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: 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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Diane

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

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

Pat

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

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

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

Kathleen

Please pass these bills. I have an adopted daughter with special needs and it is very difficult for parents

Sharon

While the district has resources with which to pay their expert witnesses, I have often wondered how “expert” they really are. I have read hundreds of reports that have been generated by their “experts” and most of them are well off the mark. If the expert is being paid by the school system, aren’t their opinions going to be slanted in favor of the district? True impartial opinions are hard to come by. Might it not be possible for the court to designate an expert to evaluate the child? Court designated experts would not be paid for by either side and therefore would provide a truly objective picture of the child. The court could then designate that the losing side pay for the expert. I could see this idea raising some eyebrows, but maybe it is the only way to go.
Sharon

D Grinolds

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

Neiani

Please support H.R.2740, The IDEA Fairness Restoration Act for Parental Rights.

Rob & Kay

We need fairness for parents of special needs children. Allowing school districts to hire attorneys should be thoroughly investigated and personally, we feel should not be allowed. We feel all school districts should divulge how much is spent for legal fees and the reasons. We think tax payers would be outraged to know how much is spent to try and brow beat parents that are just trying to protect their children.

Sherry

As a people of an industrialized nation, we must do everything possible to help students with special needs become productive citizens. If a family cannot afford to pay fees they will not bring cases to court.
We as a nation are not tapping into all of our human resources when we limit the contribution students with special needs can make to our society.
Please vote for this bill, H.R. 2740, to enable families to bring to court issues that need to be addressed in the courts to give their students equal opportunities. Isn’t this part of civil rights?
Thank you

Jean

Criminals have the option of legal representation in court. WE need the same opportunity to enforce the laws that have been put in place, however, though we are paying for the school’s attorney; they are there to represent the schools. Often attorneys intimidate and display their knowledge and powerr, and parents withdraw a complaint because they cannot fight the system and their child does not received FAPE> all then translates into a deepened lack of trust.

Jean

Bryn

I support this Act.

David1

I hope that everyone who has replied has already logged in and filled out the survey.

This bill is a baby step towards Justice for our kids.

No one is shocked to hear that a school district is falsifying records and violaintg procedural safeguards in the IDEA.

Children in special education graduating with a high school diploma have become the exception to the rule.

The only thing that is guaranteed in special education is that the school’s attorney will be paid. Educationa services are quite optional..

Kinkini

The Murphy decision is unfair and a crushing burden on parents who are forced to pursue due process. Parents with limited resources bear a greater financial burden.Your support of H.R. 2740 will help reduce disparity, and allow parents who are not wealthy to also be able to advocate for their children’s needs. On behalf of children with special needs nationwide, I urge you to do the right thing by supporting H.R. 2740.

Dawn

I have a 10 year old with Autism. We had to sue our district for an appropriate program. They had all the money and fancy attorneys on their side, paid for with MY taxes.When all was said and done we had no choice but to file for bankruptsy. 6 years later we are still broke and will probably never financially recover. Yes, please pass HR 2740 bill the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act. I too support this bill.

Dennis

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

patricia

Earl Warren had a quote about how there will not be justice in this country until people are entitled to legal representation in civil suits. It is so true.

cathy

Fix the problem with a catch so the problem is worse. Everything Bush and the republicans did was superficial or opposite.