As we have said before on our blog, schools that receive federal funding, whether they're here in California or in another state, are required by law to help students with disabilities get a proper education. From individualized education plans, or IEPs, to other accommodations, schools do have resources they can tap into to make this happen.
When a student moves around a lot though -- whether because of their parent's inability to find consistent housing or because of military service -- teachers and school districts may face the challenge of maintaining IEP goals or providing consistent attention to the student's education. But even though this may be the case in some situations, it's important for schools in the U.S. to know that they still have an obligation to a highly mobile student with disabilities as well as to the law.
As you may not know, the obligation to continue providing special education services to a special needs child who moves between different school districts is outlined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA. But some school administrators have had difficulty interpreting the law and have violated it by mistake because they did not know that mobile students were considered protected under the act.
Although mistakes are understandable, especially considering the complexity of our state and federal laws, a child who is denied a quality education because of a misunderstanding of the law does deserve redress, which may come after the child's parents take civil action against the at fault school. The process of seeking redress can be challenging though, which is why talking to a skilled education law attorney is a good idea if a situation such as this arises.
Sources: The United States Department of Education, "Highly Mobile Dear Colleague Letter," Michael K. Yudin and Melody Musgrove Ed. D., July 19, 2013
Disability Scoop, "Schools Obligated To Maintain IEPs When Kids Move," Michelle Diament, Sept. 2, 2013