(#DIW Podcast) #Youth with #Disabilities in the Juvenile Justice System and Access to #Education

Day in Washington #Disability #Policy Podcast. #Youth with Disabilities in the Juvenile Justice (#JJ) System and Access to #Education

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TRANSCRIPT:

Hello and welcome to Day in Washington, your disability policy podcast. Together, we will explore and analyze issues of interest to the disability community.  I’m your host Day Al-Mohamed working to make sure you stay informed.  Today, I want to talk about young people with disabilities in the Juvenile Justice system and what the Department of Education is doing to ensure they get their Educational needs met.

On December 5th The U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services sent out a letter focusing on the educational needs of students with disabilities who are in correctional facilities and highlighting that the requirements of Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) do apply to these students and it is the responsibility of States, State educational agencies and public agencies (including local educational agencies (LEAs), and responsible noneducational public agencies to make sure students are getting appropriate accommodations.

“The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice recently stated, the fact that a student has been charged with or convicted of a crime does not diminish his or her substantive rights or the procedural safeguards and remedies provided under the IDEA to students with disabilities and their parents.”

Absolutely!

The letter also provides information regarding technical assistance and other relevant resources to help with these students’ reintegration into the school setting or participation in programs.

Now let me pause and say that students with disabilities represent a large portion of students in correctional facilities. National reports put it at about 1/3 of the population of students in juvenile facilities with some having as few as 9% and others as high as 78%.

Let me give you my top 7 key points made in this letter regarding IDEA, Part B requirements, as they pertain to students with disabilities:

  1. Absent a specific exception, all IDEA protections apply to students with disabilities in correctional facilities and their parents
  2. Every agency at any level of government that is involved in the provision of special education and related services to students in correctional facilities must ensure the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education, even if other agencies share that responsibility.
  3. States must have interagency agreements or other methods for ensuring coordination so that it is clear which agency or agencies are responsible for providing or paying for services necessary for these students with disabilities in correctional facilities.
  4. State Education Agencies must exercise general supervision over all educational programs for students with disabilities in correctional facilities (unless covered by an exception) to ensure that their educational programs meet State education standards and IDEA, Part B requirements (and that also means ensuring that those same students are included in general State and district assessments.
  5. States and their public agencies must have procedures in place to identify, locate, and evaluate students who are in correctional facilities who may have a disability under the IDEA and are in need of special education and related services. Remember that wide variance in percentages of students with disabilities in correctional facilities I mentioned earlier 9% to 78%. Part of the reason for that maybe be related to the question of how much has been invested in identifying and assessing students for disabilities versus assumptions that it is behavioral or that they’re problem kids…just a bit of opinion there.
  6. Unless there is a specific exception, all IEP content requirements apply to students with disabilities in correctional facilities, including the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services.
  7. And of course, and I really like that this is spelled out: They cannot routinely place all students with disabilities in correctional facilities in classes that include only students with disabilities, and that any exclusion from the classroom is particularly harmful for students with disabilities in correctional facilities.

As always, I encourage you to read and come to your own opinion.  Links are available in the comments. This is Day Al-Mohamed, hoping you continue to be well, and be informed. Thank you for listening.

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Day in Washington is a product of the Lead On Network. Comments and opinions expressed in this podcast should in no way be considered representative of opinions, statements or policies of any organizations, affiliations, employers or agencies connected with the host. Audio production provided by Chris Wright.  Music is “If by Force” courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network and Twenty Twelve Records.

RESOURCES:

Joint letter from the Departments of Education and Justice – http://www2.ed.gov/…/guid/correctional-educ…/idea-letter.pdf