Success Stories

We are fully committed to helping and fighting to keep institutions from neglecting and abusing special needs children and adolescents.

These are some of their stories…

Success Story 1

By Shane Halajko Jr.

“Thank you to our State Representative for your help assisting us in getting an out-of-district placement for our son, Matthew. You connected us with the wonderful agency, Team Shawnie Advocacy Group, that has helped us with the placement. They stepped up when no one else would, and made the impossible possible. We are very grateful to you and Team Shawnie for helping our family.”

  • Massachusetts
  • December 2020
  • Referral: MA State Legislature

  • The Team Shawnie Advocacy Group (TSAG) received notice from one of our state legislators that a local family was struggling to attain out-of-district placement for their special needs son (autism), who was only five years old at the time, and soon to be going into kindergarten.
  • Their son had already had bad experiences during his short time in the school’s care, and his parents were desperately fighting to get their son a fair and safe education.
  • Their son suffered heavily from the neglect and incompetence of his teacher, which was reported to the school multiple times.
  • It eventually reached the point where their son’s 1-on-1 would get sent away without proper justification, leading to the five-year-old boy being sent home in soiled pants.
  • The family was struggling to negotiate out-of-district placement with the school district, who even after a full Department of Children and Families (DCF) investigation into the issue, denied having any knowledge of the neglect and abuse.
  • TSAG was able to show the school that their action had serious negative consequences on the family’s young boy, and they were responsible for outsourcing his education to a school of the parent’s choice; a school that could properly address his special needs and prevents him from ever having to experience the neglect and abuse that he suffered again.
  • TSAG was successful in negotiating a new out-of-district school system.

Success Story 2

By Shane Halajko Jr.

“I just wanted to thank everyone again and give you a quick update. Our son is having the best week ever in school. All the students have been amazing to him, both boys and girls. He says everyone talks to him including him in conversations and he said the kids are so different than anything I’ve ever experienced. Everyone, from boys and girls, talks with him in class. He is making friends, he also likes his lunch table.  

It is like a whole new lease on life for our son. I can’t thank you enough.”

  • Massachusetts
  • February 2022
  • Referral: MA State Legislature
  • Parent needing TSAG support in securing out-of-district placement for her special needs teenage son who was suffering from severe bullying in his middle school.
  • TSAG found that the bullying was reported very frequently to the school throughout the years of his time in the district.
  • The son was pushed, harassed, and socially isolated from his peers constantly, and asked his mother and the school for help every time.
  • As a result of this, the son began to suffer heavily from anxiety.
  • The school would respond to each complaint, yet take no action to remedy the bullying that the son continued to experience.
  • In fact, the school took the mother’s son off of his Individual Education Plan (IEP), removing the protection that he had from the IEP during this process.
  • Due to the school’s negligence and inability to remedy the bullying, the son’s grade’s have suffered heavily, and he has been struggling with anxiety at just the age of 13.
  • A notice of this neglect, TSAG immediately stepped in and focused first on preventing the son from experiencing the constant daily bullying.
  • TSAG successfully had the son removed from in-person schooling and had work sent home to him while we worked with the parent and the school district to negotiate a new plan for her son, and take action.
  • TSAG was able to help the parent secure first a safe, temporary education plan for her son. He kept up with his education through a hybrid method of schooling and at-home learning, ensuring that he would not interact with the students who were consistently harassing him.
  • TSAG successfully had the son put back on an IEP and secured out-of-district placement for him.

Success Story 3

By Shane Halajko Jr.

“Thank you guys so much! We couldn’t be more blessed with the team we have by our side for our son. Thanks for always being there and working alongside us through this placement. I look forward to a long-time relationship with you guys! Thank you again for being a blessing to us!”

