Schoolhouse lockers
Schoolhouse lockers

A row of colorful lockers.

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Schoolhouse lockers
Schoolhouse lockers

A row of colorful lockers.

press to zoom
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Parents for Safe Schools:  Advocating for Your Students

Since the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, we have been fielding a deluge of education-related questions from parents. Many of them are specifically looking for attorney and advocate representation but most commonly people just want to know what can be done to ensure their children are in a safe, healthy, and effective learning environment.

Take heart in two things:  You are not alone and, as Margaret Mead said, never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

 

Parental Action is Most Crucial. Here is a non-exhaustive list of actions that can be taken outside of court.

  • For all students: a parent can request virtual services and/or homebound services by obtaining a letter from their physician stating the student must not attend school unless a mask mandate is in place. Include the virtual/Homebound services request as a cover letter to the doctor's letter when sending it to the school district.

  • For all students with a disability: whether receiving services under the IDEA or under Section 504, procure the above-noted letter from a physician but include in the parent cover letter a request for an ARD/IEP Committee or 504 Meeting asking for anything the child specifically requires, including Virtual/Homebound Services.

  • Additionally, any parent of a child with a disability may also file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR). These complaints are most effective if they are district-wide, i.e., originating from at least one each of the elementary, middle, freshman, and high school campuses in the ISD.

  • Any parent who is an employee or contractor with the school district has a right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor/Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). 

  • If a parent whose child receives breakfast or lunch wishes to do so, a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding health-related issues also can be helpful. The complaint should focus on why your child has been treated differently from similarly situated students. If your family was denied a benefit or service, provide a copy of the denial letter or any other relevant documents to support the events you are reporting.