Archived News & Publications
03/06/14 - 03/09/14
The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) had its annual conference in Baltimore this year and much of the Cirkiel staff was in attendance. The COPAA Conference provides unique opportunities for training and networking with the most experienced and knowledgeable special education advocates and attorneys on special education issues. Participants attend to learn about the most recent cases, legislative changes, and the latest disability specific educational interventions. Over 400 registrants are expected to attend the conference this year.
"If you're going to school to get an education, you shouldn't have to fear walking in those doors.” -Tami Carmichael, Jon's mother. On June 19, 2014, The United States Court of Appeals - Fifth Circuit ruled that the family of Jon Carmichael can in fact bring a lawsuit against the Joshua Independent School District in Johnson County, Texas, for failing to identify, stop and prevent the extensive bullying and torment leveled at him by his peers. The decision by a fifth circuit court of appeals judge came two years after the family's case was dismissed and more than four years after Jon committed suicide.
Cirkiel & Associates, P.C., filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with The Supreme Court of the United States. This case involves a student with severe cerebal palsy who was sexually assaulted by his paraprofessional while attending public school. It is our position that a gross mismanagement in the standards of care set forth in the student's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) allowed this paraprofessional unsupervised access to the student which directly led to him being sexually assaulted. The full Petition can be found here:
03/05/15 - 03/08/15
The Annual COPAA Conference is an opportunity to learn, face-to-face, effective strategies from the COPAA network. COPAA members work in the trenches every day to assure that IDEA, Section 504, The ADA and other federal and state laws are implemented as intended. We have experienced, time and time again, the full synergistic force of effective IEP teams; where parents and students are equal members, the team works collaboratively, and the resulting individualized program gives the student a real shot at life enrichment as the result of receiving a meaningful, quality education.
In the last week of August, 2015, Cirkiel & Associates, P.C., filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of San Antonio and a local Catholic school it runs in Selma, Texas, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, for failing to accommodate two of its young students with significant learning disabilities. An ADA complaint at its heart, the suit also alledges Section 504 violations because the school agreed to relatively simple accommedations that were never delivered despite their parents' numerous attempts and meetings with the school. In September 2014, the sisters were suddenly kicked out of school because the accommodatiuons would not be extendended to them.
The Wrightslaw Special Education Law & Advocacy Training Conference recently came to Edinburg, Texas and Cirkiel & Associates, P.C. was onsite to meet the parents, advocates, attorneys, educators, health care providers, and others who represent the interests of children with disabilities and their families.
Special Ed Advocates David Beinke and Jack Justice are pictured here with Pete Wright
June 6, 2016
A 12 year old student with a behavioral disability faced a felony. But when prosecutors declined to charge him with any crime, the school staff conspired to remove him to a Disciplinary Alternative Education Placement (DAEP) anyway. This student's future has been placed in jeopardy after having had his due process rights effectively cast aside by the school district. But because of his famly's advocacy and persistent efforts, oral arguments on a critical legal question will take place June 6th in the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals
September 5, 2016
The Open Door Recovery House is a faith-based, residential alcohol and drug recovery house for women. It's mission is to provide an affordable recovery program where women can live in a safe, drug free environment while learning life skills and working their way back into society. On Labor Day 2016 the non-profit is having a "Friend-Raiser" in Burnet, TX at the ampitheater behind Dairy Queen. There are three bands scheduled and plenty of community fellowship. Come on down and meet some good souls!
July 25, 2016
A case that exemplifies some of the worst of the "School-to-Prison Pipeline" characteristics is being appealed to the Supreme Court. The facts evidence school staff conspired to remove a young student with a behavioral disability to a DAEP instead of focusing their energies on fulfilling his Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and utilizing the Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) contained therein. The 5th Circuit upholding a lower court's ruling may help assure that no student with a behavioral disability can maintain a claim of discrimination by staff in the school environment.
03/09/16 - 03/13/16
The Annual COPAA Conference is happening in the city of brotherly love, Philidelphia! Can you feel that!?! COPAA members work in the trenches every day to assure that IDEA, Section 504, The ADA and other federal and state laws are implemented as intended. We have experienced, time and time again, the full synergistic force of effective IEP teams; where parents and students are equal members, the team works collaboratively, and the resulting individualized program gives the student a real shot at life enrichment as the result of receiving a meaningful, quality education.