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Bullying of Children With Disabilities: More From OCR Report - Part II

Posted Dec 19 2012 2:22pm
Seal of the United States Department of EducationSeal of the United States Department of Education (Photo credit: Wikipedia )
 
 
 
                      The biggest hot button issue in special education law is bullying of kids with disabilities. In a recent post, we informed you of the report issued by the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights on its enforcement activities over the period of the last four years.  You can read that post here . There is a lot of information in the report that should be helpful to parents and school staff as well as others interested in special education law. In a subsequent post we repeated OCR's text from the report concerning what it significantly described as a cross-cutting issue: school bullying. You can read that post here . In today's post, we will review what OCR said about some of its disability based harassment cases.  We encourage you to read this important report.
You can view the OCR press release here. You can read the entire 76 page report here. The following is language from the OCR report:   Enforcement—Disability Harassment
OCR’s work with schools and colleges on disability harassment has involved issues such as the following►► A complainant alleged that a high school student with Fragile X Syndrome, Asperger’s Syndrome, Tourette’s Syndrome and ADHD was verbally ridiculed by her fellow students about her disability-related body odor, sprayed with an air freshener by staff in front of her classmates, detained by staff in school who made her take showers before allowing her to attend classes, and pulled out of class to be sent home before the end of the school day because of her body odor. She wanted to drop out because of the harassment.
►► Parents alleged that their child with cerebral palsy, scoliosis and ADD, who weighed only 65 pounds, was bullied and harassed by classmates at middle school and on the school bus. They said he was kicked in the legs in the cafeteria, intentionally hit in the head while playing dodge ball, and hit with bottles at a pep rally. As a result, the parents removed the child from school to homeschool him.
►► A parent complained that a student with a severe nut allergy was the subject of a protest instigated by district employees because of aids and services provided to the student to address her food allergy. The complainant alleged that several teachers, including a teacher who had been reprimanded for failing to implement the aids and services, leaked confidential information about the student’s medical condition and spread misinformation about the accommodations to other parents, and that an online response to a news story concerning the protest included a suggestion that parents send their children to school with backpacks smeared in peanut oil, which could have proved fatal for her child.  These complaints led to resolution agreements in which the school districts agreed to take steps to prevent, eliminate and respond appropriately to disability-based harassment. For example, the school districts agreed to provide training to the staff regarding students with disabilities, and Section 504 and Title II; educate students, faculty, staff and the community about the severity of nut allergies and the need for appropriate aids and services in schools; to provide education or other services to the students who were harassed; revise and fully implement policies and procedures on bullying and harassment; discipline students who engaged in bullying and harassing conduct and report those incidents to parents in a timely manner; and set up a hotline for the parent of the bullied student to use to report future concerns.
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