Presentation on theme: "SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW For TEACHERS: Knowing How To Stay Out Of Trouble"— Presentation transcript:
1 SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW For TEACHERS: Knowing How To Stay Out Of Trouble NYSATE/NYACTESpringConferenceGideon Putnam Resort,Saratoga, NYApril 27-28,2006Presentedby:StuartKnapp, PhDNyack Collegeext 762SPECIALEDUCATIONLAWForTEACHERS:KnowingHow To Stay Out OfTrouble3:40-4:30 PM
2 in Some Recent Developments (Indicators for Staying Out of Trouble) Legal Issues in Special Education for P-12 Teachersin Some Recent Developments (Indicators for Staying Out of Trouble)Presented by: Dr. Stuart Knapp, Assoc. ProfessorNyack College, Director: Grad. Educ.ext. 7622
3 A Quick Primer on the State & Federal Court System
4 The Limit of The Law The US Supreme Ct. has ruled that: • IDEA provides a “basic floor ofopportunity” for students withdisabilities• IDEA does not require public“schools to maximize potential” for students with disabilitiesBOE v. Rowley, 458 US 176, 102 S.Ct (1982)
5 6 Basic Principles of IDEA FAPENondiscriminatory EvaluationProcedural Due ProcessParent InvolvementIEPLRE
6 Topics to be Covered I. Discipline of Students w/Disabilities (SwD) II. Evaluation (Nondiscrim), Eligib., & Placement1. FAPE (free appropriate public education)2. LRE (least restrictive environment)3. Inclusion (SwD full participat. in Reg Ed) (IEP)III. Procedural Safeguards (due process)1. Parent RightsIV. Section 5045
8 I. Disciplining Students w/Disabilities boy w/learning disability, & a friend PROBLEM: Randy13 yr. old tear off jog pants of female studentDISTRICT (IEP team) decides:not a manifestation of disabilityrecommend suspension &placement in alternative school
9 I. Disciplining Students w/Disabilities PARENTS (Randy’s)Initiate due process hearing to stop suspension.HEARING OFFICER– Ruled for DistrictPARENTS– Appealed to federal district court
10 I. Disciplining Students w/Disabilities FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT– Affirmed Hearing Officer’s decision, sayingdistrict acted appropriately in “taking stern& aggressive remedial action”– Noted that District had offered Parentsopportunity to demonstrate that student’sbehavior was linked to disability (nexus)Randy M. v. Texas City ISD, (SD Texas 2000)
11 Discussion/Conclusions re: Student Discipline Teachers & their districts must be clear & current w/student behavioral assessments.Program placement decisions based on test results must reflect student-centered needs.Prior to a behavior-related change of placement for a student w/disabilities, a Nexus hearing must be conducted to determine if behavior related to disability. If not, regular ed. conditions apply.Maintain professional posture w/parents.
13 II. Evaluation, Eligibility & Placement PROBLEM # 1: (FAPE) Sadrach (S)10 yr. old 4th grader w/multiple medical problems: seizures, ADHD w/aggression,psychomotor delays, asthma, speech delays.PARENTS referred for SpEd evaluation while boy was in 2nd grade.DISTRICT rejected parent request, saying, average progress, & problems not a significant impact on overall achievement.PARENTS when S in 4th gr., obtain independent medical eval., revealing severe learning disorders, e.g. Rdg.=2nd gr; Math problems=end 1st gr.
14 II. Evaluation, Eligibility & Placement DISTRICT rejected evaluator’s recommend. for SpEd eligibility. District’s eval. was in boy’s native Spanish, revealing FSIQ=130, but maintained that ADHD & seizure disorders do not negatively impact on academic progress.PARENTS initiate a due process hearingHEARING OFFICER (HO) rules for district. S ineligible for SpEd (district & HO deny FAPE).PARENTS appeal to federal district ct.
