LRP’s Special Education School Attorneys Conference, January 14 - 16, 2016, Hilton Austin, Texas REGISTER

[2017 Program Materials]
Agenda At-A-Glance
7:30 - 8:30 a.m. Networking Breakfast
8:30 - 11:30 a.m.

ADA and Section 504: Emerging Issues
Dave Richards, Richards, Lindsay & Martín, LLP, Austin, Texas

Section 504 and the ADA are receiving increasing attention as avenues for services and results not available under special education. In this lively session, Dave Richards will look at areas where these two civil rights laws are creating new or interesting dynamics for public schools. Among the topics to be addressed are: the growing number of OCR complaints on school website accessibility; the Department of Justice's position on the exclusion of gender identity disorders from the ADA/504 definition of “physical or mental impairments”; allegations by special education students that 504 LRE has been violated when IDEA LRE claims fail; efforts to add services or devices through ADA/504 when the student is already receiving IDEA FAPE; and other topics of emerging interest. Questions are encouraged.
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Lunch on your own
1 - 4 p.m.

Responding to Claims of Discriminatory Harassment in School: Legal Update and Compliance Tips
Michael J. Joyce Michael J. Joyce, Nuttall, MacAvoy & Joyce, P.C., Marshfield, Mass.

Claims of disability harassment seem to come hand-in-hand with OCR investigations into school district policies and procedures. In this in-depth session, Michael Joyce will prepare you for when OCR comes calling. Referencing recent case law, he’ll not only define the legal obligations and school district liability under state and federal law, but also address the nexus of free speech rights and civil rights, and provide pragmatic approaches for responding to reports of harassment. Topics to be addressed include: student handbook considerations when developing procedures and grievance procedures; appropriate interim measures/interventions for alleged victims of harassment; adequate, reliable and impartial investigations of harassment complaints; the definition of a hostile environment; student confidentiality and FERPA implications of investigations; and important steps districts can take that are reasonably calculated to eliminate a hostile environment.
7 - 8:30 a.m. Networking Breakfast
8 - 10 a.m.

The Year in Review 2016 and a Look Ahead to 2017
Julie Weatherly Julie Weatherly, Resolutions in Special Education, Inc., Mobile, Ala.

Julie Weatherly kicks off the conference with the always popular overview of the most important cases decided during the past year — enhanced by her expert commentary on how they affect your everyday practice of special education law. Additionally, she’ll examine what likely will be on the horizon, identifying key litigation trends to prepare you for 2017 and beyond.
10 - 10:15 a.m. Refreshment Break
10:15 - 11:15 a.m.

The Accidental Client: Ethical Issues Related to Identifying Who Your Client Is and When the Relationship Begins
Karen Haase Karen Haase, KSB School Law, P.C., L.L.O., Lincoln, Neb.

Most special education attorneys spend a significant amount of time training staff and working with individual employees of their educational entity clients. Sticky ethical issues can arise when attorneys are not absolutely clear who they represent and when they are giving legal advice. Karen Haase will review the parameters of recognized client-lawyer relationships, many of which can be created accidentally from a lawyer’s point of view, and often when a lawyer least expects it. She’ll also provide suggestions about how to avoid unintended representation.
11:15 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Transgender Students: Balancing Rights and Staying Compliant
John Comegno John Comegno, Comegno Law Group, P.C., Moorestown, N.J.

Federal and state laws, regulations and “guidance” regarding the rights of transgender students vary and conflict. They present near-daily changes governing facility access, student expression, and the boundaries of rights between persons within our schools. John Comegno will explore the underlying legal principles and considerations inherent in this hot topic; discuss pending cases and the current status of the law; and provide practical, relevant advice regarding staying compliant and balancing rights today. You’ll discover common pitfalls and compliance errors regarding the rights of transgender students as well as best practice policies and process to compliantly balance the rights of students.
12:30 - 1:45 p.m. Lunch on your own
1:45 - 3 p.m.

What Really Is Special Education?
Jan Tomsky Jan Tomsky, Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP, Oakland, Calif.

Under the IDEA, a student is eligible for special education if he or she is found to have at least one of a statutory list of disabilities and needs special education as a result. But how do IEP teams determine whether or not a student “needs” special education? Jan Tomsky will look at the meaning of this term through an overview of the relevant law, as well as important interpretations from the courts and due process hearing decisions. She will focus on important issues such as the need for individualized instruction vs. classroom accommodations, whether academic success automatically means that a student does not require special education, and much more. Plus, you’ll learn how courts are distinguishing between increasingly sophisticated general education supports and special education services.
3 - 3:15 p.m. Refreshment Break
3:15 - 4:30 p.m.

Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia: Three New "Ds" Under Specific Learning Disability
Isabel Rocha Machado Isabel Rocha Machado, Machado Law Group, Clark, N.J.

There’s a push across the country to recognize and meet the needs of students with dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia. States have increased districts’ obligations to students with dyslexia and reading disabilities, with dyscalculia not far behind. These “diagnoses” interplay closely with the classification of students with specific learning disabilities, making identifying and developing IEPs difficult. Eligibility disputes often arise due to the use of severe discrepancy and/or response to intervention models, and due process disputes over appropriate methodology are not uncommon. Isabel Rocha Machado will review the most recent developments in this emerging area of special education law, share how the trend can affect your everyday practice, and illustrate how you can stay ahead of the curve.
7:30 - 8:30 a.m. Networking Breakfast
8 - 9:15 a.m.

Exiting Students From Special Education
Jan Tomsky Jan Tomsky, Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost, L.L.P., Oakland, Calif.

Exiting a student from special education may occur in a variety of ways, including when the IEP team concludes that a student no longer meets eligibility criteria and does not require special education instruction and services. Through an analysis of relevant law and illustrative case decisions, Jan Tomsky will cover the unique procedural and substantive issues that surround an IEP team’s considerations related to exiting a student from special education. She will also discuss other circumstances in which a student exits special education, including graduation, “aging-out” and parental revocation of consent.
9:15 - 9:30 a.m. Refreshment Break
9:30 - 10:45 a.m.

Surrogates, Child Welfare Workers and Others Who Can Serve as Parents for Exceptional Students
Karen Haase Karen Haase, KSB School Law, P.C., L.L.O., Lincoln, Neb.

When districts try to serve children who have no adult active in their lives, whose biological parents are so impaired that they cannot meaningfully participate in IEP meetings, or whose parents are homeless or incarcerated, they look to their school attorney for advice. Karen Haase will explain when to counsel clients to appoint individuals to serve as surrogate parents and the training districts must provide. She will also explore the role of child welfare agencies in appointing individuals to serve in the role of parents and share practical guidance for working with these agencies. Plus, you’ll learn best practices in representing districts in these situations while still working in the best interest of these vulnerable children.
10:45 - 11 a.m. Refreshment Break
11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

ED, EBD, ODD, Socially Maladjusted: What’s the Difference and Why Does It Matter?
Melinda Jacobs Melinda Jacobs, Law Office of Melinda Jacobs, Townsend, Tenn.

School attorneys are increasingly being confronted with conflicts involving eligibility, placement and programming disputes for students with difficult, defiant and/or dangerous behaviors. Clients’ confusion when navigating the IDEA and Section 504 eligibility criteria and processes lead to difficult questions: Are there some students whose actions are willful rather than a result of an emotional impairment? Can the application of LRE and the development of FBAs/BIPs actually do more harm than good? Melinda Jacobs will review the case law, regulations, research and current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria, and propose a new way of responding to these dilemmas legally and effectively. You’ll leave this session with valuable tips for assisting IEP teams and 504 teams.
12:15 - 1:30 p.m. Lunch on your own
1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

Ethical Traps for the Special Education Attorney
Isabel Rocha Machado Isabel Rocha Machado, Machado Law Group, Clark, N.J.

Isabel Rocha Machado will apply ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct to scenarios that special education attorneys routinely struggle with in their day-to-day practice, taking you through real-life examples of how to handle the IEP meeting, the due process hearing and other ethical minefields. She’ll discuss whether you should attend IEP meetings, the authority of the board of education in special education decisions, what to do if an advocate attends an IEP meeting without the parent, and more.
2:30 - 3:45 p.m.

Coming Home: A Move From More Restrictive to Less Restrictive Placement
Alisia St. Florian Alisia St. Florian, Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, Quincy, Mass.

IDEA placement litigation can be some of the most costly so it’s important to hone your case assessment abilities and appreciate the significance of the specific facts of each placement case. Join Alisia St. Florian for an in-depth look at the legal standards and practical applications of bringing a student in an out-of-district placement back to an in-district one. She’ll cover your client’s procedural obligation during an out-of-district unilateral placement and detail the evidence a school needs to present if a placement dispute leads to due process. Plus, you’ll learn how to determine the best time to return a student to a less restrictive environment when the parents or guardians object and invoke their stay-put rights.
School Attorneys