A special education legal resource discussing case law, news, practical advocacy advice, and developments in state and federal laws, statutes and regulations. Postings include insight and sometimes humor from Charles P. Fox, a Chicago, Illinois attorney who is also a parent of child with special needs, and other guest authors. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Winkelman case was decided 7-2 in favor of parents. So parents will be able to represent their children in court. Details and analysis to follow. It is a great feeling to win and by such a wide margin !
Fortunately for many special education students in Texas, the state government has adopted a new law called "Scooter's Law" that will allow special education students to participate in graduation ceremonies. Under this law a student can participate in graduation even if they are continuing with their special education eligibility and services.
Here in Illinois, we have had "Brittany's Law" which is essentially the same as Scooter's Law. I can say from direct experience for a number of students that I represent, participation in graduation is a very important right of passage.
My only caution is to confirm in writing that participation in the ceremony does not alter the student's eligibility under IDEA for special education services. There should be no room for inadvertent graduation and termination of services when that was not intended. Invoke the "graduation ceremony law" in your state if one exists and make it unambiguously clear that services are not being terminated. It may be an exercise in belt and suspenders, but it is these kind of situations that too often come across an attorney's desk. And for those who are walking across a stage after years of working harder than anyone outside of your family and few select school personnel will ever know, congratulations !
The following blog is from a young man about to enter high school. The statement represents his first thoughts, anxieties and concerns about entering high school. It was used at a recent IEP where I represented him transitioning to high school.
This student has LD, organization and executive functioning issues. He also is bright with a dedicated family which can sometimes mask the real underlying educational issues. With this good positive input and some legal umph we had a positive meeting and hopefully designed an IEP to meet his needs for next year.
I have not found much time to post blogs recently because of IEP season and my impending office move. My electronic friend and loyal reader and commentator on this blogsite, Daunna Minnich, has come to my rescue with the following blog. She puts a big spotlight on another example of school people publicly sharing their real feelings about students with special needs, and the truth is not pretty.
Daunna Minnich is a guest author for the blog and a special education advocate in Palo Alto, California. A former teacher, she is mother of two teenagers with special needs. She derives a lot of satisfaction from helping parents find their way through the special education maze via an online education forum, which she helps moderate for the Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation and via a hotline sponsored by the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for Special Education in her school district. Deeply committed to the work of the CAC, which she chaired for three years, Daunna enjoys advocating directly with school board members and administrators, writing articles for the CAC newsletter and organizing monthly parent education programs. She never has enough time for all the ideas that pop into her head.
Summer is a perfect time to enhance knowledge of special education law and to increase the effectiveness of advocacy. In July there will be a wide ranging conference in Maine on topics that are important to stay abreast of this ares of the law. Besides Maine is especially beautiful in the summer.