School Says Transportation WIll be Provided – But Only One Way

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My 5 year-old son with autism attends a school sponsored pre-school. He requires special transportation. The school principal has agreed to one-way transportation only.

Since your child needs and the school has agreed to provide transportation from his home to school at the beginning of the school day, the school needs to provide transportation from school to home at the end of the school day.

Under IDEA, the school must provide the special education services, related services, and supplementary aides and services that the child needs to receive a free appropriate public education and receive benefit from his special education program.

Under the IDEA and implementing regulations, “related services” include speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, rehabilitation counseling, and transportation.

See 34 CFR §300.34(a). See also page 54-55, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2d edition.

The law defines transportation as “travel to and from school and between schools; travel in and around school buildings; and specialized equipment such as special or adapted buses, lifts and ramps, if required to provide special transportation for a child with a disability.”  See 34 CFR §300.34(c)(16).

Your child’s individualized education program (IEP) Team needs to determine if he needs transportation.

  • Is transportation required for him to benefit from special education and related services?
  • How should the transportation services be provided?

The IEP should describe the transportation services to be provided, including transportation to enable a child with disabilities to participate in nonacademic and extracurricular activities in the manner necessary to afford the child an equal opportunity for participation in those services and activities to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of that child.  See 34 CFR §§300.107 and 300.117.

More Q and A on Transportation

Database Questions: Transportation

  1. What about a bus driver who refuses to back the bus up down a dead end street in order to provide “door to door” because a neighbor complained about the noise the bus makes? The bus driver also said that to back a bus down the street was “against the rules” of the transportation company?

  2. What about a child who is in private school, and they want us to get him to the public school (which starts earlier than his private school) to receive Pull-Out services before his private school starts? They say they only provide bussing between the private school and the public school–will not pick him up from home or bus corner. We believe it is violation of the law.

  3. Could the school district deny to provide the transportation to NPS if the school located in different school district, town and they are says outside of their boundaries?

  4. To Theresa: It has been my experience as an IEP case manager that the school district will either reinburse the parent for gas if and only if the student is unable to ride the bus or the district is unable to provide a yellow bus. Once the bus is available, you are no longer going to be reimbursed by the City/County and the student must take the bus or the parent must drive in the student on their own dollar.

  5. As to the article, in NJ if your child has an autism diagnosis, by law, the district must provide transportation to your child’s school. Of course they may try to limit where/how far the district is willing to pay for… Theresa-As far as your granddaughter is concerned, they might have estimated that it’s cheaper to use a bus service. If they are offering to bus her now, you may have to fight for it. Does your state have an advocacy program? Call an advocate and see what options are available. It might be worth the $ spent.

  6. My daughter currently drives my granddaughter to an out of state school (RI) since our town does not have a program suited to her needs. The town (MA) has been reimbursing my daughter for miles driven and recently told her they would no longer reimburse her to drive her daughter but they would provide bus transportation. Does the school have the right to “mandate” my granddaughter take a bus?

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