Posts tagged with "alternative educational programs"

Todd Video Highlights Cyberbullying Epidemic

In the wake of Canadian teenager Amanda Todd’s heart wrenching YouTube video and subsequent suicide (reported on here), much has been written about social media’s impact on Todd’s plight. Since her death on October 10, users have continued to post hateful messages on a Facebook page, justifying their cruelty with “freedom of speech” claims.

Yesterday, a Canadian journalist wrote an article discussing Canadian New Democratic Party’s MP Dany Morin’s response to the Amanda Todd tragedy.[1] Speaking to Canada’s House of Commons yesterday, which had the opportunity to consider new legislation addressing cyberbullying, Morin stated: “Nowadays, with cyberbullying, with social media, it has gotten to a breaking point.”  Speaking of his own high school experience, Morin, who is gay, noted that though bullying existed, Facebook and other means of social media didn’t exist.  With social media, there is no break from the bullying – it’s 24/7.

Todd’s death, which made international headlines, highlights how cyberbullying has been exacerbated by social media.  As previously reported, school administrators have acted swiftly, hosting seminars and training sessions for parents, students, and faculty members, in an attempt to educate authority figures on how best to recognize and combat bullying.  State legislatures are enacting laws aimed exclusively at cyberbullying, or amending online harassment laws to encompass the specific area of cyberbullying.  But the law continues to remain murky, wrapped up in freedom of speech and First Amendment concerns.

It is important, if you have concerns about bullying against yourself or a loved one that can only be resolved through legal action, to consult with an attorney experienced in the complicated maze of education law.  If you do have questions, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq., in our Westport office, at 203-221-3100, or at JMaya@mayalaw.com.

 


[1] http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/10/15/cyber-bullying-on-social-media-is-at-a-breaking-point-says-ndp-mp-championing-private-members-bill/.

What is the Process for Expelling a Special Education Student?

Expulsion Process in Special Education

If you are the parent of a child that qualifies for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), it is imperative that you understand that an entirely different set of rules applies.

“Connecticut school districts are obligated to provide special education and related services to children five years of age or older until the earlier of either high school graduation or the end of the school year in which your child turns twenty-one years of age.”[1] A special education child’s misconduct does not obviate the school district’s statutory duty. Therefore, before an expulsion hearing occurs, the child’s planning and placement team (PPT), which includes the parent(s), will schedule a meeting to determine whether or not the child’s misbehavior was caused by his or her disability. How the question is answered will impact the PPT’s course of action.

If the answer is “yes,” expulsion will not be pursued. Rather, the PPT will reevaluate the child and potentially modify his individualized education program (IEP) “to address the misconduct and to ensure the safety of other children and staff in the school.”[2] If, instead, the answer is “no,” the standard expulsion procedures[3] are followed. However, an AEP that is consistent with the child’s special educational needs must be provided by the school for the duration of the expulsion.[4]

Written by Lindsay E. Raber, Esq.

Because of the potentially adverse and significant impact a suspension or expulsion can have on a student’s future, it is imperative to seek the advice of an experienced school law practitioner. The lawyers at Maya Murphy, P.C., assist clients in Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, and Westport. Should you have any questions regarding school discipline or other education law matters, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya, Esq. He may be reached at Maya Murphy, P.C., 266 Post Road East, Westport, Connecticut (located in Fairfield County), by telephone at (203) 221-3100, or by email at JMaya@mayalaw.com.

 


[1] “Advocating on Your Child’s Behalf: A Parent’s Guide to Connecticut School Law,” by Joseph C. Maya, Esq., at pp.8-9.

[2] Connecticut General Statutes § 10-233d(i).

[3] See Connecticut General Statutes § 10-233d(a).

[4] Connecticut General Statutes § 10-233d(i).

Alternative Educational Programs for Expelled Students

Expulsions in Connecticut Schools

The Connecticut legislature has authorized the expulsion of a student if his or her conduct, be it committed on or off school grounds, violates a publicized board of education rule, seriously disrupts the educational process, or places into danger other persons or property.[1] The expulsion may last from anywhere between ten (10) days to one calendar year,[2] which no doubt leaves parents concerned that their child may fall behind his or her peers. However, barring specific exceptions, schools must provide an alternative education program (AEP) to an expelled student.

Constituting and Implementing an AEP

There is very little guidance as to what constitutes an AEP. One statute states, “Such alternative may include, but shall not be limited to, the placement of a pupil who is at least sixteen years of age in an adult education program.”[3] One State Department of Education regulation focuses on home tutoring obligations.[4] That being said, boards of education have wide discretion in deciding what qualifies as an AEP and may provide one even where they are not obligated to do so.[5]

However, the circumstances under which AEPs are granted are clear-cut and fall into three age-based categories. If the student is less than sixteen (16) years of age, the school has a duty to provide an AEP at no cost to the parents.

An AEP must also be provided to students aged sixteen (16) and seventeen (17), unless 1) the student was previously expelled; 2) the expulsion was for possession of a firearm, deadly weapon, dangerous instrument, or martial arts weapon while on school grounds or at a school-sponsored activity; or 3) the expulsion was for the sale or distribution of a controlled substance on school grounds or at a school-sponsored activity. Finally, if the student is above age eighteen (18), the school has no duty to provide an AEP unless he or she is a special education student.

Written by Lindsay E. Raber, Esq.

Because of the potentially adverse and significant impact a suspension or expulsion can have on a student’s future, it is imperative to seek the advice of an experienced school law practitioner. The attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C., assist clients in Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, and Westport. Should you have any questions regarding school discipline or other education law matters, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya, Esq. He may be reached at Maya Murphy, P.C., 266 Post Road East, Westport, Connecticut (located in Fairfield County), by telephone at (203) 221-3100, or by email at JMaya@mayalaw.com.


[1] Connecticut General Statutes § 10-233d.

[2] Rosa R. v. Connelly, 889 F.2d 435 (2d Cir. 1989).

[3] Connecticut General Statutes § 10-233d(d).

[4] Connecticut State Regulations § 10-76d-15.

[5] Connecticut General Statutes § 10-233d(d).