Protecting and Advocating for 
the Rights of People with Disabilities in Texas
School hallway with windows on left and doors on the right
Back to School 2018
Special Edition
In this edition:
  • TEA Corrective Action Plan in Action
  • Considering Students with Disabilities in School Safety Plans
  • Supported Decision Making for Transition-Age Students
  • Featured Special Education Resources
wheel cogs that say plan_ implement_ improve_ evaluate

Texas Education Agency Corrective Action Plan Goes Into Effect This School Year

As many of you know, the U.S. Department of Education required the Texas Education Agency to create and implement a corrective action plan that goes into effect this school year after an investigation found TEA to be in violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Starting in 2006, TEA had enacted an illegal 8.5 special education enrollment limit, denying thousands of children the services they are entitled to by law. 

One part of the plan involves students not yet identified as needing special educations services. This fall, schools must make an extra effort through targeted outreach to reach and refer students for an initial evaluation. For parents of children not yet receiving any special services or receiving 504 or Response to Intervention (RtI) services who feel like these programs are not meeting your child's needs, ask your district for a special education evaluation. You don't need to wait for school to start - you can ask today.

Another part of the plan involves students who have Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). The committee that writes the IEP must consider whether any delays in referral to special education entitle the student to "compensatory" services to make up for what she should have received.


school zone sign with yellow crime scene tape

Considering Students with Disabilities in School Safety Plans
 
Disability Rights Texas continues to think about all who have been impacted by school violence including those at Sante Fe High School. This summer, our staff and other organizations have been busy educating state leaders on the importance of creating school safety plans that are accessible to students with disabilities. 

We have also communicated serious concern about the surge in students with disabilities being taken into custody and funneled in the juvenile justice system. Though we certainly are in agreement that the safety of all students is critical, reaction to perceived threats must follow legal and educational protocols. Sometimes a student's behavior is a result of his disability and can be misinterpreted as a danger to a school. 

We encourage parents of students with disabilities to ask your school how its risk assessments are considering disability and what your school is doing to proactively address certain behaviors with up-to-date behavioral intervention plans based on current assessments.

teen girl sitting on sofa having a discussion with her mom

Supported Decision-Making for Transition-Age Students

As students enter high school, they focus on what they are going to do next, whether it's college, trade school, or work. Students with disabilities are thinking about the same things.

Since a disability can sometimes cause challenges in these next steps, preparation through school transition planning is key to successfully helping students with disabilities to become young adults who live independently and achieve their goals.

A new Texas law passed in the last legislative session ensures that transition planning has all the elements necessary to fully enable a young person with a disability to be ready for adulthood, including the development of decision-making skills. Starting this school year, schools are required to share information about alternatives to guardianship including supported decision-making. 

Guardianship removes most if not all of a person's legal rights. With supported decision-making, a person with a disability keeps her rights and selects a supporter to help her navigate life choices.  Some parents are told or think they need to obtain guardianship of their children when they turn 18, but many students with disabilities can live successfully with support from a trusted person. 

If your student is receiving transition services, make sure the school is providing information on supported decision-making and other alternatives to guardianship.

DRTx has several resources on supported decision-making on their website, including a comprehensive toolkit, legal forms, videos, and more. 
Lynn Murphy and Steven Aleman on Facebook video presenting info on back to school

Back to School Facebook Live and YouTube Videos

Check out our recent Facebook Live video including an ASL version that goes into more detail on the information in this newsletter edition. You can also view the video with English and Spanish captions or in ASL on our YouTube channel
Featured Special Education Self-Advocacy Resources


 

Other special education resources recommended by DRTx:

Texas Special Education Information Center (SPEDTex)

Partners Resource Network



Wrightslaw Conference in Dallas in October 2018 (there is a fee for this event)

Did a friend forward this newsletter to you? Click the box below to subscribe now and receive it directly to your Inbox:

Subscribe
to our newsletter
Need Help?
If you are a Texan with a disability who believes your rights have been violated, please call our Intake Line at 1.800.252.9108 or our Sign Language Video Intake Line at 1.888.362.2851. Intake hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Online Intake Available 24/7
Can't call during our regular intake hours or can't get through due to high call volume? Click here  
to complete our online intake form available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

DRTX Quick Links:
Our Website: 
Disability Rights Texas (previously named Advocacy Inc.) is the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency (P&A) for people with disabilities in Texas. Its mission is to help people with disabilities understand and exercise their rights under the law, ensuring their full and equal participation in society. Visit www.DRTx.org for more information.
GET SOCIAL WITH US!

  Like me on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   View our videos on YouTube   View on Instagram