September 28, 2008
Complaints Bring About Special-Ed Compromise
By LAUREN ROTH
By Lauren Roth
After an outcry from parents, educators and advocates distressed about planned changes to special education, the state Board of Education approved a compromise set of regulations Thursday in Richmond.
The regulations restore parental control over ending special- education services for a child. They keep oversight of the due process system with the Supreme Court of Virginia, rather than with the Department of Education, as had been proposed.
Some advocates for disabled children said students and their families will lose some rights.
"This would be a tremendous backsliding on the rights of students with disabilities," said Maureen Hollowell, director of advocacy and services for the Endependence Center in Norfolk. She said she hopes the governor does not approve the changes .
Parents and children are losing rights in the areas of discipline, appeals and annual goals, she said. There are 26,000 special-education students in South Hampton Roads and 172,000 statewide.
Short-term goals no longer will be required as part of the Individualized Education Programs for most disabled students. Also, schools won't be required to analyze the reason behind a disabled student's misbehavior unless the child is taken out of school for an extended period of time.
"That doesn't make sense," said JoAnna Bryant, president of the Tidewater Autism Society of America. "That's setting up a cycle for that student to repeatedly fail."
Ella P. Ward, vice president of the Board of Education, said the approved regulations are reasonable.
"The board did listen," she said. "The major concerns from the majority of parents were addressed."
The board received more than 38,000 comments from 1,940 individuals and groups, most of them critical, during a 60-day comment period over the spring.
Lauren Roth, (757) 222-5133, [email protected]
The regulations restore parental control over ending special education for a child. They keep oversight of the due process system with the Supreme Court of Virginia. An advocate said parents and children are losing rights in areas of discipline, appeals and annual goals.
Originally published by BY LAUREN ROTH.
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