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August 12, 2022

The Ally: Your Child's Right to a Free and Appropriate Public Education


Earlier in August, we shared that on July 19, the United States' Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) released new guidance about supporting students with disabilities at school. We also shared that we would highlight practical points from the guidance in the coming weeks.

The guidance focuses on children with 504 plans and their protections under the law. Students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) have these same protections, plus additional rights. In this week's edition of the Ally, we share information about 504 plans and how 504 plans relate to informal removals (for example, when the school calls you to pick up your child), risk assessments, and evaluations. 

In our resource section, we included information about homeschooling, how to help children who don't want to go to school, and mental health resources for back-to-school. We hope you find these resources helpful.

Please join us for our Leadership Coaching and Policy Discussion on August 24 from noon to 1:00 p.m. CDT. We will discuss the recently released information about 504 plans and how we can use it to ensure all our children have the opportunity to learn and succeed in school. We want all children, including those associated with Families as Allies, to have the chance to live meaningful lives in their homes, schools and communities. Working together, we can make that vision a reality.

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The Dept. of Education guidance document explains information and rights related to students with disabilities with 504 Plans.
Recent guidance details how students should be evaluated if it appears they may need 504 plans or Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).
If your child’s school asks you about obtaining a threat or risk assessment, you want to ensure the school doesn’t discriminate against your child.
Schools are required to not discriminate against children with disabilities and to ensure they receive a free and appropriate public education.


This group will focus on opportunities for leadership training graduates to serve on decision-making groups, provide coaching guidance.
The Mississippi Developmental Disabilities Network is hosting community forums in the Jackson, Gulf Coast, and Southaven areas in August.
Family members may drop in to share any concerns or get feedback from others about handling different situations.
This conference will provide parents, advocates, and professionals the opportunity to learn resources and evidence-based best practices.
Join Jackson Futbol Club for their first Mississippi Chasing Awareness event to help raise funds for Suicide Prevention.
The Peer Support Specialist Professional Supervisor Training is designed for agency administration/management and CPSSP Supervisors.
Join other parents for a monthly meeting and online gathering to coach and support other parents in any system.
This hour is open for any family member to drop in for all or some of the time to ask questions or get feedback about IEP issues.
The BIDD has launched an awareness campaign in recognition of March as Intellectual and Developmental Disability Awareness Month.
Participate in up to 7 Keynotes and 26 Breakout Sessions that encourage new coping strategies and resiliency for service providers.
The MAAC’s mission is “to study, make recommendations and develop a strategic plan on how best to educate and train students with ASD.


Home Schooling in Mississippi as an Alternative to Public School Education.
Adolescence is already a confusing time without added concerns about social media, safety in schools, staying healthy, family financial security, and loss of loved ones—so we shouldn’t be surprised that the rates of anxiety, depression, suicide, and other mental health conditions are on the rise.
“Sharing your identity and being vulnerable helps you grow and develop throughout your life,” said Alex Jones.