New Discipline Guidance Focuses on Discrimination Against Students With Disabilities

New U.S. Department of Education discipline guidance clarifies federal protections against discrimination toward students with disabilities.

According to the new U.S. Department of Education guidance, schools must determine if a student’s behavior is related to their disability before disciplining them. U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona stated that the new guidance is the “most comprehensive” the department has ever released on the topic.

Four New Resources

Key takeaways:

Schools are required to provide behavioral supports and services to students with disabilities and must determine if a student’s behavior is related to their disability before expelling or suspending them for that behavior.

Section 504 prohibits schools from not making reasonable modifications for students with disabilities such as adapting school policies to support student needs; unnecessarily treating a student differently because of their disability; or using policies that have an “unjustified discriminatory effect” on students with disabilities.

A student’s IEP, or individualized education program, must include the use of “positive behavioral interventions and supports” to address disruptive behavior.  Behavioral interventions can include “special education and related services, supplementary aids and services, and program modifications or supports for school personnel.”

Behavioral interventions can include “special education and related services, supplementary aids and services, and program modifications or supports for school personnel.”  Physical restraints—when adults use their own physical force to restrain a student—could constitute discrimination. However, the use of “physical escort,” in which an adult temporarily touches or holds a student’s hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, or back “for the purpose of inducing a student who is acting out to walk to a safe location,” is not considered a restraint.

Informal removal, although not defined in IDEA and its implementing regulations, means action taken by school personnel in response to a child’s behavior that excludes the child for part or all of the school day, or even an indefinite period of time. These exclusions are considered informal because the school removes the child with a disability from class or school without invoking IDEA’s disciplinary procedures. Informal removals are subject to IDEA’s requirements to the same extent as disciplinary removals by school personnel using the school’s disciplinary procedures. Informal removals include administratively shortened school days when a child’s school day is reduced by school personnel, outside of the IEP Team and placement process, in response to the child’s behavior.

“Actions that result in denials of access to, and significant changes in, a child’s educational program could all be considered as part of the 10 days of suspension and also could constitute an improper change in placement. These actions could include when a school administrator unilaterally informs a parent that their child with a disability may only remain in school for shortened school days because of behavioral issues or when a child with a disability is not allowed by the teacher to attend an elective course because of behavioral concerns.”

 

First-Ever Bill of Rights for Passengers with Disabilities

The Bill of Rights provides a convenient, easy-to-use summary of existing law governing the rights of air travelers with disabilities

The Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights, an easy-to-use summary of the fundamental rights of air travelers with disabilities under the Air Carrier Access Act, will empower air travelers with disabilities to understand and assert their rights and help ensure that the U.S. and foreign air carriers and their contractors uphold those rights. It was developed using feedback from the Air Carrier Access Act Advisory Committee, which includes representatives of passengers with disabilities, national disability organizations, air carriers, airport operators, contractor service providers, aircraft manufacturers, wheelchair manufacturers, and a national veterans organization representing disabled veterans. The Bill of Rights provides a convenient, easy-to-use summary of existing laws governing the rights of air travelers with disabilities.

The Bill of Rights does not expand airlines’ legal obligation or establish new requirements under the law, it DOES empower and educate passengers with disabilities of their rights and holds airlines more accountable for their actions.

The Bill of Rights consists of:

      1. The Right to Be Treated with Dignity and Respect.
      2. The Right to Receive Information About Services and Aircraft Capabilities and Limitations.
      3.  The Right to Receive Information in an Accessible Format.
      4. The Right to Accessible Airport Facilities.
      5. The Right to Assistance at Airports.
      6. The Right to Assistance on the Aircraft.
      7. The Right to Travel with an Assistive Device or Service Animal.
      8. The Right to Receive Seating Accommodations.
      9. The Right to Accessible Aircraft Features.
      10. The Right to Resolution of a Disability-Related Issue.

See More:
DOT Announces First-Ever Bill of Rights for Passengers with
Disabilities, Calls on Airlines to Seat Families Together Free of Charge

My Disability Roadmap – Watch Now!

My Disability Road Map

Streaming WORLDWIDE in The New York Times with captions and audio descriptions available. No subscription is needed to watch!

