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U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance on Civil Rights of Students with Disabilities
Dec 28th, 2016 by

Dear Colleague,

The U.S. Department of Education released three new sets of guidance today to assist the public in understanding how the Department interprets and enforces federal civil rights laws protecting the rights of students with disabilities. These guidance documents clarify the rights of students with disabilities and the responsibilities of educational institutions in ensuring that all students have the opportunity to learn.

The guidance released today includes a parent and educator resource guide; a Dear Colleague letter (DCL) and question and answer document on the use of restraint and seclusion in public schools; and a DCL and question and answer documents on the rights of students with disabilities in public charter schools.

The Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools, issued by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), provides a broad overview of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). The guidance describes school districts’ nondiscrimination responsibilities, including obligations to provide educational services to students with disabilities, and outlines the steps parents can take to ensure that their children secure all of the services they are entitled to receive.

Among other things, the Section 504 Parent and Educator Resource Guide:

  • Defines and provides examples to illustrate the meaning of key terms used in Section 504.
  • Highlights requirements of Section 504 in the area of public elementary and secondary education, including provisions related to the identification, evaluation, and placement of students with disabilities, and procedures for handling disputes and disagreements between parents and school districts.

The second guidance package released by OCR addresses the circumstances under which use of restraint or seclusion can result in discrimination against students with disabilities, in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Department’s May 15, 2012, Restraint and Seclusion: Resource Document suggested best practices to prevent the use of restraint or seclusion, recommending that school districts never use physical restraint or seclusion for disciplinary purposes and never use mechanical restraint, and that trained school officials use physical restraint or seclusion only if a child’s behavior poses imminent danger of serious physical harm to self or others. The DCL and question and answer document released today offer additional information about the legal limitations on use of restraint or seclusion to assist school districts in meeting their obligations to students with disabilities.

The third guidance package released today was developed by OCR and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS). The jointly-issued Dear Colleague Letter and question and answer documents will help update educators, parents, students, and other stakeholders to better understand the rights of students with disabilities in public charter schools under Section 504 and IDEA. These documents provide information about how to provide equal opportunity in compliance with Section 504 in key areas such as charter school recruitment, application, admission, enrollment and disenrollment, accessibility of facilities and programs, and nonacademic and extracurricular activities. The documents are responsive to the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s 2012 report, Charter Schools: Additional Federal Attention Needed to Help Protect Access for Students with Disabilities, which included the recommendation that the Department issue updated guidance on the obligations of charter schools.

The Section 504 Charter guidance:

  • Explains that charter school students with disabilities (and those seeking to attend) have the same rights under Section 504 and Title II of the ADA as other public school students with disabilities.
  • Details the Section 504 right to nondiscrimination in recruitment, application, and admission to charter schools.
  • Clarifies that during the admission process a charter school generally may not ask a prospective student if he or she has a disability.
  • Reminds charter schools, other entities, and parents that charter school students with disabilities have the right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) under Section 504.

The IDEA Charter guidance:

  • Emphasizes that children with disabilities who attend charter schools and their parents retain all rights and protections under Part B of IDEA (such as FAPE) just as they would at other public schools.
  • Provides that under IDEA a charter school may not unilaterally limit the services that must be provided a particular student with a disability.
  • Reminds schools that the least restrictive environment provisions require that, to the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities attending public schools, including public charter schools, be educated with students who are nondisabled.
  • Clarifies that students with disabilities attending charter schools retain all IDEA rights and protections included in the IDEA discipline procedures.

In addition to these documents, the Department also released a Know Your Rights document designed for parents to provide a brief overview of the rights of public charter school students with disabilities and the legal obligations of charter schools under Section 504 and the IDEA.

Thank you,

U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights

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Orlando Title IX Certification Training January 23rd-27th, 2017
Dec 14th, 2016 by

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista at Walt Disney World Resort
January 23rd – 27th, 2017 | Orlando, FL
Registration deadline is Wednesday, January 11, 2017.
 
