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

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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:

Link for organizations and groups.

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.

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.

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 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, 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: MSSpanish.pdf

A copy of the bill is on COPAA’s website here.

You can find the full bill and follow the status at 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)!"

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I support the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act. I have an 8 year old girl who has Autism and its very hard to get services available for her. The public school systems don’t provide the services for children with special needs, so the parents are left with getting services to their children. We as a nation need to put our priorities in order and take care of our children.

Please pass this bill, it seems unfair when you have a parent who cannot afford an attorney and need to pursue due process against the school district who come with an enitre team of professionals. This is not the fair, it seems unconstitutional. If the parents prevail they should be awared their attorney fees to be reimbused. We are parents advovating for our children. Advocating for appropriate services and placements in order for them to be sucessful.

I support the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act. HB 2740

There should not be two levels of parents who want to fight for their kids right to IEEs, or need expert witnesses to support and advocate for them. Money should not be the only thing that talks, when it comes to getting our children the education they deserve!


i support this act because i have a down’s syndrome boy who has been deprived of adequate services under the system’s excuse of lack of funding while thousands of dollars are spent in non essential activities such as papers to promote or advertise people in the system and not real work or reading programs that don’t teach any kid to read and go on the system without really being able to do so even when they are not special ed students

Please help families with special needs children. Not only for the parents but FOR THE CHILDREN. As a mother of a child with Fragile X and a concerned citizen of the United States, I pray that Congress will search their hearts and minds and know just how important this is to children/families with special needs. We as he United States need to do whats right and that is support the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act (H.R. 2740) I truly pray for the support of this bill. Give these children and their families the support they need to give special needs children every opportunity out there for them. Its NOT about the “MONEY,” its about doing what is RIGHT to help these families pay for services/education their child/children so desperately need. I ask to do it for the children and as a mother, for my son Ty.

I am in support of the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act.

School districts need to be properly monitored so that the federal money that is suppose to be available goes to the intended source and not arbitraily used by the districts?
Please Pass HR 2740 and restore FAIRNESS. I support this bill. Passing this bill would give districts the incentive to provide appropriate services, and that there will be accountability. Unfortunately, I’ve learned through personal experience that school districts will do as little as they can get away with for special needs students.

I am the mother of an 11 year old. He has had an IEP since first grade and has had tutors every summer. However, he is still reading on a second grade reading level. He was diagnosed in the 1% severe dyslexia and written expression. There is also speech issues. In which he has had private speech classes and speech twice a week @ school. Pulling him out of his reading class for speech. This stopped once we learned about it. School District was real good keeping that from us. I started the Special Education parent support group in this district and I was just voted in as Chair person for the County Task Force. I am currently entering into a Due Process hearing with our district and I’m several thousands of dollars into it w/ an atty & advocate. And all I asked for was the Wilson Reading program for my son and was denied.

Please allow parents to fight for their children’s rights by passing the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act. The school districts really need to be held more accountable for their actions.

I support the HR274o bill!!!!! Parents need help with situations like these!!!!

Please support the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act. It will help bring fairness to parents who are trying to advocate for their children in the Special Education system. Thank you.

The public is paying for the school’s lawyer fees; therefore, parents should be reimbursed out of public funds, too.

Please support this effort.

I have taught Special Education students for over 20 years. I have also practiced law, in NYS, for 14 years, during which time I prosecuted and represented juvenile delinquents, abused and neglected children and runaways. With all of that experience, I have yet to know of a school district that has an office dedicated to Parent Advocacy, for navigating PL 94-142 and all of its progeny. Until such an office is funded, parents only receive lip service, not due process.

Being a parent of disabled child is hard enough with out the stresses that go with fighting a system that is supposed to be helping you. It is even more racially disparate when only those with financial resources can access the services, because they can afford the evaluations. Working with families in poverty, I often see kids who were never properly diagnosed in school, and the child is failing and dropping out of school. Our goal should be the same, to assure that all children are able to graduate.

As a mother of a deaf child I feel that this bill needs to be passed

Yes, the solution is to get the tax payer to pay for every law suit. While we’re at it. Why not dismantle every small school district in the country (the ones who can’t afford a law suit) and only leave the big districts. That will serve us well. There are strong protections in place. If you have an issue, take it to your superintenden, school board, office of public instruction, resresentative, department of ed. If you get nowhere you probably don’t have a case. If you do, then sue and pay for it. Just like everyone else.

Lets help our children by advocating for them. We need a FAPE that will work for us, not against us!

I fully support this Bill ! I am the mother of an 11 yr old boy with down syndrome. We are in the middle of fighting our town in Massachusetts for the least restrictive environment and inclussion for our son. though we are still in the beginning of our fight I can see it heading toward experts already. It should not be this difficult to have towns do what is the law.

