The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
November 29, 2001

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Issue: 144
ISSN: 1538-3202

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Highlights: Sound Off: Your Reactions to One Million Dollar Verdict in Retaliation case; Advocacy Training in Hawaii; Free Pub about Behavior Problems and IEPs; new issue of The Beacon about "Paper Trails," Did You Send Us Personal Information This Week?

Subscribers on November 29, 2001: 33,560

1. Sound Off: 1 Million Dollar Retaliation Case

What did you think when you heard about the one million dollar verdict for the fired special ed teacher in the Oregon retaliation case? Newsletter subscribers wrote to share their thoughts and reactions.

Many parents wrote to thank Pamella Settlegoode for battling the system and to wish her a good Thanksgiving. Oregon parents felt relieved and affirmed to learn that they were not alone.

Several special ed teachers wrote to describe their own experiences with retaliation when they advocated for their students.

Gary Mayerson, attorney for children with disabilities, wrote, "What a great decision -- it should send shock waves!"

Read what other people wrote in Sound Off! (Pam's personal favorite is the message from Jerry of Minnesota.)

Did you miss our Alert about the one million dollar verdict for Pamella Settlegoode, the fired special ed teacher?

Read the "inside story" of the one million dollar verdict. Article includes Pete Wright's interview of Pamella Settlegoode and her attorney husband Bill Goode, an analysis of the case, and links to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Portland Oregon, the proposed Pre-Trial Order that details the factual and legal issues, and the Judge's Jury instructions.

2. Join Pete & Pam for Advocacy Training on December 7-8, 2001

Please join Pete and Pam Wright for an intensive two-day special education law and advocacy training program in Honolulu on December 7-8, 2001.

The first day of training is based on Wrightslaw: Special Education Law; the second day is based on our new book, From Emotions to Advocacy.

The conference is sponsored by Parent Friends Education & Support, Hawaii Center for Independent Living, Autism Society of Hawaii and Community Children's Councils under the Felix Consent Decree.

The registration fee is very reasonable and includes Wrightslaw: Special Education Law (Retail: $29.95) and other materials. To learn more visit the Wrightslaw site.

Download a conference brochure in pdf that includes the registration form.

3. Behavior Problems? Get Help From New Free Pubs!

If you are the parent of a child with a disability, you are likely to deal with behavior problems. If you teach students with disabilities, your students are likely to have behavior problems.

Many people write about problems with school personnel who do not understand or deal with the underlying causes of problem behavior. In some cases, school personnel suspend or expel children with disabilities for behavior that is caused by their disabilities.

If you need help with behavior or discipline issues, download "An IEP Team's Introduction to Functional Behavioral Assessment and Behavior Intervention Plans," a publication from the Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice.

"Identifying the underlying cause(s) of a student's behavior, however, or, more specifically, what the student "gets" or "avoids" through the behavior, can provide the IEP team with the diagnostic information necessary to develop proactive instructional strategies (such as positive behavioral interventions and supports) that are crafted to address behaviors that interfere with academic instruction."

In this free publication, you will learn about:

* IEP Team Roles and Responsibilities
* How to Identify Problem Behavior
* Alternative Assessment Strategies
* Functional Behavioral Assessment
* Behavior Intervention Plans
* How to Address Skill and Performance Deficits
* How to Modify the Learning Environment
* How to Provide Supports
* How to Evaluate the Behavior Intervention Plan

NOTE: This publication was reviewed for consistency with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (P.L. 105-17) by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs. You can download this free publication from http://www.fape.org/practices/osher/main.htm

For more good books and publications, please visit our "Free Pubs" page.

4. Do You Read the Beacon?

On November 20, Harbor House Law Press published the Fall issue of The Beacon, the new electronic journal of special education law and practice.

The theme of the Fall issue is "The Paper Chase" with articles by several attorneys and advocates about how to organize, manage and use documents in special education litigation. Although each contributor developed different approaches, they agreed on several key issues.

In "The Choreography of Trial Preparation," trial attorney Barbara Ebenstein describes choreography, music, and trial preparation as creative endeavors. The litigator uses the medium of information from documents and the testimony of witnesses.

Ms. Ebenstein eloquently describes the balance of spontaneity and simplicity. When you examine documents, she explains that you should look for "negative space." Ms. Ebenstein shares her father's wise advice - "Read law!"

In "The Toy Box,' attorney Lisa Chaldize describes cases as stories to be told. Instead of a single narrator, stories are told in different words and by different people.

Ms Chaldize explains that documents help you orchestrate these voices so they tell the story without duplication or disharmony and how you can use documents that "scream negligence or bad faith."

"Do Documents Speak for Themselves?" If you examine documents carefully, you are likely to find the battle-winning theme of your case. Learn to organize documents, recognize common fact-finding blunders, collect all records from all sources, and avoid "case-killer" arguments.

In "Paper Trails: Documents, Exhibit Lists and Due Process Hearings," attorney Pete Wright describes a systematic, step-by-step approach to organizing and maintaining documents generated in special education litigation from the initial interview through pre-trial preparation.

Do you know the origin of the term "tied up in red tape"? Do you know who invented "Whiteout" - and why? For humor and a change of pace, read "Observations from the Transom" by managing editor Brice Palmer.

If you missed The Beacon, you can read the new issue at the Harbor House site.

Future issues of The Beacon will focus on damages, class action litigation, documents and education records, and revisiting FAPE. To subscribe, visit the Harbor House site and enter your email address in the "Subscribe Box" at the top of the page.

5. Did You Send us Personal Information This Week?

Did you send passwords and credit card information to hackers this week? Did you send confidential information to us?

If you have not updated your virus dat files since Sunday, November 25, 2001, it is possible that you did. On November 24, a new version of an April 2001 virus swept through the Internet.

Over the past few days, we have received HUNDREDS of emails from computers that are infected with this virus. Without your knowledge, many of you are sending us personal files from your computers.

One file from a psychologist was a confidential evaluation of a child who was expelled from school. Fortunately, Pete knew the psychologist and called to alert him. Until he received Pete's call, he did not know his computer was infected by the virus.

Fortunately, we have never had a computer get infected. Why?

Read this article to find out!


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