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Atkinson County, GA Public Schools/ Complaint to Office for Civil Rights

Atkinson County, GA Public Schools/ Complaint to Office for Civil Rights

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Published by mizzou55
Pursuant to requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, discrimination based on disability Complaint to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and requesting Compliance Review of the Atkinson, GA public school district. Final Letter of Determination can be viewed at:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/73927650/U-S-Dept-of-Ed-Resolution-Agreement-with-GA-Dept-of-Ed
Pursuant to requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, discrimination based on disability Complaint to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and requesting Compliance Review of the Atkinson, GA public school district. Final Letter of Determination can be viewed at:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/73927650/U-S-Dept-of-Ed-Resolution-Agreement-with-GA-Dept-of-Ed

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Published by: mizzou55 on Dec 03, 2011
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05/25/2014

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OCR Electronic Complaint Submission
Sent By:"ocr complaint"<ocr_complaint@ed.gov>On: Oct10/25/090To: cannivet1@comcast.net; "OCR Atlanta"<OCR.Atlanta@ed.gov>PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS E-MAIL. THIS E-MAIL ADDRESS IS USED BY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AUTOMATEDSYSTEMS AND IS NOT MONITORED.Your complaint with the Office for Civil Rights, a copy of which is reproduced below, has been automatically forwarded to thefollowing office for review:Office for Civil Rights/EDAtlanta Office61 Forsyth St. S.W., Suite 19T70Atlanta, GA, 30303-3104So that we can best assist you, we call your attention to the following:1. If you need to communicate with OCR regarding your complaint before you are contacted directly, please do not reply to thismessage, which would result in your reply going to a send-only server address. Instead, please direct your correspondence to theabove office at OCR.Atlanta@ed.gov. 
 
2. If you need to modify or supplement your complaint, please do not use the complaint form to submit another complaint with thenew information. Instead, you may simply send an email to the office that has your complaint. Filing duplicative complaints mayimpede our ability to review your concerns in a timely manner. (If you have a separate complaint involving other matters, you mayof course use this form to submit it.)3. Remember that before OCR can process your complaint it must receive at the above address a signed copy of the Office for CivilRights Consent Form, which you can obtain at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/edlite-consentform.html. 
 
4. It is recommended that you print a copy of this message and retain it for your records.The following information has been sent to the specified office:OCR COMPLAINT FORM1. Enter information about you.Your First Name:
Catherine
Your Last Name:
Cannivet
 Your Address:
3995 Upolo Lane
 City:
Naples
State:
FL
Zip Code:
34119
 Best Time to Call You:
DAY
Primary Phone No: 
Alternative Phone No:Your Email Address: 
 
2. Who else can we call if we cannot reach you?Contact's Name:
Theresa Edwards
 Daytime Phone No: 
 
 Relationship to you:
Fellow Special Education Advocate
 3. Who was discriminated against?
Someone else
 Injured Person's Name:
Class Special Needs Students
Daytime Phone No:Relationship to You (eg. son or daughter):Evening Phone No:Injured Person's Address:City: State:
GA
 Zip Code:4. What institution discriminated?Institution Name:
Atkinson County School System
 Address:
98 East Roberts Avenue
 City:
Pearson
State:
GA
Zip Code:
31642
School or department involved:
Special Education
 5. Have you tried to resolve the complaint through the institution's grievance process, due process hearing, or with another agency?
No
 Agency Name:Date Filed: (mm/dd/yyyy)Status:
Not required for processing complaint
 6. Describe the discriminationOCR enforces regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin; sex; disability; and/or age.All that apply:
disability
 Why you believe the discrimination was because of race, sex, disability, or whatever basis you indicated above or why you believethe action was retaliatory.
I believe that discrimination based on disability is rampant in Georgia public schools based on my numerouscommunications with parents and advocates of special needs children in the state of Georgia, the information I have beenprovided regarding the number of Office for Civil Rights complaints that have been filed against Georgia public schools,
 
