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Virginia Special Education

Legislative Advocacy

Back to Virginia Special Education

Virginia General AssemblyWho's My Legislator?

SB1386 Passed by the Senate, to be heard by the House Committe on Education 02/16/15. Teacher licensure; professional development: requires every person seeking initial teacher licensure or renewal of a teaching license with an endorsement in elementary education to receive professional development on the screening, intervention, and accommodations for students with reading disabilities, including dyslexia.

02/13/15 Virginia Passes Bill to Rein in Restraints of School Children. The bill was passed unanimously by Virginia's House late last week and now moves to the desk of Gov. Terry McAuliffe. It requires the state education board to adopt regulations that follow federal guidelines.Teacher licensure; professional development. Requires every person seeking initial teacher licensure or renewal of a teaching license with an endorsement in elementary education to receive professional development on the screening, intervention, and accommodations for students with reading disabilities, including dyslexia.

SB782 can be viewed at
HB1443 can be viewed at

01/30/15 Action Alert: Please contact your Delegate today and let them know why it is important they support HB1443

The Virginia Senate voted to regulate (SB782) the use of seclusion and restraint in public school children. The House of Delegates will now hear similar legislation (HB1443).

  • Did you know Virginia currently has no laws or regulations about when and how children can be restrained or secluded in public schools?
  • There are no regulations restricting restraint and seclusion to emergencies.
  • Virginia families do not even have the right to know if their child was restrained or secluded.

09/30/14 Action Alert! Tell Virginia to Adopt Safeguards to Protect Children in School

02/11/14: HB 764 Speech-language pathologists, assistant; need for licensure. Provides for the regulation of assistant speech-language pathologists. The bill permits a person to practice as an assistant speech-language pathologist upon satisfying all educational, training, and registration requirements prescribed in regulations promulgated by the Board of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology.

Virginia's Guidelines for Educating Students with Specific Learning Disabilities. The guidelines (October 2013) are available online at Virginia Department of Education.

Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC). Every school division is required to have a SEAC. The major purpose of SEACs is to provide an opportunity for parents and other school board appointees to have a voice in the way school divisions provide services to students with disabilities. The responsibility for training and technical assistance was transferred from the Partnership for People with Disabilities at VCU to the Virginia Department of Education.

Proposed Regulations! (May 2013) Restraint, Seclusion and Use of Aversives: Proposed Virginia Regulations

Alert: Virginians:  Please Tell the Virginia Board of Education to Change Regulations Permitting the Use of Aversives, Prone Restraint, and Other Harmful Behavioral Practices upon Children in Private Schools

There is no reason to permit restraint that impedes breathing or impairs life, or the other practices. They are not effective and are dangerous. More

The full regulations are here:

The regulations will affect both private day and residential schools. The proposed regulations at issue are on pages 127-129 of the document. The Virginia Department of Education’s staff analysis of them is on page 34-37.  It describes their initial proposal and then the changes that they made.

It is important for Virginians to share their views with the Board by sending comments to the Virginia State Board of Education at

Suggested Comments to The Virginia Board of Education. Here are some points about the proposed Virginia regulation that you may wish to make in your comment to the Board of Education.  You may wish to copy these comments or to change them as you would like.

Legislative Advocacy Alert May 14, 2013: Restraint & Seclusion


The use of restraints, seclusion and aversions will be addressed in proposed Regulations Governing the Operation of Private Schools for Students with Disabilities.

The proposed regulations –

  • Would allow the “application of aversive stimuli” such as introduction of foul or burning substances, deprivation of senses, and excessively loud sounds;
  • Would allow restraints that impede breathing (prone restraint);
  • Lacks clarity about when restraint and seclusion could be used which could result in their use in situations other than when there is imminent danger of physical injury and when less restrictive measures have failed or would be ineffective; and
  • Would allow the use of restraint and seclusion for “severe property damage that may result in personal injury."

The Virginia State Board of Education is planning to take final action on the proposed regulations during their May 23 meeting. The Board needs to hear from you now about these proposed regulations. The Virginia Coalition for Students with Disabilities is asking that Board action on the regulations be delayed until amendments to better serve and protect students are incorporated into the proposed regulations.

