IDEA 1997 has been the legal mandate of educational requirements for students with disabilities for over a decade, yet there are still school communities that are noncompliant in serving the educational needs of students with disabilities.
Special Education Students and IDEA Noncompliance
The liability issues resulting in school communities that are noncompliant in the legal mandates of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) are putting the lives of students with disabilities and those in school communities at risk. The IDEA law mandated inclusionary participation of students with disabilities in educational communities and in mainstream classrooms to receive free appropriate education programs. The implementation of specialized designed IEPs (Individualized Education Plans) unique to the student's needs and disability were mandated by IDEA law to serve the student and the school community.
For Administrators who are the appointed gate-keepers of IDEA compliance in their school communities, it's time to get real on the potential dangers lurking in placement, accommodations and educational lesson planning for students with special needs. The following list is just the beginning of a longer list of liability issues that could derail the learning experience of students with disabilities and end the Administrative careers of their gate-keepers.
- If students' IEPs aren't being implemented or even read in providing accommodations and placement for students in the classroom, on the bus, and in social engagements, the risks are huge. For example, physical injury to staff, students, Administrators, bus drivers and volunteers could result if a Level 4 EBD (Emotionally Behavioral Disturbed) student with a disciplinary history of aggressive assaults and threats of violence is placed in mainstream classrooms when the IEP indicates the student's placement is in a self-contained classroom with one-on-one instructional assistance.
- Students who are not provided with FBA (Functional Behavioral Analysis) and a BIP (Behavioral Intervention Plan) in the IEP, when there is a known history of negative physical engagement or actions warranting an intervention plan in the school environment pose a potential liability for those who serve them and for those who are in their immediate learning environment.
- Students with IEPs who are not being served in classrooms are being marginalized academically. The inherent liability issues for IEP non-compliance have resulted in numerous lawsuits for Districts for not serving its most vulnerable students.
- Students who are psychologically, emotionally, socially, behaviorally and academically damaged due to noncompliance in the completion of their IEP, placement, or lack of proper implementation and design of the IEP can provide serious liability issues for school districts. Lack of annual evaluations and completions of IEPs can result in liability issues for school communities and educational limitations for students.
IDEA is the law and with all laws that govern the educational expectation of students who are being served in school communities, those who are gate-keepers contracted to serve, monitor, implement and evaluate areas of IEP and IDEA noncompliance must step it up or risk damage to the most precious core of a school; its students with disabilities.