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Ask the Attorney / Ask the Advocate: Special Education Q and A

  

Ask the Attorney with John Brower & Calvin Luker - click here for this option

attorney - A professional person authorized to practice law; conducts lawsuits or gives legal advice.  One whose profession is to give legal advice and assistance to clients and represent them in court or in other legal matters. 
 

Ask the Advocate: Special Ed Q and A - click here for this option.

advocate - To speak, plead, or argue in favor of. One who pleads the cause of another.

 

Click here for a list of Michigan Special Ed Advocates & Attorneys.

 

Teaching a Child to Read: Special Ed or Reading First?
by Suzanne Heath, November 3, 2004, WrightsLaw
http://www.wrightslaw.com/heath/reading.strategies.htm
My son is in 2nd grade and receives special education for reading. He just got a progress report with an F in reading even though he gets this extra help in special ed.
 
Double-Dipping? Are Kids with Disabilities Barred from Title I Reading Programs?
November 3, 2004, WrightsLaw
http://www.wrightslaw.com/nclb/faqs/title1.doubledip.htm
I work as a speech therapist for a public school system in Virginia. We have been told that students may not have Title I reading resource and special ed goals in reading because this is "double-dipping" into federal monies. Is this true?
 Ask the Attorney with John Brower

 

question mark Special Education Law Questions and Answers by John Brower, J.D. & Calvin Lukerquestion mark

question mark Submit A Question to our Attorneysquestion mark

 

You can now submit a question to John Brower, J.D., Professor of Education Law and managing partner of the Education Law Center <www.michedlawcenter.com>, who also regularly represents parents of disabled children via the Law Office of John Brower - Brighton, MI.  For more information about John, click here

 

 Special Education Law Questions and Answers

 
Important notice:  The responses provided are protected by law, and may not be copied or otherwise reproduced without express written permission of John F. Brower, J.D.

 

Question: I understand that my school district is in the process of amending its IEP form. As part of that process it has decided to remove the box from the form that says: Disagree with IEP and Request a Due Process Hearing”. When I asked about this, I was told that the decision was made as a result of the 2004 amendments to IDEA. Can the school do this? What about my rights to “stay put”?

 

Answer: Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: We are currently in the process of creating a 504 plan for our son, who is in first grade and has a severe peanut/nut allergy. If he comes into contact with peanuts he is at high risk for anaphylaxis. Washing hands will not work because of the residue left on the faucets.  I was told by the principal at the beginning of the school year that, in order to have the children wipe their hands, we had to supply the wipes and I needed to come to school each day to pass the wipes out. Despite our efforts, he has had two contact reactions at school this year. The expense of the wipes and taking the time to come to school each day is becoming a real burden. Can the school refuse to supply the wipes and make us come in every day?

 

Answer: Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: Last week my child’s IEP Team met to create a new IEP. I disagree with the IEP, what are my options?

 

Answer: Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: Each year I get a note from my children’s school with a list of supplies that I am supposed to purchase.  This year on this list are: five pencils, one big pink eraser, one set of Crayola colored pencils (12 pack or larger), one Elmer’s Glue Stick, on Fiscar’s brand “student scissors”, a pencil box for the pencils, one spiral notebook (wide rule), two pocket folders, one box of Kleenex, one backpack with no wheels, and finally, three boxes of flashcards; one each for addition, subtraction, and multiplication.  I don't understand why I am required to buy all these items when I already pay taxes?  

 

Answer: Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: We have requested an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) at public expense stating that "we disagree with and found inadequate" the school districts evaluation.  The Director wants us to tell him why and which evaluation (we had two) that we found to be inadequate and which we disagree with and why.  How should I respond?

 

Answer: Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: Last year, when I saw my child’s record folder it was about 1˝" thick. This year I requested copies of all his records, and at best the file is less than ˝” thick. I suspect a lot of records have been destroyed or moved. I have also requested that I be given copies of all of my child’s records and they wish to charge me a fee for the copies. What can I do?

