Lights! Cameras! Action! (To Take Following a Request to View Special Education Camera Footage) 

Texas Education Code 29.022 leaves little room for confusion regarding the requirements for placing video cameras in certain self-contained classrooms and other special education settings following a request by a parent, Board member, or District employee. The law is less clear, however, regarding the parameters for responding to requests to review recordings on these cameras. This uncertainty often leaves school districts, particularly school administrators, confused as to how to respond to these requests in accordance with the law. Fortunately, the special education team at Thompson & Horton LLP has broken down these requirements and provided step-by-step guidance for responding to these requests. 

FAPE Focus: Interpreters

TEA recently updated the Administrative Code to provide that “All members of the ARD committee must have the opportunity to participate in a collaborative manner in developing the IEP. The school district must take all reasonable actions necessary to ensure that the parent understands the proceedings of the ARD committee meeting, including arranging for an interpreter for parents who are deaf or hard of hearing or whose native language is a language other than English.” This language tracks the language in the IDEA and therefore does not change the responsibility of districts but is a good reminder about the importance of parental participation, especially for parents who speak languages other than English. Additionally, take care to document in the IEP paperwork who provided interpretation services and note in the deliberations the questions and input of the parent at the meeting. Ask yourself: If a hearing officer were reviewing this IEP, would it be clear that the parent understood the meeting and participated?

TEA Provides Clarification on the Implementation of HB 3928 

As you gear up for the beginning of the school year, your special education teams are likely discussing the new dyslexia bill, HB 3928, and how these recent legislative changes will impact your operations. In case you missed it, we provided an overview of the bill’s new requirements on our blog back in June, which you can find here. 

On August 3, 2023, TEA released an FAQ guidance document in an effort to assist local education agencies in the implementation of HB 3928 while the State Board of Education works to update the Dyslexia Handbook. While we highly recommend a thorough review of the entire FAQ document, below is a summary of TEA’s current guidance on some of the more common questions we have been receiving. 

The Supreme Court Finds IDEA Exhaustion Not Required When Parents Seek Money Damages Under ADA and Section 504

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court held today that plaintiffs may file federal lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 seeking money damages without first exhausting the IDEA administrative procedures, even when the underlying dispute is the student’s special education programming. As we previewed in a post following the oral argument, this decision is a departure from current Fifth Circuit law and opens the door to parents filing federal lawsuits seeking monetary relief in special education disputes without filing for due process under the IDEA. As explained below, whether this path is truly advantageous for parents is uncertain.

IEP Spotlight: Statement of PLAAFP and Why it’s so Important 

Over the summer, we posted about the importance of and tips for successful IEP implementation and progress monitoring. Today, we continue a series of articles focused on the components of a great IEP. In this post, we will discuss the foundation of the IEP: the statement of present levels of academic achievement and functional performance (PLAAFP).

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates that IEPs include a statement of PLAAFP. If you’ve ever attended an ARD, you know that this statement is one of the first things covered. And with good reason: the statement of PLAAFP provides an overview of the student’s current functioning and baseline for new goals. Without a clear, specific, and individualized statement of PLAAFP, the IEP may be deficient. Keep reading to learn steps to ensure that every IEP is built on a solid PLAAFP foundation.