In our April 6 blog post, we wrote about the stimulus bill (CARES Act) provision that threatens to alter the rights of special needs children and parents during the pandemic.
Some areas that could be affected if waivers are granted pursuant to this provision include a school district's "child find" obligation, procedural timelines, what constitutes a valid IEP meeting, a child's right to a timely IEP meeting and impartial hearing, and compensatory education for this period.
We are writing to emphasize the importance of taking action now to oppose these waivers and speak up about protecting the rights of children with special needs.
You can take action by contacting Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as your representative in the House of Representatives, to tell them to protect the civil rights of children with disabilities.
Your message should state the following:
No waivers are needed to IDEA (as IDEA already contains significant flexibility)
Congress needs to provide additional funding to states so that they can meet the needs of students with disabilities during this pandemic.
For your reference, I am including a message from the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) here. You can use similar language in your email or write your own.
Below are links for you to follow to contact the appropriate individuals:
Senator Charles Schumer - https://www.schumer.senate.gov/contact/email-chuck
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand – https://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/contact/email-me
Find your Representative - https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
Ask your relatives, friends, and colleagues to contact Congress as well to maximize the impact of our efforts to protect the rights of children with special needs.