Breaking: New 20 Year Study on Effects of Bullying

English: Image for mental health stubs, uses t...
English: Image for mental health stubs, uses two psych images - psychiatry (medicine) and psychology (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bullying of children with disabilities continues to be the hot button issue in special education law. The Special Education Law Blog has previously run an in depth series of posts on bullying of children with disabilities.  Here is the index to that series.

Recent news concerning the effects of bullying on children in general provides more insight into the harmful effects of this nasty phenomenon. The effects may be worse than previously suspected.

In breaking news, a study was released last week that followed children who were bullied or were bullies or both for a period of twenty years. The study by William E. Copeland, PhD; Dieter Wolke, PhD; Adrian Angold, MRCPsych; E. Jane Costello, PhD was published in the JAMA Psychiatry Journal and can be reviewed here. A summary by can be read here.

The study found that bullied children grow into adults who are at increased risk of developing anxiety disorders, depression and suicidal thoughts. Those who were both bullies and victims had higher levels of all anxiety and depressive disorders, plus the highest levels of suicidal thoughts, depressive disorders, generalized anxiety and panic disorder. Bullies were also at increased risk for antisocial personality disorder.

What are your thoughts?
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Special Education Law 101 - Index to Series

Index to Special Education 101 Series

Special needs education transport services in ...Image via Wikipedia

A reader once suggested that I provide an index wen I run a series. I agreed that this is an excellent idea, and I try to add one at the end of our series. Here is the index for the Special Education Law 101 series which recently concluded.  Clicking on the name of a particular post in the series will bring you to the actual post.

Here goes :

Part I Sources of Law September 10, 2012

Part II FAPE September 18, 2012

Part III FAPE continued September 26, 2012

Part VI IEP Issues October 20, 2012

Part VII Related Services October 26, 2012

Part VIII  Transition November 2, 2012

Part IX Discipline   November 16, 2012

Part X Unilateral Placements November 6, 2012 

Part XII Stay Put   December 12, 2012

Part XV Burden of Persuasion  February 1, 2013

Part XVI: Hearing Procedures I  February 6, 2013

Part XVII Hearing Procedures II  February 13, 2013

We hope that you enjoyed the series! 

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Sequestration Kills!

Sequestration - How Would it Impact the Everyd...
Sequestration - How Would it Impact the Everyday Lives of Americans? (Photo credit: Third Way)

How's that for a post title!

Sequestration is Washingtospeak for the automatic across the board spending cuts that are so extremely draconian that Congress thought they would force the combatants (formerly known as representatives of the public) to compromise on deficit reduction.  They have a deceptive name for everything, don't they?

Unfortunately, these folks don't know the meaning of compromise.  So in ten days we face the Great Sequester.  Remember the fiscal's back!

Here is what the White House says will happen if sequestration occurs.  Here is the warning from our friends at the Council for Exceptional Children.  

Contact your congressman and senators.  Tell them not to let sequestration happen!
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Mental Health in Schools Act

Al Franken
Al Franken (Photo credit: jpellgen)

A bill was introduced in Congress last week that would provide mental health services to students in public schools. The bill would provide funding for increased mental health services and more therapists for students with emotional or mental health issues. Readers who feel that students with these disabilities should have more services of this type available in public schools should alert their congressional representatives that they favor the bill.

Here is a press release about Sen. Al Franken's bill. Here is a press release about Rep. Napolitano's house bill.
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Special Education Law 101 - Part XVII Hearing Procedures

English: Device for entering judgments at a gr...
English: Device for entering judgments at a group decision making session using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the final post in a  series of posts comprising an introduction to special education law.  This series is meant to be an introduction for newbies and a refresher course for more experienced readers. 

Today's post concerns some additional unusual procedural issues in due process hearings:
   Resolution Session
IDEA provides provides that where a parent requests a due process hearing, the school district must convene a resolution session within 15 days of receipt.  The school district may not bring their lawyer unless the parent does so. An agreement resulting from a resolution session is legally binding and enforceable in court, but either party may void such an agreement within 3 business days. The federal regulations provide that if a parent does not participate in the resolution session the district may request that the HO dismiss the complaint.
IDEA, § 615 (f)(1)(B); 34 C.F.R. § 300.510.

IDEA, § 615(h)(2); 34 C.F.R. § 300.512(a)(2

IDEA, § 615(h)(1); 34 C.F.R. § 300.512(a)(1).

