Monday, May 2, 2016

Weekly Question!

Can a child be too bad for FAPE? See our ongoing series of posts on this blog. #IncarceratedStudents

Friday, April 29, 2016

Incarcerated Students & Special Ed Law- PartIV: Can a Student Be Too Bad for FAPE? #IncarcetatedStudents

OK as the weekly question that accompanies our series on students who have had a brush with the criminal law asks- can a child be too bad for FAPE?

There is a little cited provision of the special education law.  Concerning children with disabilities who are convicted as adults under state law and incarcerated in adult prisons, there are exemption concerning participation in general assessments and transition planning/services,  {§614(d)(7)(A), and 34 CFR §300.324(d)(1)}  and least restrictive environment {34 CFR §300.324(d)(2)(ii)}. Also the law provides that the IEP team may modify the IEP or placement of such a child if the State has demonstrated a bona fide security or compelling penological interest that cannot otherwise be accommodated.  {§614(d)(7)(B), and 34 CFR §300.324(d)(2)(i)}.

So this doesn't come up much. I have had many due process hearings and mediations and a few state complaint investigations, and I haven't seen one of these cases. I did serve as a hearing officer for one student who was in jail, but the case involved his schooling in the previous school year. I also had a hearing involving a student in a juvenile center, but the issue once again involved the previous school year. 

In 2013, however, I came across an interesting hearing officer decision. The hearing officer ruled that an incarcerated student was such a serious security/safety risk that he was not entitled to FAPE under IDEA, citing §614(d)(7)(A)& (B), and 34 CFR §300.324(D)}. State Correctional Institution Pine Grove (BF) 113 LRP 32792 (SEA Penna 5/1/2013). OK so there it is - a ruling that a child is too bad for FAPE.

Of course, the decision was appealed to court. More on that next week.

So your reaction? Can a child be too bad for FAPE? Your thoughts? 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Breaking: Department of Education Announces New Tools to Support Reentry For Recently Incarcerated Youth #IncarceratedStudents

Alright, how cool are we? As you know we are currently running a series on the newest hot button issue in special education law: incarcerated students. This story goes under the category of I told you so!

Yesterday the Department of Education, in conjunction with the Department of Justice, issued a series of resources pertaining to improving outcomes for students who have been incarcerated. The resources include $5.7 million in new research grants and a new toolkit providing guidance to teachers and others who work with formerly incarcerated students. The reentry education toolkit is available here. The press release may be reviewed here.

Here is a quote from the press release:
"The toolkit announced today aligns with the Education Department’s effort to promote access to correctional education and reentry services for those leaving the criminal justice system, and thereby build stronger, safer communities and families. The toolkit provides resources for educators and community members and highlights the five critical components of an effective reentry system: program infrastructure, strategic partnerships, education services, transition processes, and sustainability.
Children of incarcerated parents are at greater risk of health and behavior issues in school, among other challenges. Research shows that more than 5 million children have had at least one parent in prison at one point in their lives. The prevalence of incarceration, particularly in low-income communities of color, has negative consequences for both those incarcerated and their families. In addition, children of incarcerated parents face more economic and residential instability than their counterparts.
2013 federal study of people released from state prisons found that 94 percent of incarcerated adults who were nearing reentry identified education as a key need. Equipping incarcerated youth and adults with the skills they need to successfully reenter the community is one of the most powerful – and cost-effective – ways to ensure they avoid future contact with the justice system and become productive members of society."

So our series on incarcerated students is certainly timely, right?

Monday, April 25, 2016

Weekly Question!

Can a child be too bad for FAPE? See our ongoing series of posts on this blog. #IncarceratedStudents

Saturday, April 23, 2016

How Much Does Your School District Spend Per Pupil? #SchoolFunding #poverty

Spending more money per student does not necessarily mean a better education, It is however an indicator of a better education. It also says a lot about the priorities of a community.

National Public Radio is running a fascinating series on school funding. The link below leads to the article as well as an interactive map where you can look up how much your district spends per pupil as compared to other districts locally to nationally. The article and map may be found here.

Here are some quotes from the series:
"Since the early 1970s, nearly every state has seen at least one lawsuit over how it pays for schools and whether the result is fair or adequate.  Of the many funding lawsuits that have played out in the nation's courts, one stands out: San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez.  The suit, which made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, struck at the heart of the nation's school-funding system....The plaintiffs argued that any school-funding system that depends on local property tax revenue is fundamentally unfair to poorer districts. Specifically, the suit claimed, the way we pay for our schools violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause, which says that no state shall 'deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.' ... In a split 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled against Rodriguez, saying there is no right to equal funding in education under the U.S. Constitution. Not that the system is fair or balanced — just that the federal government has no obligation to make it so. In his forceful dissent, Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote, 'I cannot accept such an emasculation of the Equal Protection Clause in the context of this case.' "

So what do you think of this story? Have you looked up your school district on the interactive map?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Breaking: CDC Releases New Package For Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect #ChildAbuse

The Centers for Disease Control yesterday released a new document in its series of technical packages on violence prevention. The package is called "Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: A Technical Package for Policy, Norm and Programmatic Activities." 

The report notes, among many other things, that children with special needs, especially those with developmental and intellectual disabilities, have risk factors associated with victimization. If you work with such children, you should check out this resource. The package is a useful tool for combating child abuse and neglect.

You can view the CDC's violence prevention page here. You can read the 52 page policy package on child abuse and neglect here.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Weekly Question!

Can a child be too bad for FAPE? See our ongoing series of posts on this blog. #IncarceratedStudents