 

Answer: Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: The use of seclusion and restraint in school settings is a hot issue. If a school or school district does not have a formal policy, should school staff continue to use physical restraints methods if necessary and listed in the student's IEP or should this practice be stopped until a formal seclusion and restraint policy is written and training is provided to the staff?

 

Answer: Click here to see Calvin's Answer.

 

Question: My child has been found eligible for special education services under the new Autism Spectrum Disorder category (ASD - R 340.1758). Does not my child now have the right to enroll in a public school for Autism? When I asked that he be enrolled in an autism program I was told that since he was qualified for ASD eligibility due to a medical diagnosis of PDD-NOS (Pervasive Development Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified) he does not have "autism" and therefore is not eligible for an autism program.

 

Answer: Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: My daughter is two years old and has just been diagnosed with autism. When she turns three my school district wants to put her in a PPI class. I think they want this program, as they do not have an autism classroom for pre-school students in my district. I would like her services to be started now. I would also like an autism classroom because the class size is smaller and there is more support staff. Can I request that these services start now? What about having her bussed to an autistic classroom in another school district? Can I insist that she has a 1:1 paraprofessional assigned to work more closely with her?

 

Answer: Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: I have a child with a disability who has "behavior" issues at school. Does IDEA 2004 change the behavior and discipline laws that we're used to? If yes, what's new or different from the old IDEA?
 

Answer: Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: My child attends a non-public K-12 school. What can I expect the private school to provide my disabled son? What about the local public school?

 

Answer: Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: Our child is a special education student and recently received a failing grade on his 4-week progress report. Now we are told that our child has been declared ineligible for any athletic competition until the next marking period. Isn’t this illegal?
   

Answer: Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: Our child currently has a §504 Plan. We feel that our child requires Occupational Therapy (OT) and Speech-Language (S/L) services. Can these services be provided to our daughter under her 504 Plan?

 

Answer: Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: Our child is a student with high functioning autism. After attempts to mainstream our child that were not very successful, we agreed to a change in placement to a self-contained classroom for emotionally impaired children. Our decision was based entirely on the classroom teacher, who we knew to be very experienced and had taught children with autism. Two weeks before school started, the teacher left. Now we have a teacher with no experience and no supports in place for my son. What can we do?

 

Answer: Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: My son has ADD, and while not severe enough to be eligible under IDEA, it has been determined that he is eligible for accommodations and modifications under §504.  For right now, we agree with that decision.  However, when we ask for different classroom accommodations and program modifications the school people tell us we are not being “reasonable”, and under 504 law all they are required to be is make “reasonable” accommodations and modifications.  From what I can tell their definition of “reasonable” has to do with cost, how it will impact the teachers workload, and that some of our requests (tape recorder, etc.) may conflict with some parts of the teacher’s union contract.  Are they correct?

 

Answer: Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: My non-disabled child's classroom has been evacuated nine times in three quarters due to violent outbursts of a special education student.  The special education student also uses profane language on a daily basis.  He has also injured students.  I am told that his IEP Team has determined he is not a threat and the disruption is acceptable.  The Administration, so far, is standing behind the IEP Team and IDEA.  My question is - do non-disabled students have any rights in this situation?
   

Answer: Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: Is my disabled child subject to high stakes testing?
 

Answer: Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: My child is non-verbal and has fine motor deficits. Since she entered the school system the primary IEP goal has been to develop her ability to communicate using a dynamic display augmentative communication device. This device will give her the ability to some day move beyond completely and limited scripted choices. My child is now 11 years old and in fifth grade, yet no progress has been made on this goal. In my opinion, the reason that there has been no progress is that she does not have her own dynamic display device, either in school or at home to reinforce what she would learn in school. I have given the speech therapist information on how school systems can obtain such devices for short-term loans, but no effort has been made to do so. At times, she has been given sporadic access to a device belonging to other children in the class, but this has been rare. She is enrolled in a POHI class. There has also been a lack of expertise/training for the speech therapists employed by the school system on using augmentative communication. What options do I have to make sure the school system provides her with the appropriate device and staff training to achieve this goal?

