Use of Electronic Mail to Provide IEPs and Related Documents

The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) issued a policy letter in response to a state inquiry regarding school district use of electronic mail to provide parents with their child’s individualized education program (IEP) and  related documents, including progress reports.  The OSEP policy letter, dated March 20, 2014, was issued by Melody Musgrove, Director of OSEP, in response to an inquiry from the Maine Department of Education.

You may view a complete copy of this policy letter at the following link:

Use of Electronic Mail to Provide IEPs and Related Documents -OSEP Guidance

OSERS Issues Guidance on Preventing and Addressing Bullying of Students with Disabilities

It is important that all students, including students with disabilities, are engaged in a positive, safe, and nurturing school environment in which they can learn, develop and participate.  To that end, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) issued guidance in the form of a Dear Colleague Letter that provides an overview of school districts’ responsibilities to address bullying of students with disabilities.

Under IDEA, States and school districts are obligated to ensure that students with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment.  The guidance in the Dear Colleague letter specifically states that bullying of a student with disabilities, regardless of whether or not the bullying is related to the student’s disability, is considered a denial of FAPE if it results in the student not getting meaningful educational benefit.

The release of the OSERS guidance coincides with the start of the school year so that schools will be equipped with the tools to prevent bullying.   There is an enclosure to OSERS’ letter, “Effective Evidence-based Practices for Preventing and Addressing Bullying,” that offers practices that can be used as part of any bullying prevention and intervention program.  OSERS is asking states and schools to reevaluate their policies and practices ensuring that problematic behaviors, including bullying, are addressed.  Every effort should be made to structure school environments to provide supports to students and staff so that bullying does not occur.

The Dear Colleague Letter and enclosure, “Effective Evidence-based Practices for Preventing and Addressing Bullying,” can be accessed at:

http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/index.html#bullyingdcl-8-20-13.

OSEP Memorandum: High-Quality Education for Highly Mobile Students

The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) issued a letter to state directors on July 19, 2013, specific to the application of the IDEA requirements to “highly mobile children.”    The definition of highly mobile children includes children who experience frequent family moves; military-connected children; migrant children; children in foster care; and children who are homeless.  The purpose of the letter is to address the unique needs of highly mobile children under the IDEA to ensure the educational stability of and post-school outcomes for these students.

The letter specifically addresses timely and expedited evaluations and eligibility determinations, including when a response to intervention (RtI) framework is used as well as comparable services, including extended school year (ESY) services, for these students.  There is also a list of available federal resources and other helpful resources.

To review the full document, please visit the link below.

OSEP Memorandum Regarding Educating Highly Mobile Children

OSEP Memorandum: Dispute Resolution under IDEA Part B

The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) issued a memorandum to Chief State School Officers and State Directors of Special Education on July 22, 2013, regarding the Dispute Resolution Procedures under the IDEA Part B.  The purpose of the memorandum was to introduce and disseminate an updated question and answer document related to IDEA Part B Dispute Resolution Procedures.  The accompanying question and answer document consists of five sections: mediations; State complaint procedures; due process complaints and due process hearing procedures; resolution process; and expedited due process hearings.  The memorandum and attached question and answer document is available at http://idea.ed.gov or:

To review the memorandum and Q&A documents, please visit the links below.

OSEP Memorandum on Dispute Resolution Procedures under Part B of the IDEA

OSEP Question and Answer Document on Dispute Resolution Procedures under Part B of the IDEA)

U.S. Department of Education Issues a Resource Document that Discourages Restraint and Seclusion

On May 15, 2012, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development Assistant Secretary Carmel Martin and White House Office of Public Engagement & Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, Kareem Dale, announced the release of a resource document on Restraint and Seclusion.

The U.S. Department of Education issued a publication that outlines principles for educators, parents and other stakeholders to consider when developing or refining policies and procedures to support positive behavioral interventions and avoid the use of restraint and seclusion.

The goal of this resource document is to help ensure that schools are safe and healthy environments where all students can learn, develop and participate in instructional programs that promote high levels of academic achievement.

We strongly encourage all constituents to review the full resource document. Please follow the link below to access the document. If you have any questions as to how this relates to Connecticut law regarding seclusion and restraint, please contact Colleen Hayles at 860-713-6922 or colleen.hayles@ct.gov.

Restraint and Seclusion Resource Document – US Department of Education