In the short documentary, Samuel seeks out guidance from America’s most rebellious disability activists. He wants to learn how they built full adult lives — as a road map for himself and others. “No one tells you how to be an adult, let alone an adult with a disability,” he says. “But there are badass people with disabilities who figured it out. Maybe they could be my mentors.”

I’m a College Student
with a Disability. Stop Treating
Me Like a Child.

The path into adulthood is a precarious one for those
with a disability. So Samuel Habib, 21, seeks out
guidance from America’s most rebellious disability activists.

Original source New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/17/opinion/my-disability-roadmap-adulthood.html

Direct Support Professionals and the COVID-19 Vaccine


This 11-minute video is about vaccine safety and the reasons why it is important for direct support professionals to get vaccinated.
The video includes:

• The reasons why people with intellectual developmental disabilities are more vulnerable medically and have increased chances of getting a serious illness if they get COVID-19
• How the vaccine was developed quickly, compared to other vaccines
• How the vaccine works in the body, including what to expect when you get vaccinated
• How the virus can be passed to vulnerable people
• Reasons to get vaccinated even if you have already had COVID-19 • Long COVID-19, and how it affects the body
• How COVID-19 can affect pregnancy Produced by the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota.

Better Care Better Jobs Act (BCBJA)

Better Care Better Jobs Act (BCBJA)

In March of 2021, President Biden proposed a major $400 billion investment in Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) as part of the American Jobs Plan.

On June 24, 2021, The Better Care Better Jobs Act was introduced to operationalize and expand the proposal in the Senate as  S.2210  and in the House as H.R.4131. The bills would enhance Medicaid funding for HCBS and encourage innovative models that benefit care recipients and direct care workers.

Home care is the most cost-effective, fiscally responsible, and desired setting of care. Americans prefer to receive services and supports at home, but benefits and eligibility vary across states leaving almost 820,000 Americans remaining on waitlists for years.

There is currently a national shortage of Direct Support Professionals to provide support and care to people with disabilities and seniors. Over a 50% turnover rate, low wages, and sustained vacancies, leaves clients with none or inadequate support. 

The Better Care Better Jobs Act (S. 2210/H.R. 4131)  would make key improvements to the Medicaid program addressing both patient and caregiver challenges. 


• Permanently increase the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) by 10% for HCBS.
• Expand HCBS to require personal care services, family caregiver supports, and respite care.
• Address and annually update HCBS payment rates with an opportunity for public input.
• Update and develop training opportunities for the workforce.
• Require a maintenance of effort mandating that new funds supplement and not supplant current outlays.
• Make permanent spousal impoverishment protections for recipients of HCBS.
• Make permanent the Medicaid Money Follows the Person program.

TAKE ACTION NOW!

Act Now: Urge your Members of Congress to meet the needs of people with disabilities, their families, and the direct care workforce!

Please support the $400 billion Better Care Better Jobs Act, which will expand home- and community-based services (HCBS) that helps people with disabilities and seniors live with dignity in their homes and communities. It includes services such as help with daily activities, transportation, support while on the job, care coordination, and more.  It addresses the direct care workforce crisis. These services enable people to maintain their independence
and stay active in their communities. 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

New Documentary – This is Not About Me

This is Not About Me

Autistic and non-speaking. Stuck in an educational system that has given up on you. Restrained or rewarded with candy. This is Jordyn Zimmerman’s story and it is shared by so many other students. Watch the story of one autistic woman that fought hard to be recognized and trusted. Share the trailer to bring awareness and change the lives of countless others fighting that same system today.

The film is now available for rental for $9.99 All proceeds from the film will go to the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN), CommunicationFIRST, and Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism to support them in their missions. 57 minutes. 30-day rental period.

Watch this powerful movie: This Is Not About Me.
https://thisisnotaboutme.film/ 

#ThisIsNotAboutMe
#endseclusion

July is Disability Pride Month!

July is the “Disability Pride Month” in the US. 2021 is the 31st Anniversary of the ADA.

Disability Pride

Disability Pride Toolkit and Resource Guide

The National Council on Independent Living.

What is Disability Pride?

Disability Pride is the idea that people with disabilities should be proud of their disabled identity. People with disabilities are the largest and most diverse minority within the population, representing all abilities, ages, races, ethnicities, religions and socio-economic backgrounds.

Information & Resources for People with Disabilities