 

Answer: Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: My child is a special education student. Last week he was tied to his chair and came home from school with bruises on his arms and his neck. What should I do?
   

Answer: Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: My question is how do I get the school district to pay for my learning disabled son to go to a private school, when he is not making progress at the school he is in?

 

Answer:  Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: My son is 6 years old and in the 1st grade and attends a public charter school. I am having a battle with his school. He was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD. He has been suspended 7 times this school year. Almost every day from November thru the end of December, he has spent at least 1 hour in in-school detention. I have been called several times to pick my son up from school. The school policy is if he misbehaves, he is suspended from school, or I have to pick him up from school. I have asked for 504 accommodations and I get the same answer if he misbehave then there are consequences and he will be sent home. Is there anything that I can do legally about this situation?

 

Answer:  Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: My question is in regards to a high school special needs child. My child would love to take choir at the high school she attends. However, whenever we ask about the class, they say it is a "very competitive" class. I take this as code for really meaning that she would bring down the level of their success. Do I have a right to insist she belong? Finding classes to help her mainstream outside of the special education classroom is getting exceedingly difficult.

  

Answer:  Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: The local school district recently certified my children as learning disabled. In my opinion, my children do not require direct special education instruction or support services. What they do require is just a few basic accommodations to be successful in a regular education setting. That would include such accommodations as extended time on testing, extended due dates on written assignments, etc. The school district has refused to create a §504 Plan, and will not even meet with me to discuss §504. They tell me that as my children are eligible for special education that all services and accommodations must come to them via their IEP. My question is “are my children entitled to separate §504 plans?”
 
 

Answer:  Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: My son was kicked out of a Charter School for his behavior. I home school him now, but he has been diagnosed with ADHD and the special needs are too much for me. I want to get him back into school, but I know he needs a 504 plan in order for him to be successful. What options do I have?
 

Answer:  Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: My child was a special education student in one district and we moved to another district. The new district where we live refuses to give us the same services that the old district gave us. What can I do?

 

Answer:  Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: My child is a special education student and in a full day Kindergarten program where one-half of the day is spent in a day care program operated by the school district. The day care program is now refusing to allow my child to attend their program claiming that my child must be fully toilet trained. Can they do this?

 

Answer:  Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: What are the requirements for a child to attend school? How many hours must a school day consist of?

 

Answer:  Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: We have requested an independent educational evaluation and the school district has agreed to the doctor we have chosen. The district says it will pay up to $1000-1200 of whatever our private insurance doesn't cover. I thought that the IEE was supposed to be at public expense. Do I have to use my insurance?

 

Answer:  Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: What is the timeline in the Michigan for a re-evaluation (not initial evaluation) to take place? In addition, should I receive copies of all evaluation reports before the IEP meeting?

 

Answer:  Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: Is it possible to have my son's school pay for social skills class from a private service provider?
 

Answer:  Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question:  My child is in the 8th grade and is and spends his day in a special education classroom with a full time "one-on-one aide ever since he was found eligible for special education services. Recently the school hired a new Director of Pupil Services who has stated that the school’s goal is to eliminate "one-on-one" aides and use one or more classroom aides. My child has some pretty big health issues. Can they take away his "one on one" aide?

 

Answer:  Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question:  My child is disabled and I believe that she needs one-on-one help in school.  The school is not providing the one-on-one help or other services I think she needs.  Last week the school my daughter goes to said that they couldn't handle her. I asked them if they could give her one-on-one help at school and they told me "No" so I said that I would home school her if they would help me. They said "yes" when I signed the papers and brought her home THEN they told me that they couldn't help and that I was on my own.
 

Answer:  Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: My son who attends a special and regular education classes at a public school where he is required to wear a school "uniform"? My son is very overweight and short due to growth hormone deficiency that requires his clothes to be specially tailored for him. He is also developmentally delayed, and he is legally blind. My question is – can a school force a student to wear a uniform?
 
