It is with great pride that we share the news that our colleague, Bob Crabtree, will receive the 2017 Diane Lipton Award for Outstanding Advocacy from the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), a prominent national organization that protects the legal and civil rights of students with disabilities and their families. Each year, as part of their Annual Conference, COPAA honors the memory of Diane Lipton, a tireless advocate for children with disabilities for over two decades, with this award. Bob’s decades of leadership in legislative work, representation of myriad families in special education matters, training of innumerable special education attorneys and advocates, and his invaluable contribution to the library of special education advocacy make him a well deserving choice for this award. Congratulations Bob!
If I had my way, I would require every parent, expert, advocate and friend – that is to say, every living human – to read Andrew Solomon’s book, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, published (Scribner) in the fall of 2012. At this holiday season, I write to suggest this as a loving gift to anyone on your list (including yourself!). Continue reading
Our Massachusetts Special Education Reporter commentaries on Bureau of Special Education Appeals (“BSEA”) decisions from the first and second quarters of 2016 are now posted on our website. It’s always instructive (and often sobering) to see how hearing officers read and apply the law. They work hard to get it right, and while we don’t always agree with their analyses and rulings, we admire their integrity and diligence as they wrestle with the complex issues, standards, and procedures, seeking the appropriate results amidst the adversarial presentations of parents and districts. Continue reading
Bob Crabtree was asked recently to submit a comment on his “favorite” U.S. Supreme Court decision for the Boston Bar Association’s “Voices of the Bar”; this was his comment: Continue reading
KCS attorneys comment quarterly on Bureau of Special Education Appeals (“BSEA”) decisions and rulings for the Massachusetts Special Education Reporter. Eileen Hagerty’s commentary on the second quarter of 2015 is now available on our website. Continue reading
We often hear from parents who have asked their school districts to give them copies of evaluation reports as soon as the reports are completed, only to be told that they cannot have those reports until two days before the Team meeting at which the reports will be considered. Many districts will take this position even though the reports in question may have been completed weeks before that meeting. In our opinion, the districts’ position in those cases is flat wrong. Continue reading
Suppose a child exhibits troubling behaviors and/or difficulties learning basic skills in kindergarten or another early grade. Suppose further that, despite the child’s problematic performance, no teacher or other public school employee recommends that the child be evaluated. Perhaps that child passes through first and part of second grade with similar problems until finally a referral is made, an evaluation completed, and an IEP developed. Problem solved? Not entirely. The question remains whether the district should have taken these steps much earlier and whether any remedy is available to make up for the lost time and services.
The District of Columbia Circuit recently held that, although a school district’s provision of an IEP may satisfy the district’s obligations now and for the immediate future, parents may still be entitled to compensatory education for the months or years when their child was not yet on an IEP or identified as eligible for special education. Boose v. District of Columbia, 786 F.3d 1054 (D.C. Cir. 2015). Continue reading