15 Evaluation, Eligibility & Placement Fed. District Ct. reversed hearing officer decision, saying:1. S eligible for SpEd & related servicesunder OHI, LD & Speech.2. S has continuing uncontrolled seizuredisorder which affects alertness in class.3. District’s own testing revealed marked rangebetween ability & achievement.4. Disabilities adversely impact educ. performance.5. District must develop & implement IEP for SCorchado v. BOE, Rochester CSD, NY 200014
16 II. Placement in LRE & Inclusion. PROBLEM # 2: (LRE & Inclusion) II. Placement in LRE & Inclusion PROBLEM # 2: (LRE & Inclusion) Due Process Hearing (DPH) : Guardian-inclusion in home school District-placement in special school DPH officer places Student w/ multiple disabilities in a special development center. Guardian appealed to federal ct.Federal Court affirmed hearing officer’s decision, finding special dvpmt. ctr. highly specialized & able to provide wide range of services for child. Court also reasoned that extent of child’s disabilities would make benefit to child in home school unlikely. Court refused to hear district’s plea of guardian’s hostility, saying IDEA advocates for children through parents, even hostile parents.15
17 Discussion/Conclusions re: Evaluation, Eligibility & Placement Financial benefit of “Best Practice” relationsAn ounce of student-centered, district-initiated early intervention can avoid a pound (or more) of student-centered court-initiated litigation later on.Non-Financial benefit of “Best Practice” relationsReputations are won, based on pro-active decisionsmade in CST meetings, annual reviews & IEPmeetings, or they are lost in re-active newspaperheadlines, newscasts & courtrooms.16
19 III. Procedural Safeguards case #1 Student (S) diagnosed w/ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), & Depression in private school until 5th grade.District (D) eval. team finds S eligible for “severe behavior handicap” servicesIEP mtg. scheduled, but never held (no IEP)District proposed internal placementParents (P) reject, locating independent residential “psychiatrically oriented” school.18
20 Review Officer dismissed case & P appealed to Fed. District Court. D faxes draft IEP proposing placement already rejected by P, & further obligates D to pay only those costs beyond P’s insurance coverage.P enroll S in residential school independently, & request due process hearing during S’s 7th grade to recover tuition costs.Hearing Officer (HO) finds that although D prepared no IEP, it could provide FAPE, ergo not liable for tuition reimbursement.Review Officer dismissed case & P appealed to Fed. District Court.19
21 D moved to dismiss, as P didn’t request hearing prior to independent placement. Fed. Ct. ruled for HO’s decision. Both P & D appealed to U.S. Ct. of Appeals of 6th circuit.6th Circuit Ct. ruled:D violated IDEA which requires convened IEP mtg. within 30 calendar days of eligibility determinationD violated Ohio regs requiring IEP conference ASAP following referral.to reject D’s defense for failure to provide IEP due to parents’ lack of cooperation.
22 district had not even offered a FAPE IDEA regs. do not require parents to agree to proposed placement prior to IEP mtg.IDEA regs. do require dvpmt. of IEP without involvement of P if they refuse to cooperateP were denied meaningful opportunity to participate in IEP mtg. processdistrict had not even offered a FAPEresidential placement was most appropriateD obligated to reimburse P for tuition expense because D had defaulted on its IDEA obligationKnable ex rel Knable v. Bexley City School District, 238 F.3d 755 (6th Cir. 2001)
23 III. Procedural Safeguards case #2 P of S w/learning disability in Rdg. resolved a DPH w/HO ordering D to provide S w/tutoring for 5 hrs./wk.After a time, D provided 40 min./day, 5 days/wk.P sought (unsuccessfully) to obtain required amt. for 2 yrs, then initiated a DPH.HO held that he had no jurisdiction to enforce settlement agreements.