There are a lot of courses out there, and many will teach you compliance. We do more than that, preparing you for the compliance challenges of tomorrow, not just today. This is what makes earning certification with ATIXA unique:
  • ATIXA speaks OCR fluently.
  • Because of our deep involvement in litigation and OCR complaints, ATIXA trainings are designed to empower risk management for your school or college.
  • Our certifications are regularly updated to stay fresh.
  • ATIXA carefully defines and hones best practices to ensure that our attendees fully understand how to get Title IX right.
  • Our faculty members are nationally-recognized experts and field-leading practitioners who guide participants though an unparalleled professional development experience.
  • ATIXA trainings include teaching tools like case studies, Q&A and illustrative stories.
Through our unmatched understanding of the legal landscape, ATIXA is best positioned to help you provide a fair, impartial and equitable resolution of discrimination allegations that will reduce the risk of an OCR complaint or lawsuit. Our goal is to help you ensure their rights, maximize your compliance, and respect the equal dignity of all participants in your process.
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Civil Rights Reports Spotlight Eight Years of Accomplishments, Lingering Challenges
Dec 12th, 2016 by

Protecting our students’ civil rights is fundamental to ensuring they receive a high-quality education. Two reports released today spotlight the challenges and achievements of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

 

read more: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/civil-rights-reports-spotlight-eight-years-accomplishments-lingering-challenges?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

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OCR released Q&A guidance on the strict criteria needed to justify single sex education under Title IX and the U.S. Constitution.
Dec 12th, 2016 by

Questions and Answers on Title IX and Single-Sex Elementary and Secondary Classes and Extracurricular Activities∗

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With Trump’s Title IX stance unknown, video aims to educate about sexual harassment at school
Dec 12th, 2016 by

National experts on sexual harassment in K-12 schools have teamed up to create a new educational video about gender equality, intended to inform students that they have a legal right to attend a school where nobody is harassed because of their gender.

The timing couldn’t be better, said Esther Warkov, cofounder of the nonprofit group Stop Sexual Assault in Schools, which produced the free video for use by schools, clubs and parent groups. President-elect Donald Trump, who boasted in a 2005 video about his ability to sexually assault women, has “normalized” traumatic harassment, Warkov said, and sent a disturbing message to children and teenagers. And the Republican Party platform has stated its opposition to the Obama administration’s decision to apply legal protections from harassment to students who are gay, transgender or gender nonconforming — including the right of transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity.

“Our video explains how detrimental sexual harassment is to students,” she said, “and why schools must take complaints seriously and compassionately.”

The video features well-known gender equality researchers, including Keasara Williams, director of equity and Title IX compliance for the San Francisco Unified School District, and Caroline Heldman, associate professor of politics at Occidental College, who created the popular TED talk “The Sexy Lie” about the objectification of women.

In the 44 years since Title IX of the Education Act of 1972 prohibited discrimination in schools based on sex, the law has come to be understood to applyto students who are being discriminated against because of the way they present themselves in regards to gender stereotypes. With students increasingly coming out at school as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or “gender fluid,” bullying may be defined as discriminatory harassment, which is a civil rights violation. Warkov explained that the video, “Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School!”, is an effort to provide the information that most schools do not provide to students, parents and staff.

Trump’s election has some students concerned about an uptick in harassment. “It’s upsetting because I’ve had family members who have been harassed sexually,” said Jasmin Melendrez, 14, a freshman at Fremont High School in Oakland. “It will be easier for men to do that.”

“He’s definitely sexist,” said Max Burk, 15, a Berkeley High School student.

“I’m scared because I’m gay,” said Clementine Gunter, 16, a junior at Berkeley High School. “His vice president believes in gay conversion.” Gay conversion is the practice of subjecting gay and lesbian individuals to a treatment intended to covert them into heterosexuals. The so-called “therapy” is illegal in California. The harm caused by the treatment includes feelings of depression and suicidal ideation.

 

read more: https://edsource.org/2016/with-trumps-title-ix-stance-unknown-video-aims-to-educate-about-sexual-harassment-at-school/573616

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