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Question:

It is my understanding that IDEA 97 clearly indicates how parents are an intregal part of the IEP team. It also says in Section 615(b) 1 that parents will part of the decision making process in regard to placement for their child.

My district insists that we write an IEP that identifies a program and someone in the "big district office" will assign my child to a program. I don't believe this process conforms to IDEA 97. I believe their process might have worked with prior legislation but not anymore. Please comment. I should also let you know that my district is the ninth largest in the nation.

Answer:

It is impossible to answer your question without knowing the specific facts. What state are you located in and what is the name of your school district? However, you are correct that a parent must be included in any IEP team meetings and decisions about the child's placement. You may need to consult a special education advocate.


Question:

Could you please tell me why a school board would have to hire two attorneys during the process of terminating a teacher's contract? I have searched for information on this issue for one week and have yet to come up with an answer!

Answer:

It's impossible to answer your question without additional information. However, a teacher's contract is governed by statute and it can't be termintated without "good cause." If you are a parent or interested citizen, I suggest you raise the question at your next school board meeting during the public comment session. If you are a teacher, contact your local union or association. Good luck.


Question:

I am a graduate student at UNLV working on my Ed.D. I am currently taking a seminar in higher education law. I am working on a paper dealing with freedom of speech issues on campus. Consequently, if you have any information that you could send me about this subject I would very much appreciate it.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision Pickering v. Board of Education (1968) 391 U.S. 563 is a good place to start. The law librarian at your school can help you find the case and others. Good luck.


Question:

I am a classified management employee and have recently been asked by our new superintendent to supply her with documentation for a 5% stipend I and another manager have been receiving for 13 years. Nothing can be found in the board minutes and payroll records that far back are no help. I checked with our County Office and they can't help either. Because of the lack of documentation, she has stopped our stipend as of July 1. Is this legal? Also, during this same period of time (since 1985-86) the two of us have been allowed (by 4 separate superintendents) to receive over-time and/or comp. time. Now we are told we cannot receive it any longer. Is this legal?

Answer:

You should contact the classified employees' association at your district for legal assistance. If you are an exempt employee, then contact your professional association or a local employment law attorney. Good luck.


Question:

I am a 34 year old mother living in La Habra CA. I have a 13 year old daughter. Her school says that she is not allowed at Disneyland the day her school attends for a candy sale in which I did not allow her to participate. If she has my permission and I pay her way into the park and I inform theschool that she will be absent that day can the teachers not allow her freeacess of the park?

Answer:

Thanks for your inquiry; it raises some interesting questions. I assume you are talking about a public school: (1) Public education is free, and schools can only charge for extracurricular activities. There is California Supreme Court case law. Obviously, selling candy is/was not a part of the mandatory curriculum (and if it is should be reported to the State Board of Education). (2) All children in the class should be allowed to participate in the field trip, so long as you sign a "Release of Liability." If you report your daughter absent, the District will not get its ADA (state money per student for the day). The better course would be to attempt to negotiate with them to allow your daughter to participate in the field trip. If for no other reason, say it's discriminatory to prohibit her from participating. Especially, if all the other students in her class will be attending, and the District will be getting state money for that day. (Might even be worth raising with the school board.) Good luck.


QUESTION:

I need any info as soon as possible about Title IX concerning sexual harrassment. A teacher made a sexually explict action in front of my child. I have been told that he can do this because it was not directed at my child but toward another 16 year old girl.

ANSWER:

I don't know what state you are in, but in California all school districts must have a school board policy prohibiting sexual harassment. The policy is to be displayed in a public location and given to all parents at the beginning of the school year. (Education Code section 212.6) The policy must contain information on where to obtain specific procedures for reporting charges of sexual harassment and pursuing available remedies within the school district. Prohibited forms of sexual harassment may include conduct such as unwelcome leering, sexual flirtations, propositions or jokes. In addition to filing a complaint with the school district you could also file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) which is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Education.


Question:

I have heard that a law has recently been passed which eliminates "duplicate" fees charged to second bachelor's degree students in the University of California and California State Universities. Rumor has it that the law is supposed to take effect in the Fall of 1996.