and the fact that the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) has determined, for the previous
three consecutive years, Georgia to be a state that “needs assistance” with meeting the requirements and purposes of 
Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Therefore, this is a request for a compliance review of theabove name School District to determine whether it has established and implemented, with respect to individuals regardedas having a disability as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act, a system of procedural safeguardsthat includes an impartial due hearing process consistent with the legal requirements of Section 504 of the RehabilitationAct of 1973 (Section 504) and its implementing regulation at 34 C.F.R. § 104.36.OCR initiates compliance reviews and takes other proactive steps to focus on specific compliance problems that areparticularly acute or national in scope or that may not have been raised by complaints.
It has been OCR‟s experience t
hat
targeted compliance reviews and proactive initiatives increase the impact of OCR‟s resources, complement the complaint
resolution process, and can benefit larger numbers of students than sole reliance on complaint resolutions, which mayinvolve only one student per case.OCR is responsible for enforcing Section 504, 29 U.S.C. § 794, and its implementing regulation, 34 C.F.R. Part 104, whichprohibit discrimination on the basis of disability by recipients of federal financial assistance from the Department. OCR isalso responsible for enforcing Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12131 et sq., and itsimplementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 35, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability by public entities. As arecipient of Federal financial assistance from the Department and as a public entity, the District is subject to these laws.Accordingly, OCR has jurisdiction to investigate this complaint.The Section 504 implementing regulation at 34 C.F.R. § 104.36 provides that "a recipient that operates a public elementaryor secondary education program or activity shall establish and implement, with respect to actions regarding theidentification, evaluation, or educational placement of persons who, because of disability, need or are believed to needspecial instruction or related services, a system of procedural safeguards that includes notice, an opportunity for theparents or guardian of the person to examine relevant records, an impartial hearing with opportunity for participation bythe person's parents or guardians and representation by counsel, and a review procedure.
Although neither Title II nor itsimplementing regulation contain a specific provision regarding impartial due process hearings, the Title II implementingregulation, at 28 C.F.R. § 35.103, provides that it "shall not be construed to apply a lesser standard than the standardsapplied under Title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 791) or the regulations issued by Federal agenciespursuant to that title." OCR, therefore, interprets Title II consistently with Section 504.With the above principles in mind, please specifically investigate if the District's Section 504 grievance and complaintprocedures make clear that a parent has the right to obtain a Section 504 due process hearing without first filing agrievance, submitting to mediation, or going to the Board of Education. Although it is acceptable for a school district tooffer mediation as an option to resolving disputes, it cannot be mandatory and, if a parent wishes to proceed directly to animpartial due process hearing, the District must honor that request. The procedures also must make clear that parentsmay file a grievance or complaint with OCR at any time without exhausting District procedures. Additionally, theprocedures must make clear that filing a complaint with OCR will not render moot the District's obligation to honor aSection 504 impartial due process hearing request. Furthermore, the procedures must provide clear notice regarding howa hearing officer's decision can be impartially reviewed, as required by 34 C.F.R. § 104.36.Please review whether the District has adopted Section 504 policies and procedural safeguards that:A. Clarify that the grievance procedure and the Section 504 due process hearing procedure are separate and distinct.B. Specify the rights and procedural steps for each.C. Clarify which issues are appropriate for grievance procedures processing.D. Clarify which issues are appropriate for Section 504 due process hearings.E. State that the parent/guardian has the right to obtain a Section 504 due process hearingi. without going through a grievance procedure;ii. without submitting to mediation, andiii. without going to the Board of Education.F. State that any mediation process in the Section 504 due process hearing process is voluntary and not mandatory.G. Include and define a process by which any party aggrieved by the findings and decision in the due process hearing mayappeal and receive an impartial review of that determination consistent with the requirements of 34 C.F.R. 104.36.H. State that if the relief sought under Section 504 and/or Title II is also available under the lndividuals with DisabilitiesEducation Act (IDEA), then the due process hearing request will be processed instead under IDEA due process proceduresbecause, where similar relief is sought, an IDEA due process hearing must be held before a U.S. District Court would havejurisdiction to hear the Section 504 Title II claim. (Note: 28 C.F.R. Part 35, §35.103
 –
Relationship to other laws: (a) Rule ofInterpretation. Except as otherwise provided in this part, this part shall not be construed to apply a lesser standard thanthe standards applied under title V of the rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 791) or the regulations issued by Federalagencies pursuant to that title. (b) Other laws. This part does not invalidate or limit the remedies, rights, and proceduresof any other Federal laws, or State or local laws [including State common law] that provide greater or equal protection for

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