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2016 - Newslines

Posted: 12/30/2016

The U.S. Department of Education recently released three new sets of guidance to assist the public in understanding how it interprets and enforces federal civil rights laws protecting the rights of students with disabilities. These guidance documents clarify the rights of students with disabilities, and the responsibilities of educational institutions in ensuring that all students have the opportunity to learn.

The guidance released today includes a parent and educator resource guide ; a Dear Colleague letter (DCL) and question and answer document on the use of restraint and seclusion in public schools; and a DCL and question and answer documents on the rights of students with disabilities in public charter schools.

Posted: 12/28/2016

The U.S. Department of Education today made available to the public final regulations under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) aimed at promoting equity.

Posted: 12/12/2016

On December 9, the White House released a new capstone report with updates about projects launched and local progress made in response to the Administration’s Rethink Discipline efforts. Rethink Discipline was launched as part of President Barack Obama’s My Brothers’ Keeper initiative and aims to support all students and promote a welcome and safe climate in schools.

The full report is available HERE .

Posted: 12/7/2016

A fact sheet summarizes these new rules which are designed to help ensure every student receives a high quality education and is set up for success in college and career.

Read the press release.

Posted: 11/22/2016

U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. sent a letter today urging state leaders to end the use of corporal punishment in schools, a practice repeatedly linked to harmful short-term and long-term outcomes for students. Data has shown that students with disabilities and students of color are disproportionally impacted by corporal punishment.

Read the press release

Posted: 10/12/2016

Carl Leupker was diagnosed at the age of 10 with a genetic condition known as dystonia, a neurological disorder that causes painful muscle spasms and affects his speech. It makes it difficult to walk, write, and speak. Despite his challenges, Carl spent 20 years teaching in the Minneapolis Public Schools, and is married with two children.

His son, Liam, who is now 11, has been diagnosed with dystonia. Leupker recently wrote an article for the Washington Post about passing this disorder to his son.

“Like any loving parent, I don’t regret anything about who my child was born to be,” Leupker writes. “Dystonia has been cruel enough to me that I’m angry only at the injustice that Liam will have to relive this struggle in his own way.”
Leupker has also written the first of a trilogy titled Spite: The Biding Time Series , a fantasy story about children with disabilities and the power they unlock with the help of an energy healer.

The Kindle edition of the book is available on Amazon. PACER supporters can make purchases on AmazonSmile , which will donate 0.5 percent of the price of eligible purchases to Pacer Center, Inc.

Posted: 9/26/2016

The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice have released a set of resources that address improving school climates, ensuring safety, and supporting student achievement. The resources include tools and guidance for local educational agencies (LEAs) and state educational agencies (SEAs) to responsibly incorporate School Resource Officers (SROs) into the learning environment.

Letters from these departments emphasize the importance of well-designed SRO programs. To assist in the K-12 context, the Departments also jointly released the Safe, School-based Enforcement through Collaboration, Understanding, and Respect (SECURe) Rubrics .

These new resources can help education and law enforcement agencies that use SROs to review and, if necessary, revise SRO-related policies in alignment with common-sense action steps that can lead to improved school safety and better outcomes for students while safeguarding their civil rights.

Visit for more information about the Administration's work on school climate and discipline

Posted: 9/14/2016

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) has released determinations on each state’s implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for Part B (children ages 3-21) and Part C (infants and toddlers) for fiscal year 2014.

Annually, states must report the progress it has made in meeting the targets established in the State Performance Plan (SPP). IDEA details four categories for determination: meets the requirements and purposes of IDEA, needs assistance, needs intervention, or needs substantial intervention.

This year, 26 states and territories met the “Meets Requirements” determination. Minnesota met that determination for both Part B and Part C — one of only 16 states to meet in both areas.

Posted: 9/7/2016

September marks the 27th annual National Recovery Month, designed to bring greater awareness to the value of chemical and mental health treatment. This year’s theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery!” highlights the value of peer support by educating, mentoring and helping others.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported in 2014 that about 21.5 million Americans ages 12 and older (8.1%) were classified with a substance use disorder in the past year. Of those, 2.6 million had problems with both alcohol and drugs.  By 2020, mental and substance use disorders will surpass all physical diseases as a major cause of disability worldwide.

PACER’s Children’s Mental Health and Emotional or Behavioral Disorders Project brings together parents, youth, and professionals to help families receive the resources and support their children need. Learn more about PACER’s Children’s Mental Health and Emotional or Behavioral Disorders Project.

Recovery Month will include a variety of ceremonies, activities, and celebrations across the state. Read Gov. Dayton’s proclamation of September as Recovery Month .

Posted: 8/12/2016

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) has issued guidance in the form of a Dear Colleague Letter  to ensure students with disabilities who attend public virtual schools receive the special education and supports they need.

The letter clarifies the responsibility for a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to children with disabilities attending public virtual schools. It also requires each state and school district to enact child find policies so that all children with disabilities residing in the state who are in need of special education and related services, including those who attend virtual schools, are identified and evaluated.

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