This is the fourth post involving our exclusive interview with Michael Yudin, the Assistant Secretary of Education for special education and rehabilitative services. This is a big honor for this blog!
His biography is available in a previous post. We are grateful to the Secretary and his staff for this interview.
The format of the interview will be questions by me signified by (JG), and answers by the Assistant Secretary, signified by (MY). Here is the fourth segment:JG: Bullying is the hot button issue in educationlaw, the problem extends beyond just special education, what should a parent doif she suspects that her child with a disability is being bullied at school?MY: Weissued some guidance in about 2013 that provided a whole packet of resourcesand guidance around bullying of kids with disabilities. ED NOTE: see ourprevious blog post on the guidance here: http://specialeducationlawblog.blogspot.com/2013/11/bullying-of-childrern-with-disabilities.html Essentiallywhat we said is that if bullying of a child with a disability results in theloss of a meaningful educational benefit, then that would be a denial of FAPE.So we laid out a whole set of scenarios where IEP teams should say OK whatsgoing on here is the kid getting the resources and supports that are necessaryand that are not resulting in the loss of a meaningful educational benefit as aresult of the bullying. The guidance was a pretty clear statement of ourpolicies along with a set of recommendations and resources for parents andeducators. OCR has recently issued some bullying guidance as well that talksabout 504 and the ADA and when bullying might constitute discrimination, and Iurge people to look at that too. ED NOTE: see our previous blog post on theOCR guidance here: http://specialeducationlawblog.blogspot.com/2014/10/breaking-new-guidance-from-ocr-on.html Bullying is a really important issue. We needto make sure that our kids have the opportunity to learn in safe and healthyand supportive environments. As a parent myself- thats what you would expectfrom your childs school- an opportunity to thrive and not be intimidated orfearful. Bullying has some really devastating effects. This administration hasconvened annual bullying summits. Across the administration this is a really concertedeffort to get at bullying. Bullying.gov which is run out of DHHS offers a wholeset of research and resources about bullying.