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Understanding the Law
According to the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA), Jesse’s teachers had a number of responsibilities in their jobs. Firstly, they were obliged to offer alternative mechanism of assessment for learners with disabilities (Bateman & Cline, 2016). In addition, they were required to organize a learning environment that is least restrictive or as normal as possible. Thirdly, the teachers are required to engage in developing personal educational plans for pupils with disabilities. In the background of learners with disabilities, assessment means the collection of data concerning a pupil aiming to identify his power or strength and to make a decision on a particular academic support, which the student requires. In this regarding, the teacher should introduce conventional assignments with portfolios that are a gathering of the work of the student that illustrate Jesse’s development over time (Gaddis, 2011). It normally involves some kind of evaluative or reflective comments from the teacher, pupil, or both. Additionally, the teacher is has a role of devising a process for observing the learner on a regular basis and keeping records regarding the observations for future assessment and consideration. The teacher can hire teacher assistants who can assist a learner with a disability (Bateman & Cline, 2016). Such assistant can also introduce brief activity or test to pupils with disability and subsequently discuss or report the result with the teacher.
Secondly, the teacher has the responsibility of creating a least restrictive environment (LRE). Precisely, this refers to an integration of settings that encompass the learner with constant school and classrooms programs as much as possible (Gaddis, 2011). The specific combination is dependent on the circumstances of a certain student or school. For instance, a learner such as Jesse in kindergarten may utilize a lot of time with a teacher assistant to benefit from professional assistance, and spend more time playing or working with classmates. Similarly, such a student may also use much of his time in normal kindergarten class (Bateman & Cline, 2016). Such students normally encounter learning disabilities which are deficiencies in particular elements of learning, and particularly reading.
Thirdly, the law also encourages teachers handling a student with disability to introduce a yearly individual educational plan (IEP) for every learner. The plan is developed by a group of persons who understand the needs and strengths of the students. It also includes student’s guardian, parent, and special education tutor (Gaddis, 2011). For this reason, the first kindergarten teacher did not introduce the alternative assessments designed to enable the teacher discover the special needs of the learner. In this regard, the teacher failed to introduce mechanisms that would help her highlight the strengths, weaknesses and needs of Jesse. Moreover, the teachers made an error because they did not establish a least restrictive environment which includes a wide range of settings which can facilitate the proper cognitive development of the learner. In this regard, the teacher did not introduce adaptation to the curriculum that could enable the learner to slow acclimatize the learning process (Bateman & Cline, 2016). Finally, there was not individual educational plan for Jesse.
The school district is not complying with the requirements of the Section 504 in the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) (Bateman & Cline, 2016). Therefore, the attorney and parent should request the school district to voluntary comply via the Office of Civil Right (OCR) who can demand a corrective action or negotiation agreement. When the school district is unable to attain voluntary compliance, OCR will introduce enforcement action (Bateman & Cline, 2016). For instance, the OCR can trigger enforcement action by launching administrative proceedings to dismiss financial aid from Department of Education or bring up case at the justice system.
When the involved parties are incapable of solving the disputes amicably, they continue to a due process hearing. At this point, a trained and impartial hearing officer listens to the issues and the evidence, and subsequently delivers a hearing decision. Moreover, every party has an opportunity to present the legal arguments, documents, testimony and witnesses (Gaddis, 2011). I think that the due process hearing officer ruled that the school district was in contravention with the Section 504 of the IDEA legislation because the school district failed to create procedures and standards for early evaluations and constant re-evaluations of Jesse who required special education or/and associated services due to disability (Bateman & Cline, 2016). The officer ruled that the school district failed to comply with the law because it did not administer tests to determine the achievement or aptitude of the student (Gaddis, 2011). Moreover, the school did not introduce evaluations designed to assess certain areas of academic need.
In New Jersey, due process system is an official adversarial trial through an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). In the course of the process, the ALJ will hear the evidence from all parties including expert witness and will acquire documentary evidence from every side to reinforce the position (New Jersey, 2018). Subsequently, the ALJ will pay close attention to documentary evidence and testimony and deliver a written decision. In case either party disagrees with the verdict issued by the ALJ, they are given an opportunity to appeal the decision by presenting a civil complaint in federal or state court (New Jersey, 2018). A party cannot file a grievance in federal or state court prior to all the administrative solutions by ensuring that the case is first handled by the ALJ at the Administrative Law Office.
Bateman, D. F., & Cline, J. L. (2016). A Teacher’s Guide to Special Education. ASCD.
Gaddis, W. (2011). Understanding the Laws Related to Students With Disabilities (1st ed., p. Chapter 10).
New Jersey. (2018). Converting “Mediation Only” to a Due Process Hearing. Retrieved from https://www.state.nj.us/education/specialed/due/convert.shtml