaking up for themself.

      Liked by 1 person

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