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Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1

On January 12, 2017, I posted about a pending U.S. Supreme Court case entitled Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1. In sum, this case involved the Supreme Court interpretation of the IDEA and the Court’s decision in Rowley on the legal standard for reviewing an IEP.  The Court in Endrew F. was asked  to decide is the standard or test for determining whether an IEP conferred educational benefits upon any child covered by the IDEA.    On March 22, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision on this question.

It is important to understand what the court decided in Endrew F.  as well as what the court did not decide in this case.  The Court in Endrew F.  decided not  to create a formula for determining whether an IEP conferred educational benefits on a child covered by the IDEA.  The Court in Endrew F.  rejected that current standard used in Georgia courts and other courts in the country that an IEP only needed to provide trivial or de minimis benefits to the child.  Instead, the Court adopted a standard that requires an educational program (IEP) must be reasonably to calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances. What exactly does this mean? For a child that is fully integrated in a regular classroom the standard may mean the IEP must confer benefits so that the child can advance to grade to grade. But the Court was careful to emphasize that just because the IEP developed for this child confers educational benefits so he or she can advance grade to grade this does not mean the child is automatically receiving a free appropriate public education.  This is till an individualized analysis based on the unique needs of the child. In general, however, a child fully integrated in the regular classroom who is progressing smoothly through the regular education curriculum is expected to advance grade to grade.

If the child is unable to progress smoothly through the regular education curriculum depending on his or her unique educational needs, then the child’s IEP need not aim for grade-level advancement.   But the child’s educational program must still be appropriately ambitious for most children in the regular classroom.  The child’s goals may be different from other children in the classroom, but every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives. In other words, parents should expect the child’s goals and curriculum to be more challenging each school year.  No longer will it be acceptable to write the same IEP goals and objectives for the child each year.  The IDEA demands more. It requires the IEP be reasonably calculated to enable the child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.

From this moment on, courts and judges will have to figure out on a case-by-case basis whether the child’s IEP was developed to enable him or her to make progress in view of the circumstances. For example, we should expect a child with an average or above average IQ with a learning disability, to make progress in the regular curriculum.  Parents should no longer accept an IEP that does show their child is making educational progress from year to year.   On the other hand, a child with severe intellectual or other disabilities may be judged somewhat differently.  A child with severe disabilities may not be able to advance grade to grade each year. But this does not mean the child cannot make educational progress.  The type and measure of the progress may different from a regular education child.  It will not be acceptable for this child to have the same IEP goals and objectives each year.   Parents should not accept that their child is making trivial progress.  Parents should expect their child will make progress in light of his or her unique educational needs. Exactly how courts will determine whether the school system developed an IEP for your child that confers progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances  is yet to determined.  You can expect, however, it will be determined a case-by-case basis and that trivial progress will no longer be acceptable.

If you want further analysis and guidance on developing and implementing an IEP for your child after the Court’s decision in Endrew F.  you can contact me or other special education attorney for assistance.

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How to Prepare for a Special Education Due Process Hearing

For the past month, I  prepared for a special education due process hearing.  The preparation time consumed almost every day for an entire month.   By the time I was ready to move forward for the due process hearing, I had six large binders of  documents consisting of thousands of pages of:  educational records, medical and psychiatric records, pictures, emails, transcripts, CD’s of IEP meetings, notes and progress reports, evaluations by occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, evaluations by Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), and many other papers.  I also spent considerable time  developing my own binders of documents containing legal research, scientific-based research and articles on a variety of special educational issues, and trial and evidence notebooks.  In addition, I prepared a list of witnesses and documents that are required by the five-day rule. 34 C.F.R. 512(a)(3). The witness list contained twenty or more witnesses listed for the parents. For each witness, I had to summarize the testimony and substance of each witness. For each regular and expert witness that I  expected to appear and testify at the due process hearing, I had to prepare a subpoena and payment for each witness and mileage fees.  I had to interview each expert that I wanted to appear and testify for the parents. Further, the judge assigned to the case required the lawyers for the parents and school system to file a motion listing each expert witness each side planned to testify at the hearing and a copy of the expert’s curriculum vitae (CV) or resume. Moreover, I filed a notice to produce documents to the school system and  other written motions with the court.  Even before the due process hearing was scheduled to begin, I had amassed more than 200 hours of my time in preparation for the due process.  Although this special education due process hearing was unusual in terms of its complexity and the length of time for preparation for the hearing, the requirements for preparation that I outlined are the same for every due process hearing.  I would add that even before I filed a complaint for a due process hearing for the parents, there was considerable preparation including, but not limited to, review of educational records, retaining expert witnesses, interviewing the parents, legal and special education  research.

