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Category Archives: Student Issues

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OSEP Issues Guidance Requiring IEPs to Be Aligned With Grade-Level Content Standards

Posted in Student Issues
Ever since New York State adopted the common core standards, there has been questions about how these standards would apply to students with disabilities. The response to these questions has been fairly consistent—disabled students are expected to meet the same standards as their nondisabled peers. This was the answer that the U.S. Department of Education… Continue Reading

OCR Issues Guidance Regarding Immunization Requirements for Students With Disabilities

Posted in Student Issues
The U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) recently issued guidance regarding how schools should address situations where a student with a disability is unvaccinated. This guidance recognizes that there are certain medical conditions where a disabled student should not get vaccinated, such as HIV/AIDS, Leukemia, or certain types of cancers. OCR states… Continue Reading

Department of Education Issues Guidance on Sufficient Communication Modalities

Posted in Student Issues
On November 12, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), and the U.S. Department of Justice distributed a joint Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) regarding schools’ responsibilities to ensure that students with hearing, vision, or speech impairments have sufficient communication modalities. This guidance… Continue Reading

New Law Requires School Districts to Notify Parents of Students’ Special Education Rights Upon Enrollment

Posted in Student Issues
On November 21, 2014, Governor Cuomo signed Chapter 434 of the laws of 2104. School districts are now required, upon a student’s enrollment, to “notify every parent or parent in parental relation of their rights regarding referral and evaluation of their child for the purposes of special education services or programs.” This provision states that… Continue Reading

Public School Advocacy Groups Seek Supreme Court Review of “Stay-Put” Placements in Private Schools

Posted in Student Issues
One of the most important due process protections afforded to disabled students under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the principle of “stay-put” or “pendency” placement. This provision prohibits school districts from changing a disabled student’s placement while there is a pending litigation. In essence, it requires the student’s placement to remain static… Continue Reading

Back-to-School Signals a Review of Your Concussion Management Protocols

Posted in Student Issues
As another school year approaches, student-athletes and coaches will soon be involved with pre-season practices to prepare for sports contests. Emphasizing student-athlete safety has never been greater, particularly with respect to head injuries. Because of the potential for serious injuries, districts should take this opportunity to review their policies relating to concussion management and awareness… Continue Reading

Second Circuit Says Least-Restrictive Environment Requirement Applies to Extended-Year Placements

Posted in Student Issues
On April 2, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the least-restrictive environment requirement (LRE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) applies to extended school-year placements (ESY) as well as school-year placements. In T.M. v. Cornwall Central School District, Nos. 12-4301 (2d Cir. Apr. 2, 2014), a school… Continue Reading

Department of Education Releases New Guidance on Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services

Posted in Student Issues
The U.S. Department of Education’s Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) recently released a new guidance to help school districts navigate their obligations to preserve student confidentiality when using online educational services. PTAC examines the key requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), and urges… Continue Reading

Board of Regents Applies for ESEA Waiver for Students with Disabilities

Posted in Student Issues
On February 10, 2014, the New York State Board of Regents released a memorandum detailing its decision to submit an Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waiver renewal request. The waiver request contains a number of proposed amendments that, if approved, would have a significant effect on current state testing procedures for students with severe… Continue Reading

NY State Education Department Issues Special Education Field Advisory

Posted in Student Issues
Yesterday, James P. Lorenzo at SED issued a Special Education Field Advisory outlining changes in regulations to the impartial hearing process. One amendment authorizes the impartial hearing officer to grant extensions of time for settlement negotiations. This is significant because it allows parties to fully engage in settlement negotiations without being pressured by the hearing… Continue Reading

OCR’s Latest Interpretation on Participation of Disabled Students in Extracurricular Athletic Activities

Posted in Student Issues
On January 25, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued an important “Dear Colleague” letter. The letter was intended to clarify school districts’ legal obligations to provide students with disabilities equal access to extracurricular athletic activities. In essence, OCR stated that disabled students have the right to equal opportunities to… Continue Reading

OCR Issues Dear Colleague Letter to Ensure Schools’ Compliance with Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws

Posted in Student Issues
On January 8, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice issued a Dear Colleague Letter to assist schools in administering discipline without discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin. The letter emphasizes the Office for Civil Rights’ focus on eliminating discrimination in schools, and the importance of… Continue Reading

Cuomo Orders Investigation Into Bullying Allegations

Posted in Student Issues
In November, New York State’s governor ordered the New York State Police and Division of Human Rights to investigate allegations of anti-Semitic bullying in the Pine Bush Central School District. The investigation stems from a lawsuit filed on behalf of five current and former students in the district alleging that they suffered anti-Semitic discrimination, harassment,… Continue Reading

The SED’s New Health Services Guidelines Raise Many Questions

Posted in Student Issues
Recently, there has been much discussion about the New York State Education Department’s August 2013 “School Health Examination Guidelines.” In relevant part, the guidelines state that “parental consent is required for health services, treatment, and remedial care.” Some school districts have interpreted the cited language as barring them from providing health services to students, unless… Continue Reading