Posted on June 29, 2012 by randychapman
Parents Concerns Regarding Siblings Immune Deficiency did Not Require School to Provide Homebound Placement
Posted on June 18, 2012 by randychapman
In Stamps ex. rel. H.S.,S.S, and J.S v Gwinnett County Sch Dist., 112 LRP 28567 (11th Cir. 06/04/12 unpublished), the parents of three siblings with genetic conditions, neurological disorders, and an unspecified immune deficiency were unsuccessful in requiring the school district to provide a homebound program (in-home IDEA services) as opposed to a school-based placement.
The parents of the three siblings had concerns that the children were at a significant risk of infection if they attended an in-school program. Thus, they requested that the children’s IDEA services be provided in their home. The school district disagreed and the issue was heard by an administrative law judge (ALJ). At the hearing the ALJ heard testimony from the family’s pediatrician as well as an expert in pediatric infectious diseases.
The family’s pediatrician testified that the children’s immune deficiencies did not require preventive treatment, they would improve with age and, in fact, the children had not been sick in several years. The expert in pediatric infectious diseases (who reviewed the children’s medical records and spoke with their pediatrician) testified that the children would have the same probability of getting sick as other children and they did not require any restrictions in their socialization activities, whether going to school or other community functions. The ALJ ruled for the school district and the decision was later affirmed in an unpublished opinion by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
As is generally the case, this decision is based on the specific facts. Here, there was expert testimony that these three children did not have a greater risk of infection than other children and their medical condition did not require social restrictions. Moreover, the school district has an affirmative obligation to place children with disabilities in the least restrictive environment-meaning to the maximum extent appropriate students with disabilities should attend classes along side students without disabilities. The parents in this case had the best of intentions, but were seeking a very restrictive placement for their children. Thus, the court determined that the evidence presented at the due process hearing did not establish that the children needed homebound services in order to receive a free appropriate public education. If the medical evidence had established that attending school and other community activities exposed the children to a greater risk of infection, the school district may have been required to provide services in the home.
Charter School Violated 504 by Requiring Student with Diabetes to Have a Family Member Attend Afterschool Softball Game
Posted on June 5, 2012 by randychapman
In Academy of Waterford (MI) 112 LRP 15747 (OCR 2011) the staff at Academy of Waterford, a public charter school in Michigan, violated 504 when it told the parent of 10 year-year-old with diabetes that he must be accompanied by family members if he wished to participate in an afterschool softball game. The charter school staff were concerned that there were not staff available to supervise the student’s administration of insulin. Additionally, the charter school participated in “Camp Exposure,” an out-of-town educational field trip. The “Camp Exposure” program specifically barred students with diabetes from participating in the camp unless the students could take care of their own injections without supervision. Apparently, “Camp Exposure” was not concerned with exposing students with diabetes to its program. The camp counselor explained that “diabetes” is a “red flag” to follow-up with students because the program’s counselors were not trained. Technically, the camp was separate from the charter school, but, by coincidence, it was managed by the school’s charter management company.
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) investigated the parent’s complaint and determined the charter school had denied the student the equal opportunity to participate in afterschool and extracurricular activities that it offered students without disabilities. Unlike this student’s family, the parents of students without disabilities were not required to attend afterschool activities with their children. Additionally, the public charter school violated 504 by participating in Camp Exposure, a program which denies students with certain disabilities the opportunity to participate in the camp’s program. Camp Exposure had a policy of denying participation to students with diabetes who could not administer their own insulin injections. Academy of Waterford, the charter school program, had an arrangement with the charter management company’s camp. Since the camp categorically excluded students with disabilities requiring medical services, the Academy is violating 504 by having a contractual or other arrangement with a company that discriminates against students with disabilities.
Manifestation Determination (MD) Review is Not a Hearing and Parents Must Have Input into Makeup of the MD Team.
Posted on June 4, 2012 by randychapman