Answer:
Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: I am a high school teacher. Recently I found out that a student's grade from last year has been changed without my consent. He failed the class because of lack of effort. The mom had him tested and found that he has an IQ of 89. She said the district was not meeting her son's needs. He does not qualify for special education. Does a district have the legal right to change my grade without my consent?

Answer: Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: I have just discovered that my child's Title I funded school has not complied with the parent involvement requirement since 1996. The principal wrote and disseminated a home/school compact on her own without ever holding a parent meeting or even consulting the PTO organization. Parent involvement in this school is virtually non-existent and clearly, the administration prefers it that way. What recourse do concerned parents have?

 

Answer:  Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question:  What can I do if an administrative complaint I made has been found valid but nothing has been done to address what my child lost due to the school not complying with IDEA?

 
Answer:  
Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question:  My child has been diagnosed with depression and is receiving medication and counseling. The school evaluated her and found her ineligible for special education under IDEA as they claimed that her impairment did not adversely affect her education. They never considered §504 eligibility and now at various web sites I see that she may be eligible for services and accommodations under that law. When I told the school this, they said "oh we have many students who are depressed and take medications and we do not do anything special for them". What should I do?

 
Answer:  Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question:  I am concerned that my child's teacher has not been trained in my child's specific disability and therefore has a difficult time understanding my child or implementing my child's IEP. What does the law require?

 

Answer:  Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question:  My son is deaf and uses assistive technology to assist his hearing. If the device is broken while at school who is financially responsible to repair or replace it?
 
Answer:  Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: My child has been found eligible for accommodations under §504 of the Rehabilitation Act for severe breathing problems related to asthma induced by various airborne allergens and chemicals. His §504 Plan calls for his classrooms to be sanitized daily and to be free of chemicals. This year I found out that before school started his room was chemically treated for an insect infestation and I was told not to bring my son to school for a week. They did offer home tutoring, which I refused. What can I do?
 

Answer:
 Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question: Our son is an elementary school student with autism (AI). Recently we went to an IEP meeting and discovered the school does not have a speech-language professional available to carry out the goals of the last IEP much less the one for next year. When I raised the issue with the special education director, she verbally told me that they are not going to write any goals for this school year when they know in advance that they do not have professional staff available to deliver the services. If the local school cannot fully service my child, I see no reason to send him to school.

 

John's Answer:  Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question:  I disagree with the proposed IEP. I expect to sign the form in disagreement and request a due process hearing to resolve the dispute. Until the hearing is resolved, I want to withdraw my child from her current school and place her in an alternative program. What are the ramifications of my action?

 

John's Answer:  Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question:  My child rides the bus to school. Is there something in the law that addresses what a 'reasonable' length of time is for a child with special needs to be on a bus? From your experience, how can a parent effectively deal with transportation issues, including being reimbursed for providing our own transportation?

 

John's Answer:  Click here to see John's Answer.

 

Question:  Are there attorneys who represent students/parents rights on a fee based on income and/or contingent on outcome? Our school district has on several occasions not provided services requested and included in the IEP. Thank you.

 

John's Answer:  Click here to see John's answer.

  

Question:  I am a parent of a child who has just been found eligible for special education services.  When I talk with other parents of special education students and with school officials they are always talking about the "law and rules".  What laws and rules are they referring to?  How do I become familiar with them?   NOTE:  This is a very complex set of questions that will be answered in a four-part weekly series.

 

John's Answer: Part 1:  Overview

Part 2:  The Federal Role

Part 3:  The State Role

Part 4:  The Local Role and Suggestions

Download all four parts in one document - pdf version

 

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 Submit a Question!

 

Please read the following section before submitting a question to our guest attorney, John Brower, J.D.

