Friday, February 3, 2012
Bullying of Kids With Disabilities - Part I
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Bullying is a real problem in our society. Bullies often take advantage of those whom they perceive as weaker. The Columbine tragedy brought the problem to a higher level of public awareness, but the problem persists.
Kids with disabilities are often singled out by bullies. This has become one of the hottest of hot button issues in special education law. Several laws could be implicated, but my focus here will be upon whether bullying can constitute a violation of IDEA.
In the next installments, I'll discuss a well-reasoned recent decision, but first some background on the legal foundations for this analysis:
In the seminal decision by the Third Circuit in Shore Regional High Sch. Bd. of Educ. v. P.S. 381 F.3d 194, 41 IDELR 234 (3d Cir. 8/30/2004) recognized that bullying could prevent educational benefit, and a school district’s failure to respond could constitute a denial of FAPE. See also, Gagliardo v. Arlington Central Sch Dist 489 F.3d 105, 48 IDELR 1 (2d Cir. 5/30/2007).
Shortly, thereafter the Second Circuit ruled that a student with a disability cannot receive educational benefit or FAPE if he is not in a safe environment. Lillbask ex rel Mauclaire v. State of Connecticut Dept. of Educ. 397 F.3d 77, 42 IDELR 230 (2d Cir. 2/2/2005).
These cases provide the analytical foundation.