Georgia Special Education Law Blog

26 Feb

The school district is required to do what is necessary, and the whole point of free appropriate education is that you are not required to help pay, even indirectly.

08 Feb

In addition to interventions like the Individual Education Program (IEP) and the Section 504 plan, the State of Georgia has created the Student Support Team process to try to help students struggling to achieve academic success.1 SST is a state law process, not part of your child’s federal rights. Nothing in federal law requires (or prohibits) the use of the SST process. 

SST is implemented in three tiers.  The first tier is basically the level of support provided to any student in the public schools. In the second tier, more intensive support is provided.

01 Feb

Our hearts and thoughts go out to those who have been affected by the tragedy yesterday at Prince Middle School, part of the Atlanta Public Schools. But for those of us who follow public education closely, it is not news to learn that some students come to school with substantial difficulties – whether medical problems or difficult home lives. In short, the tragedy that happened yesterday is also a symptom of larger problems that constantly trouble public education.  

Solving these types of problems is hard, and cannot be done solely through the school system.

Sometimes school district’s lack of expertise can hurt your child. For example, when your child with behavior problems is going through what experts call an extinction burst. Let me explain:  

As I discussed last week, it is possible to figure out the function of a child’s problem behavior – in non-technical language: the reason why this problem behavior is happening. Sometimes an expert, such as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, determines that the function of the behavior is causing the caregiver or teacher to give extra attention to the child.

After the long break, I want to take a step back from specific legal rules to talk about big picture issues that confront special needs education. Specifically, I want to confront the strange idea that one hears from time to time – that there is a conflict between educating children with special needs and educating typical children.

Some school districts assert that diverting limited resources from regular education to service children with special needs hurts regular education. This is mostly a deflection by the school district, trying to divide various groups that the district serves.

21 Dec

As we celebrate the holidays, we also reflect on how we can make the world a better place in the coming year. Uplifting stories of children with disabilities reaching their potential and beyond help us see the way forward. Stories like the football team from the California School for the Deaf - which went 10-1 last season even though all 19 players on the team are deaf. Those students' hard work is an inspiration to us all.

Happy Holidays! Hope everyone reading the Georgia Special Education Law Blog has a wonderful New Year.


I'm giving a free presentation on the basics of special

14 Dec

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals1 recently  issued an opinion in Phillip C. v. Jefferson County Board of Education affirming the important parental right known as the independent educational evaluation (“IEE”), stating:

[States] must reimburse parents for the cost of an IEE in order to ensure that parents can exercise their right to an independent expert opinion, which is an essential procedural safeguard. . . . The right to a publicly financed IEE guarantees meaningful participation throughout the development of the IEP.

School districts are always required to consider the opinions of

The Georgia Cyber Academy is a public program for students from kindergarten to 11th grade.  Although it is a public school, children attend from home via computer connection from the internet. Taking advantage of the virtual environment, students can go through the program at their own pace, consistent with state curriculum requirements. Although there are many implementation concerns, the ideal is that competition between the virtual schools and the local school districts will create additional incentives for the local districts to improve the quality of their programs.

30 Nov

This week, I meant to write about the important legal concept known as "Least Restrictive Environment." But there is a lot of ground to cover about LRE, and I was much busier this week than I anticipated. Instead, I'm going to discuss a different provision of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act: 20 U.S.C. § 1412(a)(3)(A). Colloquially known as the Childfind requirement, this provision states:


All children with disabilities residing in the State, including children with disabilities who are homeless children or are wards of the State and children with disabilities attending
20 Nov

I recently read an article in Slate magazine about how miserable children are in middle school.  One major reason is that children are very seldom explicitly trained on new ones ways of interacting with others. Instead, children are expected to pick up appropriate social skills just by observing the way other people behave towards each other.

Unfortunately, most people are not consciously aware of what cues they use to decide how to behave towards other people.