Answer:

The law with respect to duplicate fees for tuition is repealed effective September 1, 1996. It applies to the U.C. system and California State Universities. See Education Code section 66170 et seq., which can be found at any law library. The legislation was enacted in 1993; Statutes of California, chapter 1132, section 3.


Question:

I would like Title IX information, specifically, what responsibility does a school have to stop in peer to peer sexual harassment?

Answer:

Doe v. Petaluma City School District (1993 N.D. Cal.) 830 F.Supp. 1560 and Doe v. Petaluma City School District (9th Cir. 1995) 54 F.3d 1447, are two cases that deal with Title IX issues. You can find them at your local county law library. (See also answer to the first question.)


Question:

For the coming school year we have decided to hold our son back from starting kindergarten and keep him in a pre-K program at a private Montessori school. We are meeting with the local school disctrict, for our IEP. Our son has been in the district's preschool development program and through them we have speech, occupational therapy and adaptive P.E. programs. At the IEP meeting, I am requesting that these services continue and I am also asking for a itinerant Special Ed teacher to visit him weekly on site at the Montessori school to provide special ed support and consultation with the teacher there. Am I within my legal rights to request this teacher and is the school obligated to give it to me? The Regional Center provided an educational specialist who recommended that we continue in the Montessori school. Someone told me to investigate Public Law 99457 to get the information I need. I don't really anticipate any fight with the district but I want to be prepared. I think they are reluctant to provide the teacher to come out to visit and work with him.

Answer:

As the parent of a disabled child you have certain rights and remedies under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. §1400 et seq.) The California Education Code sets out the special education statutes beginning at sections 56000. You have the right to have a special education advocate attend the IEP meeting with you. Ask the school district for a notice of parent rights and a listing of the special education advocates in your area. You can also call the Special Education Hearing office which is located in Sacramento and ask them for this information. The phone number is (916) 739-7053. They can also send you a copy of the relevant code sections. I hope this information is helpful.


Question:

School locker searches. I would like to have information on this to write a scholarly paper for a undergraduate class.

Answer:

The United States Supreme Court issued a ruling in 1985 that held school officials could search student lockers if they had reasonable suspicion that the search will uncover evidence that the student is violating the law. School administrators do not need to obtain a search warrant. The name of the case is "New Jersey v. T.L.O." (1985) 469 U.S. 325, and can be found at any law library.


Question:

Specifically, I am looking for a decision that would either deny or support the right of a public school to ban the public display of the material of some shirts. My school system bans any clothing that advertises for tobacco or alcohol or any clothing that is deemed offensive by faculty. My research has shown that because of Cohen v. California 1971, anything you wear is legal, and that Tinker v. Des Moines guarantees this for students as well. I would like something more substantial however to support my claims.

Answer:

It sounds like you've done some good research, but there are a couple of more recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions you should look at. They give school districts more authority to regulate student conduct including First Amendment rights such as speech. The cases are: Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988) 484 U.S. 260 and Bethel School Dist. No. 403 v. Fraser (1986) 478 U.S. 675. Good luck with your resolution.


Question:

Is there existing and/or pending legislation which requires a site administrator to cite a student for fighting, possession of weapon, etc., or face a $500.00 fine?

Answer:

It depends upon your state law. Congress passed the "Gun-Free Schools Act" in 1994 (20 U.S. C. 8921). Any student who brings a gun to school must be expelled for one year. Ask the site administrator for a copy of your school's policy.


Question:

I have questions as to the actual definition of home schooling and what the legal issues are surrounding it.

Answer:

Thank you for your inquiry about home schooling. The California Education Code does not define home schooling, but it provides that a pupil may receive instruction from a tutor. The tutor (who may be any person including a parent) must have a valid California teaching credential for the grade level taught. Instruction must be in the courses required in the public school and tutoring must be provided for at least 3 hours per day. Education Code section 48224 may be obtained at any law library. Another option is independent study through the local school system. (Education Code section 51745).

 

 

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