Friday, February 26, 2010

FBA and BIP for a Killer Whale

The tragic death of trainer Dawn Brancheau at Sea World has set in motion an interesting conversation.

Did Whale Trainer Break Protocol? - ABC News

Seemingly endless news reports focus on "What happened?" and "Why?", asking Sea World, "What will you do to make sure this doesn't happen again?"

If you speak the language of acronyms that millions of parents of children who qualify for special education services speak, maybe you're wondering with me, why we have spent so much news coverage on an FBA and BIP for a killer whale that killed his trainer (probably IMHO) in play or part of what whales do.

Sea World's response this morning is interesting: Not the whale's fault! Experts at Sea World blame the death on the fact that the trainer broke Sea World working-with-killer-whale protocol. (A protocol?! Is that like an IEP?)

Why is the country so rivited on this issue while ignoring the many cases where a child, a human being, in a special education setting, has no protocol, no FBA, no BIP. Children, in many cases, are being blamed for their actions, their "behaviors", being kicked out of general ed, being kicked out of school, being charged with criminal acts. Parents all over the United States are fighting for appropriate protocols, assessments and plans for their children in special education, with school staff fighting back in resistance, resistance to establishing and following a plan, a protocol, resistant to accepting responsibility when something goes wrong because they failed to follow the plan. And these stories (here's one. here's another.) are making their way around internet groups related to special ed and disabilities, but are not making an impact on national news. Why is that?

I ache for Dawn Brancheau's family, her friends, her coworkers. My sympathies and prayers are with them.

FBA=Functional Behavioral Assessment
BIP=Behavioral Intervention Plan
IEP=Individual Education Plan


PaintCrazy said...

By the end of this week more people in our country will be aware of the "killer whale protocol" at Sea World than what an IEP, BIP or FBA is. Sad but true. Our nation's children may be our country's greatest resource but if any of those children don't have a very active advocate fighting for them, they simply fall through the cracks and as Marcy says, become "tax dependents".

The Glasers said...

Think about the children who DIE because of being improperly restrained, which happens because people fail the protocols needed to keep the child regulated enough to avoid restraint.

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