It is very important to understand how demanding the preparation is for a special education due process hearing.  The judge in this case set aside five days for the due process hearing.  But it is not unusual for due process hearings to last several weeks.  In these type of hearings, most judges will set aside a week here and a week there for the hearing until both sides have completed their sides of the case.  After the due process hearing, the lawyers for the parents and school system are required to read the transcript of the due process hearing, which may be thousands of pages long.  The lawyers are also required to write what are called proposed findings of  fact and conclusions of law. This may be lengthy document setting forth all of the material facts that are favorable to the parents, for example, and legal arguments why the judge should rule in favor of the parents.  After the judge reviews the proposed findings of fact and conclusion of law submitted by the parties’ attorneys, the judge issues a decision. If the decision is adverse to the parents, they face a lengthy and sometimes complicated appeal to federal district court.

From time to time, I will receive a phone call from a parent who has already filed for a due process  hearing without an attorney.  The parent may be at the beginning of the due process hearing process, which is usually the  scheduling the resolution session with the school system.  See 34 C.F.R. 300.510(a).   At other times, I am contacted by the parent just before the due process hearing is scheduled and the parent is required to comply with the five-day rule. 34 C.F.R. 512(a)(3).  Each time I receive a phone call from a parent that has filed a complaint for a due process hearing, I will usually say the same thing.  I will advise the parent to voluntarily dismiss the request for a due process hearing so that I can review the case and determine whether there is sufficient merit to actually convene a due process hearing.   I recommend this action because of the considerable time and resources that are necessary to properly prepare for a due process hearing.

Of course, there are times the school system will try to negotiate a settlement of the request for a due process hearing with the parent in a resolution session or in mediation.  In my case, the parties and attorneys decided to continue the scheduled due process hearing so that mediation could take place.  For many special education cases, mediation is often the best alternative to a due process hearing.  Mediation is voluntary under the law. 34 C.F.R. 300.506.  Mediation can be requested by either or both parties. A mediator is selected by the Georgia Department of Education Division of Exceptional Children to meet with the parties.  The parties, however, can select a private mediator at their own expense.  In my experience, the Justice Center of Atlanta has trained and experienced special education mediators who provide mediation services to the parties.  School system attorneys may advise school systems to pay for the cost of private mediation when there are high monetary or other important issues at stake.

I would advise parents who want to request a due process hearing to consult with an experienced special education attorney first before  you decide to file a complaint for due process.  It is likely to save you much time and expense by consulting with a special education attorney about the merits of your case. As you can see, there is considerable preparation before you file for a due process hearing and afterwards.  The point is if you spent adequate time and resources in preparing for the due process hearing it is more likely you will either be able to settle your case or at least have a better chance of prevailing. There are many articles published by advocates and attorneys on how to prepare and file for a due process hearing. See e.g.;;;    I would recommend that parents read these articles and others to help you understand due process procedures better and properly prepare before you file for due process and afterwards.



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Parental Rights in Special Education

I recently read that Betsy DeVos, who is now Secretary of Education, removed a website that provides parental rights of children with disabilities in special education. Why this website was removed is unknown. Why is it important that this website is removed?  The U.S. Department of Education is responsible under federal law for the monitoring and enforcement of special educations laws such as the IDEA, Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. These laws apply to apply to children with disabilities attending public schools.  If parents of children with disabilities can no longer learn of their rights under the law to protect their children from the Department of Education, then other resources need to be utilized.

Fortunately, there are many websites on the Internet that provides parents of children with disabilities of their rights under federal special education laws. One of my favorites is Wrightslaw at  I have been told by many parents over the years that they have found wrightslaw very helpful concerning their child with a disability.  The website is parent-friendly.  There are a myriad of other websites for special education information that are too numerous to name. I have cited a few on my website under resources. You can simply type “special education” or “parental rights in special education” on a Google search and find many resources that will be help to you.  If you need specific information about your parental rights and special education laws and regulations in Georgia, I would  go to the Georgia Department of Special Education website at  There are also a number of helpful videos on U-Tube that you can find your rights in special education at

It may be easy finding information on parental rights in special education but not as easy understanding them.  You may find such information to be like a “word salad” or “alphabet soup.”  I would recommend that you visit my website to discovery what legal services can be performed on behalf of your child.  Special education attorneys concentrate their law practice on federal special education laws and representing children with disabilities.  The point is parents are empowered with information about their rights under the law. The more access parents have to such information the better they will be as advocates for their child.

