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Sign-On and Support the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act (HR 2740)!

06/29/09
by Wrightslaw

In 2006, the Supreme Court decided that parents could not be reimbursed for expert witness fees in Arlington Central School District v. Murphy. The Murphy decision has made the playing field unlevel and unjust for parents who are forced to pursue due process. H.R. 2740 will override this decision.

Few parents can afford the high cost of paying technical, medical, and other expert witnesses themselves; by contrast, school districts can use taxpayer dollar to pay for experts or use staff on their payroll.

Please sign COPAA’s petition in support of the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act (H.R. 2740), a bill that would permit parents who prevail in due process and litigation to recover their expert witness fees.

Individual petition: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=Ib9OdiMVf9ZE2rcPz5F2DA_3d_3d.

Link for organizations and groups.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=ZqaHLUdhQIhctyl6F_2bSZEA_3d_3d

Why should this bill should be passed?…

We are seeking both individuals and organizations to sign in support.

Organizational Sign-Ons. We are seeking organizations and informal groups who would like to sign on in support of the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act. Last year, over 100 organizations signed on. Current signatories include COPAA, National Disability Rights Networks, Disability Rights, DREDF, National Down Syndrome Society, Autism Society of America, Autism National Committee, Our Children Left Behind, and many state and local organizations and parent support groups.

Your organization does not have to be incorporated. We welcome sign-ons from disability groups; informal networks of attorneys and advocates and others; parent support groups; health, civil rights, and other related organizations or groups; nonprofit organizations, public interest law firms and organizations, associations, and any other supportive groups or organizations of people. To sign your organization or group on, click here: Link for organizations and groups.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=ZqaHLUdhQIhctyl6F_2bSZEA_3d_3d

Even if you sign the organizational petition on behalf of an organization or group, you should sign the Individual petition on your own behalf.

Individuals: Sign COPAA’s Petition for Individuals! If you are a parent, attorney, advocate, family member, neighbor, friend, colleague, other professional, please sign COPAA’s petition for individuals who support the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act (H.R. 2740).

Let’s tell Congress that we support this bill and want it passed! More and more parents find that they cannot protect their children’s rights because they cannot afford it.

Please send this note to your friends, family, support groups, listservs, yahoo groups and others to ask them to sign the petition. There are 7.1 million children with disabilities and their rights are important. The link to sign COPAA’s individual petition.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=Ib9OdiMVf9ZE2rcPz5F2DA_3d_3d

Just click and fill in the information and you’ll be signed on.

The effects of not being able to afford expert fees can be pernicious.

In one case, a mother was forced to go to due process to implement the Independent Educational Evaluation recommendations for her child with severe dyslexia and a written expression disorder. She had to borrow $1,400 to pay the evaluator to testify, and for two days of cross-examination by the school district. The parent prevailed and the child received the reading instruction he needed. Before the Supreme Court’s Murphy decision, the mother could recover her expert fees; after Murphy, she would not. In other cases, solo practitioners report that they could not take cases pro bono because they had no way to afford the expert. The IDEA Fairness Restoration Act would go far to cure these problems.

You can read more about this important issue on COPAA’s website at
http://www.copaa.org/pdf/ MurphyBrochure.pdf
Note that this brochure may refer to H.R. 4188; that was last year’s bill. This is being updated and the new bill number is H.R. 2740.

This information is also available in Spanish,
http://www.copaa.org/pdf/ MSSpanish.pdf
Lea aqui en Espanol: Murphy y los derechos de los padres para recuperar el costo de los expertos. Importante! es el nuevo número H.R. 2740: http://www.copaa.org/pdf/ MSSpanish.pdf

A copy of the bill is on COPAA’s website here. http://www.copaa.net/publicpolicy/HR2740bill.php

You can find the full bill and follow the status at http://thomas.loc.gov/. In the box that says Search Bill Summary and Status, type IDEA Fairness and press search. This will take you to H.R. 2740.

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59 Comments on "Sign-On and Support the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act (HR 2740)!"


Diane
07/04/2009

As a parent that has been through Due Process, we understand the burden of the current law. Please pass HR 2740. Parents have such a extreme disadvantage with the current law. Our kids need us to be able to advocate for their needs.

Rob
07/04/2009

Yes, please pass HR 2740 bill the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act. I support this bill.

Pat
07/03/2009

I removed my children from the SChool District because of harassment and bullying that I feel started as a direct result of trying to obtain a fair due process hearing for my son who was placed in learning support to even with me for saying no more abuse. We exited a due process hearing because I knew it would be to costly and the harassment in this school district had already extended to the local community rurally. My sons and I were in danger and still are for our efforts to obtain a fair hearing and appropriate programming for my son who is now an honor student at a charter school. One of the hearing officers was a colleague of the husband of the elementary school principal. Her husband worked at same university as the hearing officer. She dismissed my son’s case when asked to leave the case.

Nancy
07/03/2009

I have been forced to file 2 due process suits and a civil rights violation. I have been forced to deal with the lies and illegal actions by the school personnel and their lawyers. By luck and preservation my children came out basically ahead.The Human rights bureau severely mishandled the HRV case and almost cost MY CHILD the case. I have found no lawyer in Montana that will help. I was forced to hire my own neuropyschologist who stood behind my 14 years of documentation. I have asked politicians to provide legal help for children. Accused criminals and suspected terriosts are assured legal representation yet our children, the future of our country, have no rights in the legal system. Schools can do as they please.No one cares for my children but me.

Melissa
07/02/2009

I have a 4 year old son with developmental delays and apraxia. I support this bill.