Guarantee access to equitable services in special education


Recently, an Oregon judge ordered the Hood River County School District (HRCSD) to compensate a former special education student’s family for a lost year of school. Judicial findings indicated the student was denied Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), a mandate under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Oregon school districts, administrators and school personnel are misinterpreting educational laws and causing harm. I’m an associate professor of kinesiology who studies children with disabilities, and I’m all too familiar with misinterpretations of special education law leading to students’ educational inequity.

It’s not just enough to have a policy in place; all school personnel are responsible for educating all students.

Guaranteeing student access to equitable education is at the heart of special education services. In 2019, the state of Oregon expanded special education services for students diagnosed with a developmental delay until 3rd grade instead of the previous cut-off at age 5. I was one of the authors who examined the educational trajectory of these young children and felt the expansion of services signified the state’s strong commitment to students with disabilities. 

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