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Betsy DeVos Should Not Be Confirmed for Secretary of Education

I rarely, if ever,  bring politics into my blogs.  But I will make an exception for Betsy DeVos. Why?  There  are compelling reasons to defeat Betsy DeVos as Secretary of State. This is not a Republican, Democratic, conservative or liberal view point. This is about protecting the rights of students in public education and ensuring they have appropriate funding and programming. To begin,   Betsy Devos comes from a very wealthy family. She is  a billionaire.  I have no problem with someone being appointed to the Cabinet if they are wealthy provided that they are also well qualified, knowledgeable, ethical, and competent to do the job for which they are appointed.  Betsy DeVos is not qualified, knowledgeable, ethical or competent to do the job as Secretary of Education.  She has no experience whatsoever in public education. In fact, most of her advocacy work in Michigan has been to strip public education of critical funding and channel public funds solely for private school vouchers and to charter schools. But DeVos’ efforts to channel public school funding into school vouchers for private school and for charter schools has not been successful. In fact, Michigan’s charter schools perform below the state average as compared to  public schools. She is most polarizing nominee for Secretary of Education ever. .

More importantly, DeVos is not a supporter of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). During DeVos’ hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee, DeVos did not even know about funding for the IDEA. She does not have a clue about special education. Devos’ testimony before the U.S. Senate showed she does not support federal oversight of special education and such issues should be left to the states. See   How can someone who is so woefully ignorant of the IDEA be an advocate for children  with disabilities. She cannot. See In addition, DeVos has conflicts of interests that present serious ethical questions whether she can serve two masters.  Do we really want a Secretary of Education who has fierce loyalty to private sector interests that conflict with her obligations to serve the public interest in public education? Absolutely not.  There are many reasons why DeVos is not qualified to be confirmed as Secretary of Education.  Parents of children with disabilities have much to fear if DeVos is confirmed.   I urge you to contact your U.S. Senator today and voice your opposition to DeVos as Secretary of Education.  We only need one more Republican vote in the U.S. Senate to defeat her nomination.

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Endrew F. v. Douglas Co. Sch. Dist. RE-1 – What is “some” benefit?

On January 11, 2017, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Endrew F. v. Douglas County School Dist. RE-1.  For a copy of the oral argument see,  The Court will decide this case by the end of June 2017.  Endrew F.  is the first case since Rowley , which was decided in 1983, to address what kind of  benefit should a child receive under his IEP.

Why is this case important to families of children with disabilities? It is important because the Supreme Court may further define, change or modify what is considered “some” benefit for a child with a disability.   In most jurisdictions, “some” benefit means more than de minimus. This is defined as  to  be  so minor as to merit disregard; insignificant or important.   What happens when you complain at an IEP meeting, or to a teacher, or a conference that your child is not making educational progress? Often educators will say something like your child is not guaranteed the best education or we only have to provide a Chevy and not a Cadillac to your child. Sometimes you hear  that we only have to show he receives some benefit from his special educational instruction.  As many of you know, the IEP is the centerpiece of the IDEA.  The IEP’s  goals and objectives must be objectively measured to determine whether your child is receiving some benefit from his special education instruction and services. But the IDEA as been amended several times since 1983. The IDEA now requires a child with a disability to be involved in and make progress in the general educational curriculum. 20 U.S.C. 1414(d)(1)(A)(i )(I).

The key questions for the Court are whether a child with disability making de minimus progress is legally consistent with the IDEA, as amended. Did Congress intend through its amendments to the IDEA require school system to raise the bar so that the child receives significant or meaningful benefits? Does the benefit have to be meaningful?  Is “some” benefit too low of a bar in view of the recent changes and amendments to the IDEA?  For those who has challenged an IEP in a due process hearing or through a state complaint know how hard it is to win.  The judge or decision-maker will cite Rowley and other court cases that say the IDEA only requires the child to receive “some” benefit.  This is a very low standard.  Most school districts can easily meet this standard.  Often you will hear that your child received benefits from his special education instruction. How do you measure that benefit? Well, you look at data, teacher observations, assessments and tests scores, and other factors to make this determination. But what if the standard was significant benefit? Wouldn’t that be a higher standard than just some or de minimus benefits? Probably so.

