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The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
May 5, 2000

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Issue - 71

ISSN: 1538-3202


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1. News! Whitehead Retaliation Case Against Hillsborough Florida Settles 

In April 1998, we heard a rumor that a Florida jury had just awarded $600,000 in damages to parents of a disabled child. After we contacted the parents and their attorney and confirmed the facts in the case, we sent out our first Alert

The Whitehead case was front page news in the FIRST issue of THE SPECIAL ED ADVOCATE newsletter, published on April 21, 1998.

And this was a very good newsletter!

We asked Laura Whiteside, attorney for the parents, to write an article about "The Inside Story of the $600,000 Jury Verdict" for the Wrightslaw site. She graciously agreed. This link will take you to "The Inside Story" by Laura Whiteside

The case began when the parents asked the school district to provide the one hour a week of speech language therapy that the district agreed their child required.

When the district refused, the parents requested a due process hearing.

The Hearing Officer ruled in their favor, finding that Hillsborough County School District was not providing the child with a free appropriate public education, and that the district had discriminated against him and retaliated against his parents.

The school district refused to implement the Hearing Officer's decision. Finally the parents brought suit in federal court to enforce the order and get services for their son.

On May 2, 2000, the Hillsborough County School Board voted to approve the settlement of Whitehead v. HCSD. To read the family's Press Release (in pdf), which includes a history of the case, and a personal statement by Keith and Nikole Whitehead.


2. Effective Parent Advocacy: STAND!

While their case was unfolding, Keith and Nikole Whitehead established a non-profit organization called Statewide Advocacy Network on Disabilities (STAND) to help families of children with disabilities in educational planning.

STAND offers free information and assistance to families who are attempting to negotiate the special education maze. For more information, contact STAND, P. O. Box 1836, Tampa, FL 33601-1836 or call (813) 258-5700. The President of STAND is our good friend, Mark Kamleiter, Esq. 


3. Retaliation: The California "Enemies List "

The verdict in the Whitehead case made us aware of other instances of retaliation against parents. In California, school districts maintained and circulated the names of special ed parents who were viewed as "enemies" of schools because they advocated on behalf of their children.

Read the article about the California Enemies List


4. CD-ROM Offer from Wrightslaw 

Many people have written and called with questions about the WRIGHTLAW CD ROM OFFER.

The OFFER ends in less than one week. Don't procrastinate! SUPPLIES ARE LIMITED.

Follow this link for the html page about the CD-ROM OFFER.


5. Law Library Reorganized: New Links 

When you visit the Law Library, you'll see that we've reorganized this section of the site.

Main entrance to Law Library.

There are four areas in the Law Library:

Legal News

Caselaw

Statute & Regulations

Articles & Reports

WE NEED YOUR HELP: When we reorganize an area of the site, we make the site more user-friendly. The downside is that we unwittingly create "broken links."

If you find a broken link, please send an email to brokenlink@wrightslaw. In the subject line of your message, write BROKEN LINK. Please tell us where you were and what you were looking for so we can fix the link. Thanks!

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6. Express Your Views! Special Education Consumer Survey 

The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) wants to hear from you!

You can participate in their comprehensive planning process by completing their on-line Special Education Consumer Survey. This is your opportunity to provide input, and help shape activities
that will link best practices to states, school systems, and families to improve results for infants, toddlers, and children with disabilities.

Here is the web address for the Special Education Consumer Survey:

http://www.osepplanning.org/index.htm

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Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
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Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
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Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board
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