Archives for posts with tag: special education

LGO Hatfield Pac and surroundingt 03-28-13 (2)

This resource from the Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) provides scaffolding for parents who wish to resolve disputes regarding the special education of their children. Specifically, “[T]his Reference Manual has been written to help laypersons understand and access the Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) dispute resolution processes. The Manual may also be useful for advocates and attorneys who have not practiced before the BSEA” (2009, BSEA, p. 2). BSEA Reference Manual

It is critical to keep communication going between administration and SEPAC; it is especially pressing that we discuss the AIMS (Academic Individualized Mainstream Support) program potential move from Wildwood to Fort River in Amherst. Many parents are deeply concerned about this,  alarmed at how the special education students of Wildwood have been singled out to compensate for the reorganization of the district elementary schools. SEPAC is hearing from concerned parents that this reorganization was done without parent consent or discussion. Any information on why this move, for the most vulnerable of student populations, is being initiated would be helpful to the Community. SEPAC Co-President, Melissa Paciulli, will represent concerned parents tonight in a statement to the School Committee. As always, your support is welcome.

NDRN: Department ED Must Do More to Stop Restraint and Seclusion of School Children
Secluded Child in Corner, Birdie ChampWASHINGTON – In a new report released today, the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) called on the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to do more to reduce and prevent the use of restraint and seclusion on school children.
“ED has not provided any meaningful leadership to reduce the use of restraint and seclusion − despite the fact that students are continuing to be confined, tied up, pinned down, battered and nearly killed on a regular basis,” said NDRN executive director Curt Decker.
This report is the third in a series of reports on restraint and seclusion by NDRN called School Is Not Supposed to Hurt. The first two reports were issued in 2009 and 2010. Many others, including the Government Accountability Office, have reported on deaths and injuries resulting from the use of restraint and seclusion in schools.
In this report, NDRN argues that ED is in the unique position to issue strong national guidance to state education agencies and local school districts about when the use of restraint and seclusion might violate anti-discrimination and education laws, similar to the guidance that the Office of Civil Rights has already issued on bullying and harassment. The guidance must at a minimum address that the use of physical restraint or seclusion is limited to circumstances when necessary to protect a child or others from imminent physical danger.
ED is also in the unique position to pull together a national summit of researchers, educators, mental health professionals and others to discuss whether restraint and seclusion has any therapeutic value and to develop evidence-based best practices to prevent and reduce the use of restraint and seclusion. ED should collaborate with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in this effort because SAMHSA has successfully supported efforts over the last decade to reduce the use of restraint and seclusion in mental health facilities.
ED can also prevent future injuries and deaths by investigating restraint and seclusion and requiring school districts to take appropriate corrective action.
Finally, ED can define the scope of the problem and how to address it by immediately using data it has collected for the 2009-2010 school year about the use of restraint and seclusion. ED should determine which school districts and schools have unusually high numbers of restraint and seclusion incidents, analyze what might be causing this, determine why children of color and/or those with disabilities are being disproportionately affected, and then fund demonstration and research projects to reduce – and eventually eliminate − restraint and seclusion in those schools.
“The examples in our report from Connecticut about scream rooms, and Kentucky where a boy was stuffed in a duffel bag, show the need for ED to take positive and strong actions,” continued Decker. “NDRN calls upon ED to take a stand and protect our school children by following the concrete suggestions proposed in this report.”
A copy of the report can be found at
The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.

Petition to Stop Seclusion & Restraint

Click here to sign a petition to stop seclusion and restraint of students!

How has your experience been with special education?

Click here to let us know your thoughts about special education. Your opinions are important to us!

As many of you know, roughly 1.5 years ago the Amherst Special Education Department underwent two reviews from outside agencies. The PCG and CPI survey and analysis identified strengths and areas of improvement for the District.

The PCG Report provided an analysis of the Special Education services as well as how parents were feeling about the process and their respective involvement. This report looked at many things, and SEPAC reviewed this in detail providing the Amherst Regional School Committee with feedback on areas that we felt strongly reflected the parents we were hearing from in the Special Education Community. The other report, the CPI report looked at the use of restraints within the district as well as techniques and training surrounding de-escalation and restraints and also provided some useful insight into this process. SEPAC will continue to advocate and monitor the findings in these reports and continue to provide parent feedback regarding both positive and negative experiences from parental perspectives regarding Special Education services here in the District.

We want to hear from you about your experience to date since these reviews were conducted. Please take a minute to provide feedback to SEPAC and follow this link to a TWO minute survey. This is not intended to replicate the previous evaluations, but provide a mechanism to families that we can monitor and evaluate and thereby provide parental input into systemic changes in special education within the District.

Please take a minute and tell us your thoughts !

Thank you, Melissa Paciulli SEPAC Co-President