Phoebe Graubard Responds

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ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS POSTED TO OUR WEB PAGE


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QUESTION:

I am interested in the ability of school officials to take disciplinary action against students who come to school with body piercing.

ANSWER:

There is nothing in the Education Code that specifically prohibits body piercing. However, school districts may enact dress codes. (Education Code section 35183.) It is possible that a prohibition against body piercing could be included in the dress code policy, and thus a student could be suspended for violating the dress code. However, I have never heard of such a policy. Good luck.


QUESTION:

Would you have any resources regarding american law in schools...my daughter Cecily, aged 8, was made to miss recess for 6 weeks and told towrite 150 times I will not talk in class. The assignment was given again when the teacher found that she wrote it up and down (a row of I's, a row of will's,etc). The teacher wanted them written across. And fully planned to keep her out of recess til we intervened. A month and a half is a long time for an 8year old to miss recess and for her parents to be in the dark about there being a problem. We moved here from California...and the idea of having an 8 year old little girl miss recess for 6 weeks and us, her parents not even being informed there was a problem. I asked for a meeting. The principal is furious that I am making waves.

Is there somewhere I can write ...about when a teacher gets too rough witha child? My daughter's stuttering got really bad. We've changed her classroom and her new teacher is lots better.

ANSWER:

I am sorry to hear about what happened to your daughter. Each state has laws governing the administration of its public schools. I suggest that you file a complaint with the head officer (Superintendent) of your State Department of Education. The office is usually located in the State Capitol. You could also pursue legal action against the teacher and demand that he/she be disciplined by the local school board. The first step might be to appear before the school board and voice your concerns. Also, since she is now stuttering, you might ask for a special education evaluation to see if she's eligible for special education services. Good luck.


QUESTION:

I am a student at Northern Illinois University and I was in need of information concerning aspects of inclusion. I was browsing through your web page and was wondering if it might be possible to receive any information from you on this topic. Anything offered would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.

ANSWER:

One of the landmark "full inclusion" cases is Sacramento City Unified School District v. Holland (9th Cir. 1994) 14 F.3d 1398. You should be able to get a copy at your university law library. Good luck.


QUESTION:

My son has just been suspended for taking a gun to school. I'm searching for any information I can find on this subject. Your help would be MOST appreciated! Particularly the details of the 7 year old in CA that was NOT expelled.

I would also immensely appreciate the actual law - specifically,The Federal Gun Free Schools Act of 1994.

ANSWER:

The California Education Code was amended effective January 1996, and requires immediate suspension for any child who is in possession of a firearm at school. See Education Code section 48915.

The events surrounding the 7 year old, who was not suspended for taking a gun to school, took place before the Education Code was amended to provide for "zero tolerance" for possession of a weapon on school grounds. Good luck.


QUESTION:

We have an IEP scheduled for our daughter December 11, and have requested in writing that the school provide a copy of their IEP plan in advance of the meeting. We were originally scheduled to have ameeting on November 20th, but I was forced to reschedule due to a work conflict.

We also had additional testing done by Dr. S., PhD, and We have openly shared the results with the school (We had also given them complete test results from an educational Psychologist, and OccupationalTherapist, and a Speech Therapist). Even though the school promised me their test data two days ago, we have been unable to obtain the results from the school. They say they must now review Dr. S's report before they can even give us our daughter's test scores. We would like reasonable time to have them reviewed by her doctors before our meeting.

At this time, we are not asking for any conclusions or plans, only data. Is there anything further that we can do that we are not doing already? Are we being unreasonable? We only care about our daughter getting the help she is entitled to.

ANSWER:

The IEP is generally considered to be a product of a joint meeting between the parents and school district. It should not be unilaterally developed in advance of the IEP meeting by the District. The Education Code specifies that a parent shall be provided with a copy of the assessment report upon request. (Education Code section 56329.) The statute is silent as to whether this means before or at the IEP meeting. You could always contact the Special Education Hearing Office (916-739-7053) and request mediation on the issue. If you are not satisfied with the District's assessment you can obtain your own independent evaluation. (Education Code section 56329.) You may obtain reimbursement for your independent assessment, only if, a hearing officer determines that the school district's evaluation was inadequate. (Education Code section 56329 (b).) Good luck.


QUESTION:

Thank You for the excellent page.

Can you tell us where the exact details about compliance with the "Hughs Act", pertaining to Special Education student behavior, are located. I can only find the slightest mention of it in the Ed Code and we are asking for a Hughes assesment for our son.

Many Thanks

ANSWER:

Thanks for your kind words about CELR. The "Hughes Act" regulations are in the California Code of Regulations (CCR) at Title 5, sections 3001, 3052. You can ask the California Special Education Office (916-739-7053) for a composite of the laws for special education, and the regulations are contained in it. Otherwise, you may be able to obtain them at your local county law library. Good luck.


QUESTION:

I am interested in obtaining more info on the above captioned subject. As I am new to searching the web, I would appreciate any tips on how to search for summaries and/orthe actual text of the act itself. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

ANSWER:

Thanks for your inquiry. The California "Gun Free School Zones Act" can be found at Penal Code section 626.9. It can be accessed through the California State Government web site at: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html

Good luck.


QUESTION:

What governs the assignment of duties to special ed aides under PL 94-142? Is there a code/statute in the California Education Laws thatwill cover this subject?

The issue is each time we change site administrators the new person wants to use the special ed aides for various chores such as lunch duty, detention/in-house suspension, etc.

This is done without regard for classroom activity needs.

ANSWER:

That's an interesting question. I can't give you a definitive answer without knowing more of the facts. The assignment of duties to special ed. aides is governed by California labor laws and special education funding regulations. If a special ed. aide is monitoring special ed. students during lunch duty, detention/in-house suspensions, there probably is no conflict with federal and state special education laws. I suggest you talk to your union representative at the site. Good luck.


QUESTION:

I am a graduate student at the University of Vermont, researching school choice, In Vermont, many towns allow vouchers for both public and private schools (this occurts when the town is too small to afford a high school so all the secondary school students in the town may choose any public or private school - non parochial - and the town pays a per pupil cost to the chosen school).

I am interested in the forms of choice available in California, and more specifically if any laws or policies regarding California school choice or the lack thereof have been challenged in court.

ANSWER:

California does not have a school choice program similar to the one you describe as being available in the state of Vermont. In 1992, California voters rejected a "voucher" initiative that was placed on the ballot. It would have permitted parents to place their children in private schools and receive public funds for the payment of tuition. You could contact the Secretary of State for more information on that. (916-653-6814.) In response to the "voucher" initiative, the Legislature enacted Senate Bill 1448. This created a procedure for individuals to petition local school district governing boards to establish charter schools. Charter schools are part of the school district but have extensive self governance and are exempt from most state laws governing school districts. These provisions can be found in the California Education Code at sections 47600-47616. I hope this information is helpful. Good luck.


QUESTION:

Hello. 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:

In case you are unfamiliar with the term 'duplicate fee', I will give you an example. In addition to the 'normal fees', the second bachelor's degree student must pay an additional $2,000.00 per quarter at the University of California schools. A similar situation occurs in the California State Universities.


Phoebe Graubard, Esq. California Education Law Report

 

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