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New York Education Law Blog

Lawsuit: Bronx denying students' rightful disability services

Two families of students attending schools in the Bronx have joined with a nonprofit in filing a federal lawsuit against the New York City Department of Education. They claim that NYC schools, especially those in the Bronx, aren't doing enough to ensure that children with disabilities get the support services they are entitled to by law.

They cite the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which requires all students to be provided with a free, appropriate public education, which includes what are called "related services" -- occupational or speech therapy, tutoring, counseling and the like. They also cite the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination and requires schools and other places of public accommodation to be fully accessible to people with disabilities.

DOE: Less than half of states meeting special ed obligations

In an annual review this summer, the U.S. Department of Education found that only 22 states could be awarded the "meets requirements" designation for providing all services required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA.

The IDEA is our nation's premier law guaranteeing special education. More specifically, it requires public schools to provide a free and appropriate education to every student, regardless of disability.

Education Dept. to reduce school civil rights investigations

Under the leadership of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Department of Education will be scaling back the scope and number of its civil rights investigations into public schools and universities. In part, this is in response to Obama-era mandates said to have bogged down the department.

The acting head of the agency's civil rights office issued an internal memo with the changes. The Obama Administration had required investigators to broaden all inquiries to include the identification of systemic issues and ensure all classes of victims are known. It also required regional offices to alert agency higher-ups when receiving complaints regarding race-based, disproportionate discipline and campus sexual assaults.

AngelSense safety devices may violate privacy, broadcast consent

It's relatively common among kids along the autism spectrum to wander off from school. It's also pretty common for kids with autism to have difficulty sharing the details of their school day with Mom and Dad.

A new GPS-based technology could have a role to play in helping parents feel comfortable that their children are safely at school. The AngelSense device allows GPS tracking, so if a child wanders down the street, he or she can be easily found. It also contains a listening device, which could allow parents to monitor their child's experiences at school.

What services must public schools provide for disabled students?

New York City’s department of education is under scrutiny for alleged information mismanagement issues, particularly regarding specialized educational services.

Specifically, a federal law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, requires school districts to provide a comparable education to disabled students. That standard is called a free and appropriate public education, or FAPE. If the normal classroom environment is insufficient, the school district is obligated to provide the comparable amount of specialized educational services needed to bridge the gap. Services may include speech or physical therapy, individualized instruction, or other services.

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