Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth Presid...
. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)































Happy Thanksgiving.

This is one of my favorite holidays.  To help you celebrate, here are some fun facts about this holiday from our friends at the U. S. Census Bureau:
#Thanksgiving, #turkey


In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims — early settlers of Plymouth Colony, held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest. This event is regarded by many as the nation’s first Thanksgiving. The Wampanoag  Indians in attendance played a  key role. Historians have recorded ceremonies of thanksamong other groups of European settlers in North America. These include the British colonists in Virginia as early as 1619.
The legacy of thanks and the feast have survived the centuries, as the event became a national holiday 151 years ago (Oct. 3, 1863) when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. Later, President Franklin Roosevelt clarified that Thanksgiving should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month to encourage earlier holiday shopping, never on the occasional fifth Thursday.
Where to Feast
115 million
Number of occupied housing units across the nation in 2014’s second quarter — all potential stops for Thanksgiving dinner. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Housing Vacancies and Homeownership, Table 8 <http://www.census.gov/housing/hvs/data/histtabs.html
>
4.4 million
Number of multigenerational households in the U.S. in 2013. These households, consisting of three or more generations, no doubt will have to purchase large quantities of food to accommodate all the family members sitting around the table for the holiday feast ─ even if there are no guests!  Source: 2013 American Community Survey, Table B11017 <http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_13_3YR_B11017&prodType=table
>
4
Number of places in the United States named after the holiday’s traditional main course. Turkey Creek, La., was the most populous in 2013, with 435 residents, followed by Turkey, Texas (410), Turkey, N.C. (291) and Turkey Creek, Ariz. (294). There are also two townships in Pennsylvania with “Turkey” in the name: Upper Turkeyfoot and Lower Turkeyfoot. (Please note that the Turkey Creek, Ariz., population total pertains to the 2010 Census).
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2013 Population Estimates and American FactFinder, Table DP-1, 2010 Census Summary File 1 <http://www.census.gov/popest/data/cities/totals/2012/SUB-EST2012-3.html
> <http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/DEC/10_DP/DPDP1/1600000US0477415
>
>
8
Number of places and townships in the United States that are named Cranberry or some spelling variation of the acidic red berry (e.g., Cranbury, N.J.), a popular side dish at Thanksgiving. Cranberry Township (Butler County), Pa., was the most populous of these places in 2013, with 29,490 residents. Cranberry township (Venango County), Pa., was next (6,583). (Please note that population totals for the two places on the list that are census designated places ─ Cranbury, N.J., with a population of 2,181, and Cranberry Lake, N.Y., with a population of 200 ─ pertain to 2010.)
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2013 Population Estimates and 2010 CensusSummary File 1  <http://www.census.gov/popest/data/cities/totals/2013/index.html
> <http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?fpt=table
> <http://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/data/gazetteer.html
>
42
Number of counties, places and townships in the United States named Plymouth, as in Plymouth Rock, the landing site of the first Pilgrims. The two counties, both named Plymouth, are in Massachusetts (2013 population of 501,915) and Iowa (24,957 in 2013).
Plymouth, Minn., is the most populous place, with 73,987 residents in 2013; There are two places in the United States named Pilgrim: One, a township in Dade County, Mo., had a 2013 population of 128; the other, a census designated place in Michigan, had a 2010 population of 11. And then there is Mayflower, Ark., whose population was 2,299 in 2012, and Mayflower Village, Calif., whose population was 5,515 in 2010.
Note: Townships have been included in these counts from 12 states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin) where the primary governmental or administrative divisions of a county serve as general-purpose local governments that can perform the same governmental functions as incorporated places. These county subdivisons are known as minor civil divisions, and the Census Bureau presents data for these in all data products for which place data are provided.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census Summary File 1 2013 Population Estimates Counties: http://www.census.gov/popest/data/counties/asrh/2013/index.html

