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October is National Bullying Prevention Month – bullying laws protect children with special needs

Written by  Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler Bullying can be a devastating experience for any child. When the child being bullied has special needs, serious and long-term consequences for the child may result. Fortunately, special needs children receive extra protection under the law. Parents can invoke the laws that have been written specifically to protect children with disabilities when instances of bullying occur. Bullying includes physical threats, but it may also encompass verbal abuse (teasing and threats), graphic or written statements, and behavior that creates a hostile environment or infringes on a student's rights at school. In general, bullying involves an imbalance--or a...

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Students with disabilities cannot be barred from gifted and talented programs

Written by  Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler Federal and state law requires that accelerated programs be made available to students with disabilities and that entry requirement for such programs not discriminate against students who require special services. Furthermore, if a student requires modifications such as extended time or a computer for taking notes, the school must provide those same modifications in any accelerated or gifted programming in which that child participates. It has been eight years since a letter issued by the Office of Civil Rights clarified this law for schools and parents. Despite the letter, confusion still seems to exist among...

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Charter Schools

Written by  Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler Owe a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to Special Needs Students What is a charter school? Most people know that charter schools are alternatives to local public schools. Charter schools are public schools, but are operated independently of local boards of education. They usually receive federal money as well as additional private donations or grants. Unlike their local public school counterparts, charter schools are privately managed by their own charter school Board of Trustees. Charter schools have leeway in determining their policies and programming. For this reason, they can be attractive to parents seeking an alternative learning...

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Your child has rights when it comes to food allergy bullying

Written by  Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler Food bullying is not to be taken lightly. For a child with a life threatening allergy, it can mean serious illness or death--not to mention the anxiety and other psychological consequences from experiencing both bullying and physical response to a life-threatening allergen. We now know that fifty percent of children with food allergies who are in grades six through ten reports being the victim of food allergy bullying. Fortunately, the food allergy bullying law has evolved. Education will take more time, as schools, children with allergies, their peers, teachers, administrators, and health care professionals work...

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