This is the Court’s decision in Endrew F. is very important to parents of children with disabilities.  If the Court raises the bar to a “substantial” benefit so as to allow the child to make progress in the regular educational curriculum this would be very good. It would be easier for parents to show in a due process or court proceeding that their child did not make progress. It would require school districts to do more educationally for your child.  They could not claim anymore that your child received just more than de minimus benefit from his IEP.  Of course, there is no way to predict exactly what the Court will decide.  I will revisit the Endrew F. case when the Supreme Court issues a decision. I will give you some analysis of the Court’s decision and how it may affect your child’s special education programming and services under his IEP.



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Happy Holidays

Instead of posting another blog on special education issues, I am choosing instead to wish everyone a very happy holiday and a healthy and safe New Year.  Let the New Year bring success and progress for

all children with disabilities.

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Random Thoughts on Special Education Law

I have attended two IEP meetings within the past week. Both of them very different from each other.  One involved a second grade student diagnosed with ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Adjustment and Conduct Disorders.  This student was recently identified and determined eligible for special education and related services. The other child is a 10th grade student diagnosed with Autism, Intellectual Disability and Speech Impairment. He had been in special education most of his life.  The child is nonverbal and has limited self-help, independent living skills, social skills, and toileting skills. The approaches for these two children –  in terms of  setting goals and objectives and relating services – were very different. But the ultimate goal is to develop an IEP for each child that provided educational benefits and a free appropriate public education.

Each IEP meeting has its own dynamics. For the child with ADHD, the school system had served him under a Section 504 Plan.  The plan was inadequate to address this child’s behavioral challenges and deficits in reading fluency among other things. The school system had unduly delayed identifying and evaluating the child for special education under the IDEA.  The psychoeducational evaluation conducted by the school was inappropriate. There was no occupational therapy or assistive technology evaluation conducted.  The child was determined eligible for special education and related services under the category of Other Health Impaired and Emotionally Behaviorally Disordered.  At the IEP meeting, the team focused mostly on the child’s challenging physical and verbal aggression and behaviors.  The school system had conducted a perfunctory functional behavioral assessment and behavior intervention plan for the child while he was served by a Section 504 plan.  It was incumbent to request an independent educational evaluation for the child because the school’s evaluation was inappropriate.  It was also necessary to secure an appropriate functional behavioral assessment so that a proper behavior intervention plan could be developed and implemented. There were about ten educators at the IEP meeting but only the special education director and a couple of other staff spoke during the meeting. The challenge in this situation is get the special education director to facilitate other staff to contribute to the child’s IEP.  We made some progress on this front.  However, the special education director was clearly leading the meeting and making most of the suggestions and proposals for the child’s IEP, including goals, objectives, services, and placement. The legal guardian of the child, who was not the parent, did not have much knowledge of special education laws so my role was more of an advocate for the child. It is usually better when the parent or guardian is vocal and assert their concerns about the child’s educational programming. In absence of an active parent or guardian, a special education attorney’s role is more pronounced and weighty.

My other random thoughts on special education law concern the 10th grade student with autism and intellectual disability. The mother, who was savvy but relatively quiet at the meeting, had a number of serious concerns about her child’s IEP and its implementation.  There were able a dozen school staff, including occupational, speech and language, assistive technology, and vocational specialists. In fact, a representative from the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation attended the IEP meeting which is quite unusual.  The parent invited an educational advocate to the meeting who had more than 25 years of teaching experience with children with autism and severe disabilities. Working in tandem with an experienced educational advocate is important so that everyone is on the same page in securing appropriate services for the child.  We addressed all aspects of the IEP for the child. Some changes were made in the goals and objectives.  The transition plan was modified to address more of the child’s prevocational needs. The primary parental concerns of communication, self-help and independent life skills, especially toileting, vocational and behavioral challenges were properly addressed at the IEP meeting. Most of the members of the IEP team were active and vocal in expressing their concerns and suggestions.  The parent’s primary concerns were addressed but still she feared because of past experiences with the school that the revised IEP services would not be implemented. It is true that you can develop a great IEP on paper, but if it is not implemented properly it fails to provide an educational benefit for the child. To insure an IEP is properly implemented takes a great deal of effort by both the parents and school system. For ideas how to monitor an IEP and its implemented, see


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Damages for Personal Injuries to Children with Disabilities

What are Damages?