>
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Participants in the First Feast
24.5 million  
Number of U.S. residents of English ancestry as of 2013. Some could very well be descendants of the Plymouth colonists who participated in the autumn feast that is widely believed to be one of the first Thanksgivings ─ especially the 664,000 living in Massachusetts. Source: 2013 American Community Survey, Table B04006.<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/13_1YR/B04006
><http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/13_1YR/B04006/0400000US25
>
6,500
Number of members of the Wampanoag American Indian tribal grouping, as of 2010, roughly half of whom reside in Massachusetts. The Wampanoag, the American Indians in attendance, played a lead role in this historic encounter, and they had been essential to the survival of the colonists during the newcomers’ first year. The Wampanoag are a people with a sophisticated society who have occupied the region for thousands of years. They have their own government, their own religious and philosophical beliefs, their own knowledge system, and their own culture. They are also a people for whom giving thanks was a part of daily life.
Sources: 2010 Census American Indian and Alaska Native Summary File, Table DP-1 <http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?fpt=table
> American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving, National Museum of the American Indian <http://nmai.si.edu/sites/1/files/pdf/education/thanksgiving_poster.pdf
>.
Preparing the Feast … Enjoying the Day … and the Aftermath
98.6%
Percentage of households in 2013 with a gas or electric stove ─ essential for cooking their Thanksgiving feast. Another 96.8 percent had a microwave, also helpful in preparing the meal. Source: Extended Measures of Well-Being: Living Conditions in the United States: 2013, Table 3 <www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p70-136.pdf>
98.3%
Percentage of households with a television in 2013. No doubt, many guests either before, after, or perhaps even during the feast will settle in front of their TVs to watch some football. Source: Extended Measures of Well-Being: Living Conditions in the United States: 2013, Table 3 <www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p70-136.pdf>  
35.8%
Percentage of households with a stand-alone food freezer in 2013, which they may want to use to preserve their Thanksgiving leftovers. Far more (99.2 percent) have a refrigerator. Once all the guests leave, it will be time to clean up. Fortunately, 69.3 percent have a dishwasher to make the task easier. Source: Extended Measures of Well-Being: Living Conditions in the United States: 2011, Table 3 <www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p70-136.pdf>
Culinary Delights
66,047  
The number of supermarkets and other grocery (except convenience) stores in the United States in 2012. These establishments are expected to be extremely busy around Thanksgiving, as people prepare for their delightful meals. Source: U.S.Census Bureau, County Business Patterns, NAICS Code 44511 <http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/
>
3,240
The number of baked goods stores in the United States in 2012 — a potential place to visit to purchase refreshing desserts. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns, NAICS Code 445291 <http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/
>
2,788
The number of fruit and vegetable markets in the United States in 2012 — a great place to find holiday side dishes. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns, NAICS Code 445230 <http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/
>
242 million
The number of turkeys that were forecasted to be raised in the United States in 2014. That is down 5 percent from the number raised during 2012. Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, cornell.edu/usda/current/TurkRaisSu/TurkRaisSu-09-30-2014.pdf>
45 million
The forecast for the number of turkeys Minnesota will raise in 2014. The Gopher State was tops in turkey production, followed by North Carolina (35 million), Arkansas (29 million), Indiana (17 million), Missouri (17 million), and Virginia (16 million). Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, <http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/current/TurkRaisSu/TurkRaisSu-09-30-2014.pdf
>
$19 million The value of U.S. imports of live turkeys for 2013, with 99.9 percent of them coming from Canada. When it comes to sweet potatoes, the Dominican Republic was the source of
47.8 percent ($5 million) of total imports ($10.4 million). The United States ran a $13.6 million trade deficit in live turkeys during the period but had a surplus of $86.1 million in sweet potatoes. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Statistics
<http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/data/
>.

