In The Politics of Autism, I write about special education and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Joel Greenberg, attorney with the advocacy group Disability Right Oregon, estimated at least 15 percent of the calls he deals with are about students placed on reduced school hours.
"It often happens that a district will tell a parent, 'His behavior is really aggressive right now, let's reduce his school day for a short time, and then gradually return him to a full day,'" Greenberg said. "We'll then often find that that short time got longer and longer, at times up to two years."
The state doesn't track how frequently this happens, but over a four-month period last year, 68 families called an Oregon disability help hotline because of a child's shortened day due to behavior.
Of those callers, 27 percent had a child age 7 or younger.
"What's the prognosis for a child who needs a lot of support and probably more education and he's getting 1-2 hours (in class) a day at age 6?" Greenberg asked.
Senate Bill 263, signed into law this summer, specifies that a district cannot place a student on an abbreviated day without a parent's consent. Districts must consider at least one option that includes supports to allow the student to attend a full school day.