  • Massachusetts
  • April 2022
  • Referral: MA State Legislature
  • Parent needing TSAG support in securing proper out-of-district placement for her autistic 5-year-old son.
  • The school department wanted her son’s placement to be about an hour from his home.
  • The parent was not comfortable with having her child that far away from home along with the amount of travel time that would be involved.
  • TSAG and parents were able to find a school that could provide the same services as the school that the School District identified within fifteen minutes from their home.
  • TSAG informed the School Department that a child’s out-of-district should be as close to the child’s home as possible so that the child can be educated in the school he would attend if he was not disabled.
  • TSAG was successful in getting the out-of-district placement that the parent wanted.

Success Story 4

By Shane Halajko Jr.

  • Rhode Island
  • May 2022
  • Referral: Website
  • Parent needing TSAG support in securing proper out-of-district placement for her autistic and physically handicap 6 year old daughter.
  • School department made accommodations for her program however she was regressing and having multiple incidents.
  • TSAG and Parent strongly advocated for out of district placement so that her daughter could receive around-the-clock care and proper education in a safe and secure environment for her needs.
  • TSAG and Parent searched for out of district schools that could fit her daughter’s needs while negotiating with school district.
  • TSAG evaluated the school district’s accommodations for her daughter and concluded that they were providing every service available to the best of their ability, however, it was not enough to keep the daughter safe and on a progressive track.
  • TSAG was successful in getting the out-of-district placement that the parents wanted.

Success Story 5

By Shane Halajko Jr.

  • Massachusetts
  • July 2022
  • Referral: Website
  • Parent needing TSAG support in securing proper out-of-district placement for her autistic 6-year-old daughter.
  • The school department denied the parent’s allegations of neglect after her daughter was sent home with injuries multiple times.
  • TSAG and the parent advocated for out-of-district placement to provide a safe environment for her daughter, but the school department refused to acknowledge the issues.
  • TSAG filed a 51(a) complaint with the Department of Children and Families of Massachusetts.
  • TSAG and the Parent secured a letter from her child’s Primary Care Physician in support of our demands.
  • The parent and TSAG searched for out-of-district school placements and strongly advocated for programs that would be safe and progressive for her daughter.
  • The parent, TSAG and school department set up a date for mediation to resolve the issue.
  • TSAG was successful in getting the out-of-district placement that the parent wanted.

Success Story 6

By Shane Halajko Jr.

“When I teamed up with the Team Shawnie Advocacy Group, I was in the midst of seeking out of district placement for my special needs son.  He had been enrolled in the special education program since he aged out of Early Intervention at age 3.  However, once he entered the elementary SPED program in Grade 1, I realized after his annual IEP that he needed more than what was being offered even though the school district was saying they could “sustain” his needs.  The word “sustain” made me see my son needed more… a more intensive program… a more consistent program that was offered year-round.  The process of finding a new school was an uphill climb for me and felt that I went as far as I could alone.  When I reached out to TSAG, I connected with the team immediately.  I not only shared my son’s story, but we had a real conversation about his progress, needs, his current situation, and what I was looking to achieve.  They not only listened but asked thoughtful questions and shared their own personal experience.  They understood what I was feeling and believed in what I was seeking for my son and had no qualms in saying we’ll fight and get what our son needs.  It was the first time I felt like I could breathe again.  TSAG has a strong grasp of the special education laws and the ability to effectively communicate and fight on a family’s behalf.  I definitely recommend the Team Shawnie Advocacy Group to anyone seeking help.”

  • Massachusetts
  • July 2022
  • Referral: Former Client
  • Parent needing TSAG support in securing a proper out-of-district placement with a full-day summer program for her autistic 7-year-old son.
  • The parent’s son is nonverbal and had to pay out of pocket for his communication device which would be used in school and at home.
  • The school district agreed to out-of-district placement but struggled to communicate evaluations and visits with parents.
  • TSAG and the parents were able to find a school that could provide all of the services her child needed within a reasonable distance from the home.
  • TSAG, Parent, and school district met for an IEP meeting to discuss the programs that could fit her son’s needs.
  • TSAG was successful in getting the out-of-district placement that the parent wanted.