856 million pounds
The forecast for U.S. cranberry production in 2014. Wisconsin was estimated to lead all states in the production of cranberries, with 538 million pounds, followed by Massachusetts (estimated at 210 million). New Jersey, Oregon and Washington were also estimated to have substantial production, ranging from 16 to 55 million pounds. Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, <http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/Cran/Cran-08-14-2014.pdf
>
2.4 billion pounds
The total weight of sweet potatoes — another popular Thanksgiving side dish — produced by major sweet potato producing states in 2014  Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, <http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/CropProd/CropProd-10-10-2014.pdf
>

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bullying of Kids With Disabilities - Part IX

In My Room from the Bully Series
In My Room from the Bully Series (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

















Bullying remains the hottest of hot button issues in special education law. 
 
In the first installment of this series, I explained the early cases laying the conceptual groundwork for the proposition that failure to react to bullying can constitute a denial of FAPE under IDEA.  In later installments, I have discussed the seminal decision of TK & SK ex rel LK v. New York City Dept of Educ 779 F.Supp.2d 289, 56 IDELR 228 (E.D.N.Y. 4/25/2011).  This case is important not just because it analyzes special education law principles involving bullying, but also because it provides a thorough review of the social science literature on bullying. You should read this case and you can do so here.   (NOTE: What follows is a discussion of TK I.  Please note that we have subsequently done a post on the District Court's decision on the appeal of the SRO decision after the court's remand, or TK II. You can read that post hereTK I remains good law.) #bullying

Here is more from the court...these are not my words:
 

F. Effects on Children

If nothing is done to rectify the situation, a bully is likely to continue bullying and victimization continues. Olweus, supra, at 27. Thus, without a change in the dynamic, a child who suffers at the hands of a tormentor, is unlikely to be able to escape. And the effects of bullying are likely to continue unabated. Id. at 28. Each child can be bully, victim, or bystander. And with each of those labels comes different, but often related consequences.

1. Victim

The typical victim of bullying is more anxious and insecure than her peers. Olweus, supra, at 32. She is more likely to be quiet, sensitive, and have low self-esteem. Id. It is important to note, however, that not all victims react in the same way. Macklem, supra, at 63.
"Students who are bullied in schools have no escape from bullying other than feigning illness and staying home which is a very temporary reprieve." Id. at 61. Not surprisingly, being a victim is most strongly associated with a feeling that one did not belong at school and an increase in the classroom days missed. Id. at 70; Glew, supra, at 1030. "Feeling as though one did not belong at school was most strongly associated with being the victim; the odds of members of this group being a victim were 4.1 times higher than those who felt they belonged at school" Glew, supra, at 1030. "For students who felt sad most days, their odds of being a victim were 1.8 times higher than the odds of being a victim among those who did not feel sad most days." Id. Being sad most days is known to be a precursor to diagnoses of major depression. Id.
"The take-home message is that elementary school-aged children ... who struggle academically are more likely to be victims or bully-victims." Id. (defining a "bully-victim" as one who both is the victim of bullying and the bully at different times). Bullying brings with it a whole host of other issues. It impairs concentration and leads to poorer academic performance. Id. Additionally, victims are more likely to engage in antisocial behavior, have increased health problems, and struggle to adjust emotionally. See Macklem, supra, at 68 ("Being the victim of bullying is related to sliding grades, absenteeism, poor academic achievement, being lonely, exhibiting withdrawal behaviors, difficulty acting assertively, or being aggressive."); Snyder, supra, at 1881, 1887; Nansel, supra, at 733-34 ("Youth involved in bullying —as bully, victim, or both—consistently reported significantly higher levels of health problems, poorer emotional adjustment, and poorer school adjustment than non-involved youth. Victims and bully victims also consistently reported significantly poorer relationships with classmates than uninvolved youth.")
[ 779 F.Supp.2d 305 ]