 

Usage Information

Questions submitted through this portion of the website are subject to the following:

 

1.  Questions submitted to our guest attorney may be used on this website for educational purposes.  If your question is used as a sample question, your name will be omitted and any identifying factors (such as location, school district, names of those involved, etc.) will be omitted to maintain privacy. The attorney will not be given any identifying information nor will he answer questions directly to anyone.  All answers will be provided via bridges4kids.  Personal information is for bridges4kids records/usage only.

 

2.  Not all questions and/or answers will be posted on the website.  You will either be a) notified that an answer has been posted to the website or b) sent an email from bridges4kids containing an answer to your question.

 

3.  We will choose the most relevant questions or those that apply to the widest audience for posting on this portion of the website.

 

4.  Upon submitting a question, we are assuming that you have read the disclaimer posted on this portion on the website.  Click here to read the disclaimer.  It is your responsibility to read the disclaimer. 

 

5.  Any questions about submitting a question or about our disclaimer may be directed to jackie@bridges4kids.org

 

6.  Please give as much information as you can while submitting your initial question.  Bear in mind that our attorney is not privy to your child's personal files nor has he had the usual consultation that normally takes place with his clients.  Therefore, the answers given will most likely not completely and accurately reflect your exact situation.  Remember, questions have been edited to insure that the responses are applicable to a wide audience. The answers may or may not reflect the current law, or the application of that law in any particular jurisdiction. As in any legal process, the outcome is not only dependent on the law and the applicable facts, but also on a number of other variables that can positively or negatively affect the outcome. Therefore, the answers provided are for educational purposes only, and do not act as a substitute for directly consulting with an attorney familiar with education law and practice.  

 

7.  We reserve the right to limit question submissions from any individual if questions become frivolous or if this free service is abused.  Thank you for understanding.

 

question mark Are you ready to submit a question? Click here to fill out the form.question mark  

 

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Disclaimer

 

The questions have been edited to insure that the responses are applicable to a wide audience. The answers may or may not reflect the current law, or the application of that law in any particular jurisdiction. As in any legal process, the outcome is not only dependent on the law and the applicable facts, but also on a number of other variables that can positively or negatively affect the outcome. Therefore, the answers provided are for educational purposes only, and do not act as a substitute for directly consulting with an attorney familiar with education law and practice.  

 

The responses provided are protected by law, and may not be copied or otherwise reproduced without express written permission of John F. Brower, J.D..

 

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Select List of Michigan Special Ed Advocates & Attorneys

This list is provided solely for informational purposes. Bridges4Kids does not endorse the individuals listed and makes no representation that they will be appropriate for your situation. For those (including organizations) who wish to be included in this list, please submit your request to deb@bridges4kids.org. Bridges4Kids reserves the right to reject submissions for any reason.

 

Athens, Laura

(248) 661-0801

Attorney

Fee

 

Bonetti, Bobbi

Advocate

Free

Limited to clientele in the Upper Peninsula.

 

Brower, John

(810) 227-9797

Attorney

Fee

 

Dutton-Johnson, Marsha

Attorney

Fee

 

Hakola, Stew

Attorney

Fee

 

Johnson, Celeste

Advocate

Free

Limited to deaf and hard-of-hearing clientele.

 

Rick Landau
(734) 214-7669

Attorney

Fee

 

Lester, James
(888) 767-3449
Attorney
Fee

  

Love, Karry

Attorney

Fee

 

Luker, Calvin

Attorney

Fee

 

Luker, Patricia

Advocate

Fee

 

Piatkowski, Chris

Attorney

Fee

 

Richardson, Anne and Deb Calandrino

Advocates

Free

Arc of Livingston family advocates; Limited to Livingston County residents.

 

Shrum, Heidi C.
(248) 526-0088
Advocate/Consultant
Fee

   

Tri-County Advocates

A service of the Arc Michigan. Provides advocacy services for Ingham, Eaton, and Clinton counties for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Call 517-484-3068 for more information.

 

Tuck, Marsha

(248) 652-9388

Attorney

Fee

 

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