When a court awards damages, whether it be in a case involving a person with special needs or not, it is attempting to compensate the injured person for any losses they may have suffered as a result of the negligent party’s (or parties’) actions.

Damages can generally be defined through common law as a valuation of the injury or harm a person or entity suffers when a right or duty guaranteed by law is violated and are often categorized as compensatory or punitive. These two categories can be further qualified or enhanced based on the nature of the damage claim and statutory provisions which will be discussed below.

Compensatory damages

Compensatory damages, also commonly referred to as actual damages. These are often intended to provide compensation economic losses and general damages — which are non-economic losses. Medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage are examples of economic losses, while the reasonable value of emotional distress and pain and suffering are noneconomic or general damages. Non-economic losses can be much more difficult to recover, as it can be difficult for a DC personal injury lawyer to quantify these kinds of losses. These losses can become even more arduous to uncover when the case involves a person with disability, but that does not negate their importance.

Punitive damages

An award of punitive damages is not based on the losses suffered by the injured party, but is intended to punish the offending party, and to deter them and others from engaging in such activity in the future. Punitive damages are sought, and are more likely to be awarded, where it can be shown that the offending party’s actions were intentional, outrageously reckless, or based in fraud, malice, or bad faith. Punitive damages can be increasingly difficult to justify. Discuss whether or not your case warrants punitive damages with a skilled personal injury lawyer.

Liquidated, Treble, and Nominal Damages

Liquidated, treble, and nominal damages are other forms of damages commonly sought in personal injury cases of varying kinds. While not falling squarely within the broader parameters of compensatory or punitive damages, these qualifying terms enhance the two primary damages categories:

  • Liquidated Damages: Predetermined amounts that are negotiated and included in contracts as compensation that will be owed from one party to the other, should a breach of the contract occur.
  • Treble Damages: Multipliers of actual damages recoverable by an injured party as established by statutory law. These generally operate as an enhancement to punitive damages, and a court may award treble damages as punishment to the offender, as well as to deter the offending behavior in the future.
  • Nominal Damages: Awarded by a court when it is proven that a legal duty or right was violated, but the aggrieved party suffered no loss or injury as a result of the violation. It is not uncommon for the nominal damages award to be one dollar, however in some jurisdictions, the injured party may also be awarded their legal fees and costs.

The type of damages available to be recovered will be determined by a number of factors. For a better understanding of what you and your loved ones may be entitled to, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer today.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their insight into the definition of damages.

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Special Education Discipline – Picking Up Your Child From School?

I have received many phone calls over the years from parents who tell me that their child’s school has asked them to pick up for disciplinary reasons.  The typical story from parents is they have a child with a disability that has behavioral challenges at school.  At work, a parent – usually the mother – receives a phone call from a school administrator or teacher that their child has been misbehaving and she should pick up her child as soon as possible.  The frantic parent agrees to pick up her child at school and then misses the remaining day of work. Sometimes the school tells the parent do not bring the child back for 2-3 days. The parents agrees.  Two or three days later, the parent returns with her  child to school.  A few weeks or months later this pattern repeats itself.  The parent again receives a phone call from the school to pick up her child because of behavioral reasons.   I have talked with parents that have picked up their child from school numerous times.  This has resulted in some parents losing their job or they have been told by their employer they cannot continue to do this.  When the parent loses her job, she ends up staying  home with her child.  A few parents withdraw their child from school because it becomes too difficult to keep picking up their child at school. Suffice it to say many parents have endured and suffered great hardship, emotional distress, frustration, and loss of a job and income among other things because the school asks them to pick up their child at school. Is this legal?