Victims who are friends of a non-victim peer are less likely to internalize problems such as feelings of depression and sadness. Rodkin, supra, at 36. Even children as young as those in first grade who have one friend and do not suffer in isolation, have fewer problems than children who have no peer to rely upon. Id. "The victims are lonely and abandoned at school. As a rule, they do not have a single good friend in their class." Olweus, supra, at 32. This solitude perpetuates feelings of shame and unattractiveness, and a belief that the victim is stupid. Id.
Children with feelings of rejection and loneliness, withdraw and have trouble making new friends. Macklem, supra, at 68. "Withdrawal because a child is rejected by peers places the child at a greater risk [of isolation] than is the case for children who prefer to play alone or who are socially anxious."Id. Victims have lower self-esteem and begin blaming themselves for what is happening. Id. at 69 ("Self-esteem drops once a child becomes a victim.... They blame themselves for being victimized, and give in quickly or respond in a disorganized manner when they are teased or bullied."). "Self-views are unlikely to change for the better, unless the child who has been victimized becomes more accepted in the group." Id.
The end of school does not bring an end to the damage done by years of harassment. As a result of this trapped setting, where harassment is a repeated occurrence, victims carry lasting emotional and psychological scars into adulthood. Id. at 68 (citing Olweus study that found those who were bullied for at least three years in grades six through nine had higher rates of depressive symptoms and lower self-esteem when they were twenty-three years old.)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekly Question!

We are continuing our series on bullying of kids with disabilities. What else should school districts do to prevent the serious problem of bullying?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bullying of Kids With Disabilities - Part VIII

No Bullying sign - School in Racine, Wisconsin
No Bullying sign - School in Racine, Wisconsin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

































Bullying remains the hottest of hot button issues in special education law.  We interrupted the series for my thoughts on the Rowley standard as applied to bullying cases.  Now we are back
 In the first installment of this series, I explained the early cases laying the conceptual groundwork for the proposition that failure to react to bullying can constitute a denial of FAPE under IDEA.  In later installments, I have discussed the seminal decision of TK & SK ex rel LK v. New York City Dept of Educ 779 F.Supp.2d 289, 56 IDELR 228 (E.D.N.Y. 4/25/2011).  This case is important not just because it analyzes special education law principles involving bullying, but also because it provides a thorough review of the social science literature on bullying. You should read this case and you can do sohere.   (NOTE: What follows is a discussion of TK I.  Please note that we have subsequently done a post on the District Court's decision on the appeal of the SRO decision after the court's remand, or TK II. You can read that post hereTK I remains good law.) #bullying

Here is more from the court...these are not my words:


5. Bullying and Students With Disabilities

The United States Department of Education has defined disability harassment as "intimidation or abusive behavior based on 
[ 779 F.Supp.2d 303 ]

disability that creates a hostile environment." U.S. Dep't of Educ., Reminder of Responsibility Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act July, 25 2000, available at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/disabharassltr.html (hereinafter DOE Reminder of Responsibilities Letter). Studies have shown that students with a disability, whether it is visible or non-visible, are subject to increased bullying that is often directed at the disability. John Young, Ari Ne'eman, and Sara Gelser, Bullying and Students With Disabilities, in White House Conference on Bullying Prevention, at 74 (March 10, 2011), available athttp://www.stopbullying.gov/references/white_house_conference/index.html. These students are also at more risk for bullying directed at factors other than their disability. Id. at 77. Harassing conduct may take many forms, including verbal acts and name-calling, as well as nonverbal behavior, such as graphic written statements, or conduct that is physically threatening, harmful, or humiliating. DOE Reminder of Responsibilities Letter, supra.
Overall, students with disabilities are less popular, have fewer friends, and struggle more with loneliness and peer rejection, increasing the likelihood they will become the victim of bullying. Carter,supra, at 12-21 (noting a study that indicated child with even mild learning disorder had fewer friends and another that indicated those who are bullied are more likely to be alone at play time); Young,supra, at 74 ("Many students with disabilities have significant social skills challenges, either as a core trait of their disability or as a result of social isolation due to segregated environments and/or peer rejection. Such students may be at particular risk for bullying and victimization."). Students who suffer from learning disabilities and emotional disorders often lack social awareness, which makes them more vulnerable. Carter, supra, at 12. Other research concludes that disabled students themselves are more likely to perpetuate bullying behavior in response to being bullied. Swearer, supra, at 4.
Despite an increased focus in recent years on instructing special education students in general education classrooms, there has not been a corresponding concern about the way these children integrate socially in the classroom. Carter, supra, at 11. Without healthy social interaction, students with disabilities become targets of harassment.
One study found that four factors were predictive of a student being bullied: 1) receiving extra help in school; 2) being alone at playtime; 3) having fewer than two friends; and 4) being male. Id. at 14. While disabled students often receive extra help, they sometimes struggle to make friends. In one study, learning disabled children reported that they were threatened, assaulted, or had their possessions taken away from them with greater frequency than non-learning disabled students. Id. at 18.
Some states have recognized that students who suffer from a learning disability are at a greater risk for bullying than their non-disabled peers and that IEPs should take this into account. In passing a comprehensive law dealing with school bullying, Massachusetts recently adopted the following requirement:
Whenever the evaluation of the Individualized Education Program team indicates that the child has a disability that affects social skills development or that the child is vulnerable to bullying, harassment or teasing because of the child's disability, the Individualized Education Program shall address the skills 
[ 779 F.Supp.2d 304 ]

