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A Letter to the School Superintendents Association (AASA)

May 5, 2013 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

Dear AASA,

Recently you have published a report entitled; “Rethinking Special Education Due Process” which you claim is intended to spark a thoughtful, new dialogue about the need for critical changes to the special education dispute resolution system.  In reality what we have gotten is an attempt by your organization to use its influence to strip our children of their civil rights and their right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).  A report so blatantly disrespectful and bigoted that S. James Rosenfeld the Director of the National Academy for IDEA Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers has issued a response distancing himself from it:

I was asked to review and comment upon a January 2013 draft of the Report, probably because it cited quotes from my article "It's Time for an Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedure," 32-2 NAALJ 544-567 (Fall 2012) that were critical of many aspects of special education due process hearings. Those references were included in the final Report, which also listed me in acknowledging "the many people who have been involved in the development of this report."  Read the rest of this entry →

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by Jess

End Seclusion and Unnecessary, Dangerous Restraints in Schools. Our Children’s Lives Depend on It.

June 12, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Today, somewhere at a school near you, a child sits alone in a small, unvented room.  Maybe all day.  Sometimes in the dark.  Another has four adults sitting on their back; physically restrained for throwing noodles in the cafeteria.  Yet another is finally finished the school year, home for the summer, and afraid to go into his bedroom closet. His parents have no idea why.  And even more unthinkable and tragic, another child’s life may have just ended due to inappropriate and unnecessary restraint and seclusion used in school.

That’s abuse,” you say. We think so too.  “It can’t possibly happen in our schools.”  But it does, every day.  And according to the Office of Civil Rights, hundreds of thousands of times a year, disproportionately on students with disabilities. For example, recently reported OCR data indicates that of 131,990 instances of physical restraint tallied by the data collection in the 2009-2010 school year, 78.6%  involved students with disabilities, compared with 21% for other students. Yet just 12% of the students in the data set have disabilities.  Although seclusion and restraint are primarily associated with students eligible for special education, the data show those technique are used on all students.  Unfortunately, despite some progress at the state level, no federal law exists to protect all students from such abuse. Read the rest of this entry →

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