        Other procedures
IDEA, § 615(h)(3); 34 C.F.R. §       300.512(a)(4)&(5) and 300.512(c)(1)-(3).

       45 day Rule/ Deadline for Decision
The hearing officer’s decision is due within 45 days after the conclusion of the 30 day resolution period, subject to various possible adjustments and extensions if granted by the hearing officer.
34 C.F.R. § 300.511(e) and (f).

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Acronyms & Special Education - An Ethical Issue? - Postscript

English: A special education teacher assists o...
English: A special education teacher assists one of her students. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few weeks back we ran a post about the overuse of acronyms in special education.  There has been a lot of interesting feedback.

The post was inspired by a footnote written by a Judge in a special education case.  He said in K.O. v. New York City Department of Education 60 IDELR 102, n.1 (SDNY 01/26/2012)Unfortunately, '[t]his opinion, dealing as it does with the IDEA and practices thereunder, is replete with acronyms.' M.H. v. N.Y.C. Dep't of Educ. (M.H. II), 685 F.3d 217, 223 n.l (2d Cir. 2012). One suspects that regulators and bureaucrats love such jargon because it makes even simple matters cognizable only to the cognoscenti and thus enhances their power at the expense of people who only know English. Nevertheless, acronyms have so invaded IDEA practice that this judge, like others before him, is pretty much stuck with having to use them."   

You can see the entire post here.

The responses generally agree that we overuse acronyms.  Where the disagreement occurs is the question of whether this is an ethical issue.  I'd be interested in your thoughts.  This issue may have some traction!

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Special Education Law 101 - Part XVI: Hearing Procedures

Caricature of Leonard Courtney MP, 1832-1918. ...
Image via Wikipedia

This is another in a  series of posts comprising an introduction to special education law.  This series is meant to be an introduction for newbies and a refresher course for more experienced readers.  Please let us know what you think about the series.

Today's post and the next post concern some unusual procedural issues in due process hearings.  The due process hearing is the administrative law equivalent of a trial in a civil action.

A.   Hearing Procedures

1.    5 day Disclosure Rule
This rule provides that where a party does not disclose its evidence (generally at least an exchange of exhibits and list of witnesses) at least five business days prior to the due process hearing, such evidence may not be admitted.
34 C.F.R. § 300.512(a)(3), & (b)(1)-(2); IDEA, § 615(f)(2) (evaluations only).

 (Most hearing officers do not like the technicality nature of the 5 day rule.  Most will enforce if a continuance or other procedural maneuver will not cure it.)

2.    Sufficiency of Due Process Complaint
The reauthorized statute provides that a party receiving a due process complaint may challenge the sufficiency of the complaint within 15 days of receipt.  The due process hearing officer must make a determination on the face of the complaint (and notice) concerning sufficiency within 5 days.
IDEA, § 615 (c)(2); 34 C.F.R. § 300.508 (d). 

(Most  courts have imposed a relatively deferential standard for sufficiency.  See,  Anello v. Indian River Sch Dist 107 LRP 7179 (Del. Family Ct. 1/192007)

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Special Education Law 101 - Part XV Burden of Persuasion

This is another in a periodic series on the nuts and bolts of special education law.  The series is intended as an overview of key concepts for beginners and a review for those readers who have been around the block.

The citations for information about due process hearings are:IDEA, § 615(f); 34 C.F.R. § 300.507 to .515

Concerning the burden of persuasion at due process hearings...

Schaffer v. Weast 546 U.S. 49, 126 S.Ct. 528, 44 IDELR 150 (2005). The Court held that the burden of persuasion in an IDEA due process hearing is upon the party challenging the IEP.  The “burden of persuasion” involves which party loses if the evidence is closely balanced.  In any civil legal proceeding, if the evidence for both sides is equal, the party with the burden of persuasion loses.  The Court exempted from its decision, however, the burden of persuasion applicable in those states that have laws or regulations placing the burden upon the school district. Note that the burden of persuasion is not the same as the burden of going forward, which concerns which party goes first in presenting evidence.  To increase confusion, both the burden of persuasion and the burden of going forward are loosely referred to as "burden of proof" in legal circles.  (I'm not sure why!)

Concerning the IDEA due process hearing process, the Court in Weast noted that such hearings are deliberately informal.  The Court went on to note that the IDEA due process hearing was set up by Congress with the intention of giving the hearing officers the flexibility they need to ensure that each side can fairly present its evidence.

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