and proficiencies needed to avoid and respond to bullying, harassment or teasing.
Mass. Senate No. 2404 (2010) (emphasis added).
Massachusetts Advocates for Children sought to determine how often children along the autism spectrum are harassed at school. Eighty-eight percent of those parents who responded indicated their child was bullied while at school. Massachusetts Advocates for Children, Targeted, Taunted, Tormented: the Bullying of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder 2 (2009), available athttp://www.massadvocates.org/documents/Bullying-Report.pdf. (finding that verbal harassment was the most common form reported at 88.7 percent).

#specialEducationLaw #bullying

Monday, November 17, 2014

Weekly Question!

We are continuing our series on bullying of kids with disabilities. What else should school districts do to prevent the serious problem of bullying?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Lessons From The Tri-State Conference: The Third Rail - Part I

I was honored to be asked to present again this year at the Tri-State Special Education Law Conference last week in Omaha. The conference is a joint effort of the Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas Departments of Education and TAESE. It was nice to catch up with old friends and to meet new ones.  My session was about bullying and other hot button issues.  The participants were very engaged and provided lots of good comments and questions. The session went very well.

One theme that was emerging at the conference is consistent with a point that we have made here.  We have often said here that there is a "third rail" of special education law in that courts and hearing officers seem to be more likely to rule against a party where the party has behaved unreasonably or in bad faith.  We will explore this point in more detail in Part II, but I felt that it was interesting that a number of speakers, including both of the keynote speakers who shared year in review duties, noted some variation of this theme.  Jim Walsh, for example, noted that courts and hearing officers seem to be looking more and more at the relative reasonableness of the parties.    Also Julie Weatherly described what she called "RS" cases, ie, really stupid cases.  The point also came up during my session. I suppose that this is really a variation of the old saw - good facts make good law. But it was interesting to hear this theme echoed in many places at this conference. These conferences are invaluable as windows to the world of special education law.

#specialeducationlaw, #ThirdRail


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Breaking: The Feds Issue Guidance on Meeting The Effective Communication Needs of Students With Disabilities

English: United States Department of Justice L...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)













Today, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, together with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, issued joint guidance about the rights of public elementary and secondary students with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities to effective communication. The guidance  is intended to help schools understand and comply with federal legal requirements on meeting the communication needs of students with disabilities. 

The guidance consists of the following documents which are linked here: a Dear Colleague Letter and an attachment with frequently asked questions and answers.  The agencies also provide a quick reference fact sheet.

The guidance covers when auxiliary aids and services must be provided and concludes with dispute resolution mechanisms available if parents disagree with school decisions.

If you have a child with hearing speech or vision disabilities or if your district provides services to these children, you should carefully review these documents. #specialeducationlaw