I do not think so.  The problem is school systems and schools get away all too often with calling up a parent to pick up their child with a disability when the child become aggressive or disruptive at school.  I ask why doesn’t the school address the child’s challenging behaviors in the first place instead of throwing up their hands and saying we cannot deal with your child behaviorally. Doesn’t this say the school personnel do not know what they are doing?  Doesn’t this say the child’s IEP and behavior plan, if any, is inappropriate? Doesn’t this say the school is trying to skirt around the procedural protections afforded children with disabilities when disciplining them?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA provides the school system must comply with a number of procedural rules before imposing out of school system. In general, a school can impose out of school suspension for a child with a disability up to ten school days in a school year.  If the school system intends to suspend a child with a disability more than ten consecutive school days, then the school system must conduct a manifestation determination meeting to determine the school complied with the IEP and if the student’s conduct is directly related or substantially caused by the child’s disability.  If not, the school may  conduct a disciplinary hearing and can administer disciplinary according to its Student Code of Conduct.  If the manifestation determination team determines the child’s conduct was directly related or substantially caused by the child’s disability, then the IEP team has a number of options, including modifying the IEP and behavior plan, conducting a functional behavioral assessment if one has not been conducted, and changing the child’s educational placement if the parents agree.  There are also other procedural safeguards and rights that children with disabilities have under the IDEA when being disciplined by the school. See

You will not find anywhere in the IDEA that a school can circumvent the procedural protections and safeguards afforded children with disabilities in disciplinary matters such as asking a parent to pick up their child from school.  When this happens the school can technically say the parent picked up the child so there is no out of school suspension. In other words, the school can get away with sending the child home, which is tantamount to an out of school suspension. These days will not count toward the total of ten school days the school is allowed by law to impose out of school suspensions. So if the child’s school has asked you to pick up your child five days, ten days or more, there will be no record of an out of school suspension in your child’s educational records.

What should you do instead of picking up your child?  I know it may be troubling, but refuse to pick up your child.  Do not agree to do it. The school cannot legally require you to pick up your child because of disciplinary reasons unless and until it imposes out of school suspension for violation of the Student Code of Conduct.  Yes, the school may threaten to suspend your child but remember you have rights and procedural safeguards to protect you and your child under the law if the number of days of out of school suspension exceed ten days in a school year. Instead, I would ask for an emergency IEP meeting to address your child behavioral problems. at this meeting you can ask for modification of the IEP.  You can ask for a functional behavior assessment. You can ask for a behavior intervention plan or modification of the plan. You can ask for a behavioral specialist to assess your child and attend the meeting.  The point is the school must provide an appropriate education for your child.  A school does not provide an appropriate education for child when it asks you pick up your child for disciplinary reasons.

Finally, I would contact a special education attorney to discuss your options.  Special education law and procedure can be difficult to understand.  It is a maze of rules and procedures. An attorney who concentrates in special education can help you understand your rights and the school system’s obligations under the law to provide appropriate behavioral interventions, strategies and supports for your child.  You have other options instead of picking up your child at school because the school asks you to do so.







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Abuse of Child with a Disability at School

From time to time, I receive phone calls and emails from parents of children with disabilities concerning reports of physical abuse of their child at school.  Alarmingly, this is occurring more frequently at public schools.  http://See There is a compelling reason for the parents to be very alarmed when they hear their child may have been physically abused at school. A parent may have options, however, to address the physical abuse your their child. If your child has been physically abused at school it should trigger an investigation by the school.  When the investigation is completed, administrations must notify the parents. If the physical abuse is disability related, a parent has certain rights to pursue a claim against the school system. I have previously posted information on disability related discrimination on my website.

Another type of physical abuse of your child  occurs when an educator physically grabs, pushes, or other abuses him or her.  If your child is nonverbal and unable to communicate, you may not learn of such abuse.   For example, if your child comes home from school with unexplained scratches, cuts, and physical marks  then you should consult with your child’s pediatrician.  A competent medical professional can tell the difference between ordinary bumps and bruises a child may incur at school.   In the event that your pediatrician determines that your child has incurred physical abuse at school your have several options.

First, you can contact the Principal or Assistant Principal at the school and discuss the matter with that administrator.   If there is evidence a  teacher inappropriately physically harmed your child, you can file a complaint with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC).  The commission determines if there is probable cause to believe the educator violated the Georgia Code of Ethics.  If so, the educator may be disciplined by the PSC.  A parent may consider a civil action against the educator for assault or battery. These type of actions are difficult to bring against educators. This is because there may be no direct evidence of the educator’s abuse.  Another reason is educators may be protected against such lawsuits by certain immunities.   In the event you have questions concerning alleged physical abuse of your child with a disability, you should contact a special education lawyer  for advise.


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