I assigned this reading, not because I think that legal involvement with education
policy and practice is a particularly desirable way to operate—it seems to me to
represent yet another dimension of inter‐expert communication, and one that has
potential for very complex outcomes.
Rather, I think this account can be used as a source of numerous examples of missed
opportunities and sad consequences. I take it as an illustration of several parties
arguing from position rather than from shared interest. I would not suggest that
either of the parties involved were deliberately trying to impede Darren Hewko’s
access to schooling. Nor were any of them indifferent to his interests. Despite this,
it appears as though the failure to achieve consensus contributed to Darren’s
exclusion (for whatever official) reason from the provincial education system.
The legal decision is not an easy read. There are portions of it that might be
omitted—the review of autism is likely known to all of you, although it may be of
interest to see what Judge Koenigsberg includes as a means of understanding her
There are, after all, at least four points of view here—that of Darren’s parents, that
of the ABA‐IBI experts, that of the education system (which has some internal
variance of its own), and that of the legal system. Although this last is supposedly
impartial (image of blindfolded justice holding scales), it is of interest to see how
this impartiality appears in this case.
Some suggestions re reading:
1. It isn’t easy (at least it wasn’t for me), but try to set yourself apart from your
ideas of what might have been optimal supports for Darren, as you read this,
and look at how people presented their ideas to one another.
2. I assigned both the BC‐CASE document and Chapter 1 of Getting to Yes as
preparation for reading Hewko, even though the BC‐CASE document is in fact
a consequence of the legal decision. You may wish to try to see instances of
argument from position that might have had a better chance of becoming
“meaningful consultation” had a different tack of discussion been used.
3. Note down key moments in the year when there were potentials for
collaboration and discussion and when there were confrontations. What
were the consequences? Are there points when the direction of the case
could have changed? What would have been necessary for that to have been
4. Think of the participants and the discussions that are reported in the
Decision: Do you see examples of Hard Bargaining? How about Soft
Bargaining? Can you see (or envision) their consequences? Are these
consistent with your experiences of collaboration and consultation with
parents and other voices?
5. Madame Justice K. seems to focus on autism. BC CASE looks beyond that to
collaboration regarding all children with special needs. FEAT again focuses
on autism in its interpretation of the decision. How do you interpret these