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1. Bullying & Harassment: School Officials Knew, Failed to Act, Deliberately Indifferent
A parent filed suit for actual and punitive damages against the school board, superintendent, vice principal and guidance counselor. The complaint alleges that the child was bullied, harrassed in school for years while school personnel looked on, engaged in a conspiracy, did nothing to stop the bullying or protect the child. Finally, the child committed suicide.
Two defenses raised by the defendants were that they had immunity and that statute of limitations had run. They also argued that their failure to provide FAPE did not cause the child's suicide.
In the pleadings, the parent's attorney argued that "Defendants knew and failed to act in response to the bullying situation, and that at least one defendant made the situation worse when she refused to move from J.D.'s class a student who was a known threat to him, despite her requests ... "
The Court held that these allegations were "sufficient to state a claim." The Court added that "Allegations that defendants failure to effectively address J.D.'s special education needs and the ongoing bullying situation support an inference that defendants were deliberately indifferent to J.D.'s rights."
Read Judith Scruggs, Administratix of Estate of Daniel Scruggs v. Meriden Bd of Ed., E. Ruocco, M. B. Iacobelli, and Donna Mule (U. S. District Court, Connecticut, 2005).
The decision in Scruggs v. Meriden Bd. of Ed., E. Ruocco, M.B. Iacobelli, and Donna Mule. was rendered in August 2005. We will keep you posted on developments in this case.
On December 7, 2005, the Superior Court of the New Jersey Appellate Division upheld a $50,000 award from a school district to a child for the emotional distress caused by harassment and bullying. Read L.W. v. Toms River Regional School Bd of Education (N.J. Super. App. Div) from the Rutgers Law Library.
More special education caselaw.
Learn about discrimination and harassment.
2. Free Pub: Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crimes: A Guide for Schools
One obstacle in advocating for a child with a disability is finding the time to do research. We spend hours collecting information so you can spend your time learning, not searching.
Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crimes: A Guide for Schools is published by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights and the National Association of Attorneys General.
"Research indicates that creating a supportive school climate is the most important step in preventing harassment. A school can have policies and procedures, but these alone will not prevent harassment. This is the kind of good preventive work the field needs to help ensure that schools provide a safe and welcoming environment for all students."
3. Doing Your Homework: My Child Isn't Learning - What Can I Ask the School to Do?
"My child is 8 years old and has a learning disability. He has received special education for more than a year but he isn't learning to read. What can I ask the school to do?"
Can I Ask the School to Do?, research editor Sue Heath
offers advice about what you can ask schools to do - and
how to do it. Learn about evaluations, IEPs, research-based
programs, retention, and other thorny issues.
4. Ask the Advocate: How Can I Get the School to Help?
"I have asked and asked the school to give my child extra help. The school never does anything."
Pat Howey offers commonsense advice to a parent who is frustrated because the school ignore her requests for help. In Strategies When the School Ignores Your Requests for Help, Pat teaches you about paper trails, IEP meetings, and how to write a parent report. Read article.
Read more articles by Pat Howey in Ask the Advocate (and download Pat's new tips booklet, 14 Tips: Reviewing Your Child's Educational Records.)
As a member of the Wrightslaw Speaker's Bureau, Pat Howey presents From Emotions to Advocacy programs and special education law and advocacy training seminars.
5. Free Shipping & Savings in Wrightslaw Holiday Special
Are you looking for a special gift for a friend or family member? Wrightslaw books make great gifts for friends, family members, teachers, colleagues, and advocates.
make your gift unique, Pete and Pam will autograph your books.
Your books will be packed in holiday gift boxes.
Learn about the Wrightslaw Holiday Special - and act soon, the Holiday Special ends on December 20!
6. Subscription & Contact Info
The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education legal and advocacy issues, cases, and tactics and strategies. Newsletter subscribers also receive "alerts" about new cases, events, and special offers on Wrightslaw books. Subscribe