Consider dos, don’ts of shortened school days for students with disabilities
A recent case serves as a reminder to school districts that shortening the school day for students with disabilities can lead to trouble. In Palm Springs (CA) Unified School District, 61 IDELR 174 (OCR 2013), a district discriminated against 18- to 22-year-old students in a transition program not only by shortening their school day without evaluating their individual needs, but also by discontinuing mainstreaming opportunities and eliminating their PE class without parent input. “Any time you shorten the school day for a group of students, that should raise a red flag,” said school attorney Dana Fattore Crumley. Decisions about whether to shorten a child’s school day should be made on an individual basis by the child’s IEP team or 504 team, she added. For example, a shortened school day should be considered upon the receipt of a doctor’s recommendation, but not simply to avoid an undesirable situation for the student such as a chaotic bus pick-up area. Log in to Special Ed Connection® for more dos and don’ts when considering shortened school days for students with disabilities. For a free five-day trial, call (800) 341-7874.