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Special Education Listserv

Subject: Assorted Guidance from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services

Source: Dr. Stephen Barr, Assistant Commissioner

Intended Audience: Special Education Directors, Special Education Instructors

Date: August 23, 2013

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services with the U. S. Department of Education has issued several Dear Colleague and Policy letters this summer.  Attached are brief summaries and links to the documents.

June 19, 2013, Dear Colleague letter on the importance of Braille instruction.  See the SELS dated June 25, 2013, http://dese.mo.gov/se/se-ls06.25.13.htm for a broader summary.  The letter can be found at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/index.html

July 19, 2013, Letter to the State Director of Special Education on highly mobile children with disabilities.  Two issues are discussed:  the need for timely and expedited evaluation and eligibility determinations and comparable services during the summer.  OSEP strongly encourages districts to complete the evaluations of highly mobile children within expedited (30 days) time frames, promptly exchange education records between school districts when a student transfers, and connect parents with the parent training and information center (MPACT).  Districts are generally required to provide Extended School Year Services (ESY) as comparable services to a transfer student whose IEP contains those services.  Districts cannot refuse to provide the services merely because they would be provided in the summer.  Attached to the letter is a list of resources about various types of highly mobile children.  The letter can be found at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/12-0392dclhighlymobile.pdf

August 5, 2013, letter to Bowman on the use of federal funds to transport homeless children with disabilities.  The letter answers four questions about the use of IDEA funds for transportation, when children without disabilities may ride a bus purchased with IDEA funds, whether a homeless child with a disability who relocates but continues to attend their school of origin has had a change of placement, and how the LEA of residence ensures the school of origin provides a free appropriate public education (FAPE).  The letter can be found at http://dese.mo.gov/se/documents/se-bowman-5aug13.pdf

August 20, 2013, Dear Colleague letter on a school district's responsibility to address bullying. Bullying of and by students with disabilities is discussed.  District's need to assure that a student who is bullied receives a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in accordance with their IEP and that students with disabilities who bully others have the necessary support and services in their IEP to address the inappropriate behaviors.  There is a discussion on changing the educational placement of a student who is being bullied and how that impacts the requirement to educate the student in the least restrictive environment.  OSEP encourages school districts to reevaluate policies and practices so that bullying does not occur.  The letter includes a resource "Effective Evidence -based Practices for Preventing and Addressing Bullying" which sets forth practices to use for bullying prevention and intervention to ensure that schools are a safe and nurturing environment for all children and adults.  The letter and enclosure can be found at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/index.html.