24 HO counseled P to file complaint w/ SED P initiated law suit w/Fed. Trial Ct. to enforce settlement agreement.Fed trial Ct. upheld HO’s decisionP appealed to U.S. Ct. of Appeals 9th Cir.Appeals Ct. affirmed lower ct. & HO, that jurisdiction to enforce compliance issues resides w/the SED compliance officer to pursue enforcement actions.Wyner v. Manhatten Beach Unified School District, 33 IDELR (9th Cir. 2000)23
25 Discussion/Conclusions re: Procedural Safeguards (IDEA) Parents’ Rightsopportunity to participateexpect integrity of districtParents must be invited, but not required to attendP can deny D permission to testDistrict Obligationsprovide P opportunitycontinue terms of agreement until changed by another mutual agreement (IEP)IEP mtg. held not later than 30 days following eligibility determinationIEP conf. Within 5 days of referral24
27 IV. § 504 of Rehabilitation Act (1973) What the law provides:Prohibits discrimination against persons w/disabilitiesRequires schools & employees to make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals w/disabilitiesDoes not require schools to lower their standards in order to do so.Prohibits exclusion of S’s w/contagious diseases (including HIV) if qualified to attend & don’t present a risk of harm to themselves or others26
28 IV. § 504 of Rehabilitation Act (1973) Case #1: secondary student & athletics 17 yr. old student (S) in jr. yr. diagnosed w/clinical depression, determined to be disabled & eligible for § 504 services, including 12 intervention strategies.(S) earned some incomplete grades in his courses. HS counselor sends note home to parent (P), proposing another § 504 mtg. to pursue homebound instruction.
29 Case #1: secondary student & athletics § 504 mtg. was not heldS tried out for basket-ball team but was not chosen for either varsity or jv teams.P brought suit against school alleging suggestion of homebound instruction was threat & that S wasexcluded frombasketball team asdiscriminatory resultof his disabilityHO ruled for districtP appealed to Fed. Ct.Fed. Ct. dismissed allclaims against district
30 Discussion/Conclusions re: Case #1: secondary student & athletics Letter to P by counselor was alert to P & S of school’s continuing concern for S’s welfare, progress & success.Coach’s decision not to place S on team was based on lack of competitive ability, not any disabilityprior 7th Circuit precedent has refused to define athletics as a major life activityDoe v. Eagle-Union Community Sch. Corp. 32 IDELR 117 (S.D. Ind. 2000)
31 Case #2: HS student, alcohol & eligibility HS athletic code calls for partial loss of athletic eligibility after 1 alcohol-related violation, & loss of eligibility for 1 yr., after a 2nd incidentschool revoked S’s eligibility after an alcohol-related auto accident-his 2nd policy violation in 1 mo.S diagnosed as alcoholic & sought reinstatement to sports eligibilitySupt. & BOE denied S’s request.
32 Case #2: HS student, alcohol & eligibility P sued in Trial Ct. under ADA & § 504BOE moved for dismissal, noting that neither S nor BOE were aware of his alcoholism at time of violations, so discrimination could not have played role in revocation of eligibility. Ct. agreed.Ct also rejected S’s claim of school’s refusal to grant “reasonable” accommodation to his disability, i.e. reinstatementStearns v. BOE for Warren Twp HS District #121, (N.D. Ill. 1999)
33 Case #2: HS student, alcohol & eligibility Ct held that S’s request not reasonable, since it was at odds w/no alcohol rule.Discussion/Conclusions re: Case #2 * If school had been aware of alcoholism, it would havecommitted no violation of ADA or § 504, sinceRehabilitation Act authorizes schools to punishstudents for alcohol use, with or w/o disabilities, to thesame extent of the law.* The school’s rule was intended to establish ideals ofgood sportsmanship and respect for rules &authority.
34 SUMMARY & GUIDELINES SUMMARY & GUIDELINES DISCIPLINE • Determine if Behavior related to(slides 6-10) disabilityEVALUATION • D integrity-comply w/duty/time-linesELIGIBILITY • Decisions must be student-centeredPLACEMENT • Pro-active relations w/parents &(slides 11-16) • Early intervention decisions• S “stays put” until IEP team decisionPROCEDURAL • IEP mtg 5 days after referralSAFEGUARDS • IEP mtg 30 days after eligibilityslides 17-24) (IEP must be prepared for implementation)§ • athletics NOT major life activity(slides 25-32) • S use of alcohol prohibited w/ or w/odisabilitySUMMARY & GUIDELINESSUMMARY & GUIDELINES33