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Tact Versus Tantrums

May 16, 1991

As a parent of a severely handicapped 17-year-old, I take personal offense at the article on the "mother from hell" (Times, May 5). I, too, have advocated strongly for my own son and assisted many other families in obtaining services for their children. In doing so, I have found time and again that using cooperation and positive communication skills is much more effective and productive than the hysterical tactics she describes. Her attitude and behavior are a perfect example of why many professionals are so defensive when dealing with parents. She is so busy expounding on her "successes" that she fails to see the disasters she leaves behind for many other parents to overcome.

The system has faults. Compliance is important and local implementation sometimes lacks the quality that parents should expect; but, when administrators and teachers spend precious time and money arguing with Jeanne Corbett over minutia solely for the sake of her saying "Gotcha!" (her "hobby," she says), it diverts resources away from building quality programs. And, just as there are many caring parents, I have met an overwhelming number of caring, concerned educators. I have also met Ms. Corbett at a parent workshop. She sat behind me, and did her best to disrupt those around her by making rude comments about speakers, and was generally obnoxious.

Perhaps the next time you could present both sides of the story. And, perhaps Ms. Corbett could do some of us a favor and broaden her horizons to educate our legislators about the need for adequate funding for special and general education in California, so that true quality programs could be a reality for all children.

KATHLEEN CAMPBELL

Rancho Murieta

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