I support the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act (H.R. 2740). Otherwise, parents are paying for their own experts and through their taxes are paying the schools’ experts. That is not right!
Stand up for the rights of special needs children!

support these kids and their families. I am raising a developmentally disabled teen who I have had since infancy. I am single(husband split) and don’t get appropriate curriculum, they said she reached a plateau so she doesn’t even have OT or any therapies unless I bus her 3 cities away. I don’t drive and she is very vulnerable. She is teachable and wants friends.

Without funding, so many of us will not be able to move our children in a forward direction without appropriate programs. Please continue to help us help our children.

I am the parent of a special needs child who has been through the process. I support this bill

I am the mother of two adopted children. My daughter was diagnosed with ADD 5 years ago, she is now 15. My son was diagnosed with ADHD and ATTACHMENT DISORDER at the age of 8, he is now 14 . WE pay for both of them to see a Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric. We also take our son to counseling.WE have paid for Special Education Consultants and psychologist. My son has a 504 which is really not much help.We worked hard to get our son passing grades,after all this hard work his principal said he probably not be allowed back to the middle school he attended last year.My son made his first friend at this school,he has never had a friend. He can’t return to the school in our district because of severe bullying.Where does this leave us? His psychologist made some suggestions for my sons education , none were used.

Passing this bill would give districts the incentive to provide appropriate services, and that there will be accountability. Without such a bill, districts will always have an unfair advantage.

I support the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act. Please make sure that District’s reimburse experts costs to prevailing parents in special education matters. It is the only way that many parents can ensure that their children receive appropriate educations.

I wish I had help years ago when I had to sue the school district for not following my sons 504 Plan. If we don’t stand up for our children, who will?

The playing field needs to be equal. Our tax dollars should not be used to support school districts’ legal fees. We as parents should only have to pay at the same cost level as what an individual person in a school districts pays out of their pocket – nothing, it’s free for them. Children are being unfairly represented!
Why are school districts not monitored properly so that the federal money that is “suppose” to be available actually is appropriated to the intened source and not to the source “arbitrarily chosen” by the leaders in the districts?
Please Pass HR 2740 and restore FAIRNESS. I support this bill.

I agree completely with what was said by “5Sheryl” previously, “The playing field needs to be equal. My tax dollars should not be used to support school districts’ legal fees. Parents should be allowed to pay at the same cost level as what an individual person in a school districts pays out of their pocket – nothing, it’s free for them. Children are being unfairly represented!”

Please Support the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act (HR 2740)!

Yes I support this bill for so many of us here in North Texas looses out in special education laws.especially in high school.

This cost applies to me as single Mother of three, two with special needs. My oldest son has IEP for emotional needs, recently diagnosed with complex partial seizures as cause for his depression and suicide attempts, I fought with the school over placement and assistance for 4 yrs. and kept hitting a brick wall. My middle son is 16 and M.R. and no transitional services in place despite his IEP since beginning school as a child for mental/cognitive delays. Last IEP they still could not offer any transitional assistance and he is not college material.

The playing field needs to be equal. My tax dollars should not be used to support school districts’ legal fees. Parents should be allowed to pay at the same cost level as what an individual person in a school districts pays out of their pocket – nothing, it’s free for them. Children are being unfairly represented!

The Arlington Case has had the unintended consequence of turning the IDEA into the WIDEA – Wealthy Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Effective advocacy by parents is the only assurance of an appropriate education in the least restrictive environment that Congress and the Rowley Court intended to provide for children with disabilities. Arlington prices all but the wealthiest of parents out of the effective advocacy ((due process) market, leaving districts free to provide whatever they choose – whether appropriate or not; whether in the least restrictive environment or not. In the interests of justice and equity, the playing field needs to be leveled by permitting prevailing parents to recover their expert fees.

Parents need a break (financial and emotional). Until Congress, OSEP, DOE, OCR, et. al. get their act together and show some hutspa regarding REAL monitoring and ENFORCE-MENT of these laws, its a loosing battle for parent advocates and especially the children with special needs! After all these years why are only nine states in compliance? Why after spending billions of dollars has there NEVER been a FORENSIC AUDIT of the Federal money passed through to school districts. I’d guess forensic audits would show that much of the money intended for use of students is instead being spent on Due (DUPED) Process and litigation. Parents are put in position of financially supporting both sides of the litigation. Paying their own attorney/experts as Petitioners, and through their tax dollars, paying for the Defense as well. This MUST be stopped.

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

I am an unemployed single school teacher heading into due process with a County School District in Florida over a Least Restrictive Environment issue. I have 4 meetings with the district including the hearing. I can not afford any representation They have a lawyer on staff and all of the specialists that are available in their staff pool. This is not the way the American legal system is supposed to work. The odds are completely out of balance. This kind of open discrimination is criminal.