In The Politics of Autism, I write about IEPs and FAPE. The Supreme Court ruled in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires public schools to provide heightened educational benefits to students with disabilities.
In a joint report issued this month by AASA, the School Superintendents Association; the National School Boards Association, and the Association of Educational Service Agencies, the groups document growing concern among school leaders about IDEA-related litigation as schools struggle to fulfill students' individualized education programs during the pandemic.
More than four months have passed since schools began to shut down to curb the spread of coronavirus. Thus far, just a handful of federal lawsuits have been filed on behalf of students who receive special education services.
Anticipating the numbers will soon rise, the organizations behind the report wanted Congress to include the liability protections in the latest round of COVID-19 response legislation, but their request did not make the cut.
Lindsay Jones, the executive director of the National Center for Learning Disabilities, said the report and the related push for legislation was just another attempt to push for waivers that would let schools off the hook for their responsibility to educate all students.
"That report is a wolf in sheep's clothing," Jones said during the Education Writers Association's National Seminar earlier this month. "There's not much evidence that these types of lawsuits are coming forward."