Please email the State Board of Education at The Board needs to know that they should not delete current regulatory requirements that protect students from harmful restraints, seclusion and aversive interventions. The Board also needs to know that you believe that action should be delayed for comment.

The proposed regulations can be viewed at Sections 8VAC20-671-640, 650 and 660 starting on page 127 are of particular interest.

On Monday, May 13, 9:00am the Virginia Department of Education will hold a Stakeholder Webinar on the proposed regulations for people with disabilities, parents and other advocates about the proposed regulations. You are welcome to join this webinar. Click the link below to join the webinar.

If you are not able to join the meeting through your computer, you can call: Toll-free: 1-866-8425779, Toll number: 1-832-4453763, Conference Code: 804 225 3252.

The Coalition is drafting comment on the proposed regulation which will be available early next week.

For more information, contact the Coalition at or 757-351-1585 or 866-323-1088.

Please share this information with other advocates.

08/27/12 Protest Virginia AMOs. (Annual Measurable Objectives). Citizens of Virginia are encouraged to join the protest against new annual benchmarks announced by the Virginia Dept. of Education on July 24, 2012.

Youth Leadership Forum 2012. The Virginia Board for People with Disabilities invites applications from rising high school juniors or seniors with disabilities for the 2012 YLF. Students, parents, and teachers agree that the one week leadership training program, held in Richmond from July 23-27 at Virginia Commonwealth University, is a life-changing experience…and with expenses paid for the 25 students chosen as delegates, you should encourage a student to apply today! Deadline March 30! Video!

01/24/12 Pending VA Legislation
HB 400 School boards, local; policies permitting parents to observe children. Full text
HB 325 Teacher Licensure; Paraprofessional training (behavioral training for teachers and aides working with students with autism). Full text
SB 419 / HB 718 Bills imposing adult consequences on youth.

12/14/11 VA DOE Parent Involvement Survey
All parents of youth who receive special education services in VA's schools are encouraged to complete the annual Parent Involvement Survey. English and Spanish versions are available; paper versions are available if online access is not available. To learn more, visit or contact Gloria Dalton (VA DOE) at 804-371-7420.

11/28/11 Educate Every Child Report Released
The JustChildren program at Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, VA has released a study that argues more school districts should adopt the state-approved, individualized discipline philosophy called Effective Schoolwide Discipline.

11/18/10 Homebound Instructional Services
First Review of a Report on Homebound Instructional Services in Response to HB 257 Passed by the 2010 General Assembly. VBOE has just released a report on homebound instruction (for students on homebound due to physical or mental illness, or disciplinary reasons). The report discusses home-based instruction for students with IEPs and 504 plans, but it is not clear whether the surveys distinguishes between students placed for medical reasons, and students placed by their IEP teams (usually for disciplinary reasons).

The board accepted the report for first review and authorized 30 days of public comment on the findings of the review. Final action will be requested at the January meeting.

10/04/10 Public Comment: Autism Spectrum Disorders Report
In June 2009, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) published House Document No. 8, “Assessment of Services for Virginians with Autism Spectrum Disorders,” in response to the General Assembly’s directive.  The JLARC study contained 21 recommendations to improve services in Virginia.

A public comment period is now in place until 5pm October 15, 2010 for review of the DRAFT “Response to the JLARC Report: Assessment of Services for Virginians with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Please respond by email to:
Cindy Gwinn
Community Resource Manager - Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist
Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
Phone (804)371-2887

Update: February 8, 2010. Action Alert! Please contact your Virginia Senators TODAY! and ask them to vote NO on the bill. This week, the Virginia Senate will again consider SB 689, which would severely limit the ability of people with disabilities to access the court system through the Virginia Protection & Advocacy system. Here's what you can do.

Update: January 28, 2010. The Virginia Senate has temporarily delayed action on this bill. Updates will follow as we receive information about the status of SB 689.

Action Alert! Wednesday, January 27, 2010. Contact Your VA State Senator TODAY on Senate Bill 689. Here's how.

This bill threatens our right to have an independent Virginia Office on Protection and Advocacy that can file lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and other federal disability rights laws. More information about the Bill.

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Last revised: 02/16/15
Created: 05/09/13

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