Office For Civil Rights Gives Stern Warning To Schools About Bullying Against Students With Disabilities @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @dwablog @TNJ_malbright @DeDeptofEd #netde #eduDE

The Office For Civil Rights division of the United States Department of Education wrote a colleague letter today about the rapid increase of bullying against students with disabilities.  The department has seen a huge rise in bullying reports since 2009 according to a report by Disability Scoop.  Even though they have written letters about this issue to US schools in the past, this new one gives more detail about what constitutes bullying against students with disabilities.

One part even suggests that even if a report rules that bullying did “not create a hostile environment” the school is still obligated to determine if a free and public education (FAPE) was violated under Section 504 and IDEA guidelines.

“When a student who receives IDEA FAPE services of Section 504 FAPE services has experienced bullying resulting in a disability-based harassment violation, however, there is a strong likelihood that the student was denied FAPE.  This is because when bullying is sufficiently serious to create a hostile environment and the school fails to respond appropriately, there is a strong likelihood both that the effects of the bullying included an impact on the student’s receipt of FAPE and that the school’s failure to remedy the effects of the bullying included it’s failure to address those FAPE-related concerns.

This ruling by the OCR also indicates a significant shift in how IEP or 504 teams must handle bullying issues.

“If the school suspects the student’s needs have changed, the IEP team or the Section 504 team must determine the extent to which additional or different services are provided, ensure that any needed changes are made promptly, and safeguard against putting the onus on the student with the disability to avoid or handle the bullying.”

This means that a response to bullying on a school’s part cannot be isolating a student away from situations or peers where bullying can occur. The letter reminds schools they need to be vigilant in regards to preventing any type of bullying, whether it is disability discrimination or not.

It gives three examples of the following classifications: 1) Disability-Based Harassment Violation and FAPE Violation, 2) FAPE Violation, No Disability-Based Violation, and 3) No Disability-Based Violation, No FAPE Violation.

To read the full letter, please go to http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-bullying-201410.pdf

The US DOE has also issued a fact sheet for parents: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/dcl-factsheet-bullying-201410.pdf

3 thoughts on “Office For Civil Rights Gives Stern Warning To Schools About Bullying Against Students With Disabilities @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @dwablog @TNJ_malbright @DeDeptofEd #netde #eduDE

  1. From your experience, it makes me wonder if disability-bashing is being sanctioned, encouraged and purposefully overlooked, in order to DRIVE out those with disabilities to raise the average test core. Sort of like the school hires and encourages “hit men” to make disabled children want to leave….

    It is a normal human reaction. It happens in all competitive environments. Now I understand why the charter school principal was smirking when you complained about the abuse your child was given.

    Like

  2. Yet, the Office of civil rights told me, I have no protection under their rules for advocating for a special education student. A special student in a behavioral class was verbally abuse/degraded, push into exploding, dragged like a wild animal to its cage, and neglected by covering up the only window to monitor the student. I checked on the student and he was attempting to get his short string around his neck. I reported the incident and was falsely accessed of abusing the student. If teachers not have the right or the protection to report abuses without fearing retribution, then how do we protect students from abuse? Many teachers who advocate for students are losing their jobs. Abuses go unreported because fear of losing ones livelihood.

    Like

    • If you don’t mind me asking Norbert, what state do you teach in? This sounds like matters far beyond those of bullying, and if your state OCR isn’t listening, than I would contact the US DOE as well as the police if this is a practice that normally happens at the school you teach at. This sounds like it borders on torture.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.