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May 2010 Archives

Special education for student's who turn 18

When a disabled student turns 18 a, the student and his or her parent need to consider how the law impacts this event especially in terms of educational decision making.First, the law states: When a student receiving special education services who is legally competent reaches 18 years of age, the local educational agency shall provide any required notice of procedural safeguards to both the student and the student’s parents. (34 C.F.R. § 300.517(a); Ed. Code, § 56041.5.) All other special education rights previously accorded to the parents shall transfer to the student.Consider asking whether it's appropriate to transfer educational rights from the student, who has reached 18, to the parent. This can be done with a form that confirms by signatures of the parent/guardians and the student that the student wishes to have all educational decisions made by the parent. Often school district's have a form.A legal guardianship can also be obtained to transfer these rights and should be considered for student's who are reaching the age of majority and do not have the ability to care for themselves.All of the above are important to consider if your child is going to continue on in public k-12 school beyond 18 or you are contesting graduation.If you contest graduation, it's critical that you do this on the record in writing and before the child actually graduates.California Education Code section 56026.1(a) and 34 Code of Federal Regulations part 300.122(a)(3)(i) provide that a student who graduates from high school with a regular high school diploma is no longer eligible for special education services. Some courts have found that any claim that a FAPE was denied becomes moot upon a valid graduation. Along these lines, some courts have long held that there is authority to order compensatory education to an adult if it is necessary to cure a past violation. (Bd. of Education of Oak Park & River Forest High School Dist. 200 v. Ill. State Bd. of Education (7th Cir. 1996) 79 F.3d 654, 656; see also Capistrano Unified School Dist. v. Wartenberg (9th Cir. 1995) 59 F.3d 884, 890 [request for reimbursement for private school tuition is not moot after the student graduates from high school]; Maine School Administrative Dist. No. 35 v. Mr. and Mrs. R. (1st Cir. 2003) 321 F.3d 9, 18 [a child eligible for special education services may be entitled to further services in compensation for past violations even after his or her eligibility for special education services has expired]; Pihl v. Mass. Dept. of Education (1st Cir. 1993) 9 F.3d 184, 189, relying upon Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills School Dist. (1993) 509 U.S. 1, 4 fn. 3 [request for reimbursement of educational services remains a live controversy after student’s graduation from high school].)If you believe you require transference of ed rights or contesting graduation, it's critical you seek legal advice.

Disability Rights for Students

Section 504, as well as several other state and federal laws, assist disabled students in both public elementary, secondary and post secondary (college and or university) institutions.In explaining the rights of disabled students under Section 504 and Section 504 plans, OCR that depending on the institution involved as well as whether the student meets the eligibility criteria for having a disability under Section 504, public elementary and secondary recipients are required to provide a free appropriate public education to qualified students with disabilities. Such an education consists of regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet the individual educational needs of students with disabilities as adequately as the needs of students without disabilities are met.At the post secondary level, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) states that the college, university or post secondary institution is required to provide students with appropriate academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services that are necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in a school's program. However, these institutions are not required to make adjustments or provide aids or services that would result in a fundamental alteration of a recipient's program or impose an undue burden.For more on Section 504 guidance visit:http://ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/504faq.html

California Teacher Rights

California Teacher update: California Public Employee Relations Board upholds administrative decision that California Santa Ana Unified School District substitute teachers are guaranteed the right to select an employee organization of their choice and be members of an appropriate bargaining unit. For more on this topic click here:California Teacher Rights.

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