Question: My child receives transportation services on his IEP. His bus ride takes an hour, sometimes more. It's really hard for him to spend so much time on the bus, and I think it affects his ability to learn when he gets to school. What can I do?
Answer: In Massachusetts, your child can only be on the bus for an hour, unless the IEP Team decides a longer bus ride is ok. 603 CMR 28.05 (8)(a). In this case, it seems like a longer bus ride is affecting your child's right to a Free Appropriate Public Education. Notify the school and the bus company (in writing) about your concerns. Keep track of how long your child is on the bus each day. Request an IEP meeting to discuss your son's transportation. If the problem persists, contact a special education lawyer for help.
If you are concerned about your child's special education supports and services, contact the Boston area Law Office of Lillian E. Wong today.
Settlement of special education disputes can be a good thing. Most of my hearing requests are resolved this way. But there are dangers. I receive many calls from parents who are asked to waive their child's stay-put, transportation and transition rights in settlement agreements. I have even heard of parents being asked to waive their child's right to a Free Appropriate Public Education! What's worse, hearing officers and courts are upholding these agreements.
Your child's rights under IDEA are there for a reason - your child needs them. If you chose to proceed to a hearing in lieu of a settlement, a hearing officer would never order you to forgo these rights. It is a wise investment to have an experienced special education attorney review your settlement contract and make sure you are not waiving these and other critical rights.
If you are looking for a special education lawyer in Massachusetts, contact Boston area attorney Lillian E. Wong today.
The traditional school year is coming to an end, but for parents advocating for their children in special education this time of year provides its own particular challenges. Here are some things all parents should be thinking about this time of year.
Consider Extended School Year Services
If your child's skills will regress during the summer months that child is entitled to be educated during the summer. This is called extended school year or ESY for short. Like free appropriate public education in general, extended school year programming still must occur in the least restrictive environment. Schools must also provide transportation if the student qualifies for transportation during the regular school year.
Schedule an Independent Evaluation
The summer is a good time to have your child seen by an independent evaluator. It can take a long time to obtain an appointment, the evaluations themselves can last for days, and then it takes a while for the evaluator to create his or her report. Read more about why evaluations are important here.
Resolve IEP Disagreements
Summer is also a good time to resolve disagreements with the school. Perhaps you partially accepted an IEP during the school year. Use the summer to resolve issues with the school, whether informally, through mediation, or at a due process hearing. A special education attorney can help you assess the strength of your case and advise you on how to proceed.
Look Ahead to September
Will your child be switching schools? Switching teachers? Perhaps your child is leaving elementary school for middle school or middle school for high school. All these changes will affect your child's education. Review your child's IEP and consider how the goals and services may be altered by any of these changes. For example, a one-on-one aide may have been appropriate for your child in elementary school, but now that your child is entering middle school he may need to learn more independence and this service may not be necessary. Another possibility is that your child's new school does not have the appropriate placement for her, and you need to begin the process of out-of-district placement.
Keep an Eye on the Future
Summer is also a great time to reflect. What went well during the past academic year? What needs work? What are your goals for your child after high school? How is the IEP team working together to achieve these goals? Keeping these goals in mind will help you prepare for the year ahead and remind yourself why all your hard work is worth it.
This question was originally posted on www.avvo.com.
My 8yr old G-son has AD/HD,ODD,OCD & rides a school bus to & from school with other special need children.(7yrolds to13yrolds) There have been problems on this bus (say's the attendant reports) Like calling each other names, getting out of their seat, bouncing up and down in their seat, or just talking to another student 4seats away, some of which are petty things, some are safety issues (getting out of seat while bus is moving), but it seems my grandson is the 1who is getting wrote up, not the other child/children who are involved . Some of these kids ride this bus 7-10miles 1way to school, due to lack of Special Needs School/Education Teachers.
We asked that they transfer him to another bus, Transportation Say's No, because he will do the same thing on other buses! They don't know this, How could they know this, if they Don't TRY /Transfer him to another bus! 11 other kids on that bus. My Daughter has tried to solve this problem by contacted Dept of Ed, Head of Dept. Transp,Legal Aid, Dept of Disab.advoc.(which says this could take 30-to-90 days to resolve), if it gets resolved. Sch Principal says they will pay my daughter $14. ady to transpt.him,14miles round trip to/frm sch. thats just wrong of them to even ask her, when there's the NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND RULE/LAW! .Is there anyone who can point us in the right Direction to get help?
First, the most applicable law in your case is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and not No Child Left Behind.
Your child is covered by IDEA if he has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Because you refer to him being in special education, I'm assuming he does have an IEP.
Special education includes "related services" like transportation to and from school, for without transportation your child would not benefit from special education. See 20 U.S.C. §140 1(26). Simply stated: if your child can't get to school, he can't learn, if he isn't learning, the school is violating the law.
But the analysis doesn't stop there. The school has the right to punish your son if he misbehaves on the bus. However, if you believe your son's behavior is a result of his disability (e.g. ADHD causing poor impulse control) the school is required under IDEA to conduct a functional behavior analysis of your son and implement a behavior plan to help prevent and respond to your child's inappropriate conduct on the bus.
It is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education.
Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)
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Topsfield, MA 01983