The Friday Fax

a weekly news bulletin from the National Parent Network on Disabilities
MAY 30, 1997 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Number 45

We Have A Lot of Work To Do!

By Connie Hawkins and Linda Shepard

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 will be signed by President Bill Clinton on Wednesday, June 4th. Many parents and advocates for children with disabilities feel that this bill is an acceptable piece of legislation and see the signing as the culmination of over three years of hard work. Others are still strongly opposed to the 1997 Amendments and predict that many children will be denied an education under the new law.

On Wednesday, June 4th, some parents and advocates for children with disabilities will be attending the signing ceremony; others will be staging a protest outside of the White House. However, on Thursday, June 5th, if we truly care about educational services for children with disabilities, we will ALL be working together to impact the regulations and implementation of this new law.

We have a lot of work to do and each one of us needs to start by reading the law and the accompanying report language. We all need to know what the law actually says--instead of what someone else has reported--and be prepared to propose and comment on needed regulations. OSEP hopes to write new regulations in less than a year and, by effectively participating in the regulation process, we can still impact how this law is implemented and the effect it will have on students with disabilities.

In addition, we need to be active in our individual states. The discipline sections of the act will go into effect the day it is signed which means every state and possibly every school building could have a different interpretation. Strongly advocate that your state education agency work with you this summer to develop or revise your state's discipline policies.

Our work has just started. We all need to be working together to ensure that fair regulations are written, state level procedures are in place, and parents are informed!

And Here’s How...

by Heather Hebdon

All of our hard work has been instrumental in insuring that the rights of children with disabilities will continue to be protected and strengthened while bringing about a new dawn of partnership and opportunities that will reach into the 21st Century. It is exciting to see that the swell of support is growing. Don't sit back now, however. You are still needed. NPND will be provided recommendations on language for the Regulations for IDEA. If you would like to participate in this process, contact Heather Hebdon at (253) 588-1741 (v/tty) or (253) 984-7520 (fax) to let her know of your interest and what aspect of the Regulations you would be interested in providing information. The development of the Regulations is critical to insuring that the intent of the Act is carried out. It is important that the process for monitoring states and implementing the law is clearly outlined. If you can assist, your help will be invaluable.


by Heather Hebdon

The Reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act will happen during this legislative session. Part of the Rehabilitation Act includes Section 504. There are a number of students across the United States who are receiving services under 504 plans. Did you know however, that there are students who are not able to receive a Section 504 plan even though they have a recognized need and may have even received services under a 504 plan where they previously resided? These are children of military personnel who are stationed overseas. These youngsters are served in the Department of Defense Dependent Schools which is funded by our tax dollars. Because these schools are outside the United States Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act does not apply according to a ruling by General Counsel for the Department of Defense. It is hoped that with the Reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act, this denial of civil rights will be corrected through an amendment to the Act. Equal treatment under the law is a cornerstone of our Constitution and is based on the belief by our forefathers that ALL men are created equal. Can we allow those who protect our rights to receive less rights? Military members who have children with disabilities who would benefit from the aids and services afforded under Section 504 must not be forgotten. They need help of Congress to correct this injustice. We can't afford to allow those who have sworn to protect the civil rights of America's Citizens to receive less protection.

NPND * 1727 King Street, Suite 305 * Alexandria, VA 22314
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