Schools and Bullying of Kids with Disabilities

I am as worried about school administration behavior as well offensive fellow student conduct when it comes to bullying or harassment of individuals with disabilities in our schools. Schools must conduct an investigation for each potential civil rights violation and collect data and take measures to eradicate the bullying to provide students with a meaningful education that is free from bullying. It is usually best to convene an IEP (or ARD) meeting to determine if the bullying has led to changes in individual needs and assess what additional services or supports may be necessary to prevent bullying; the IEP (plan) should also consider whether there is a need to develop a particularized form of communication to reduce the long term effects associated with bullying or harassment, and an evaluation of environmental changes to reduce the potential of a hostile environment.

That said, inclusion is the rule in education, and while the IEP team should always make educational placement decisions, the team should exercise caution when changing placement as a ‘protective’ measure, as increased restrictiveness may result in a violation of the requirement for the Least Restrictive Environment. The plan should be designed to provide the maximum educational benefit, while supporting the unique needs of the student.

Posted on LinkedIn on 2/10/2019


Issues on school behaviour and emotionally disturbed kids

Issues on school behaviour and emotionally disturbed kids are particularly bothersome. The issue is raised in Jay F v Wiliam Hart School in the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The advocacy group COPAA of which I am a member notes: Research supports the [lower] court’s conclusion that emotional disturbance and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can manifest in problem behaviors like verbal threats of the sort made in this case and [the school] Hart has provided no evidence or research that would show that the [lower] court’s findings were clear error. This appeal has important implications for children with emotional disturbance. Reversing the district court’s rulings for A.F. would undermine the IDEA’s protections for such children and exacerbate their already abysmal educational outcomes.