LRP's Special Education School Attorneys Conference | February 1 - 4 The Westin Sarasota, Fla.

2022 AGENDA AT A GLANCE

Day 1 | Thursday, February 3

With court-packing back in the popular discourse, it's easy to forget the real court-packers – special education litigators! Special education litigation continues to rise, and the last few years have produced novel and interesting issues for the courts to address as the wheels of justice slowly roll into the new decade. This fast-paced session will do what even the most packed judicial bench couldn't by dispensing with all of the cases you need to know from 2021 while providing practical advice you need to avoid cramming the dockets of your court. Karen Haase will point out the relevant underlying facts and the propositions of law articulated and applied by the court in each decision. After this in-depth review, you'll be able to apply the propositions of law articulated by the courts to practical, personal examples and issues.

With increased focus on restraint and seclusion at the federal level and an uptick in litigation involving these issues, it's essential that school law practitioners are up to speed on the state of the law, case law trends, and best practices for addressing allegations related to restraint and seclusion in due process, OCR complaints, and the courtroom. Brandon Wright will recommend how to advise clients on policy and implementation issues related to restraint and seclusion, including through the IEP process. He'll then review the most recent and relevant decisions, plus share tips for anticipating and addressing arguments raised by plaintiffs and their experts. You'll take home practical guidance for preparing for your next deposition and hearing involving the alleged use of restraint and seclusion at school.

As every school lawyer knows, with a new presidential administration comes a new approach to the way the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights addresses disability complaints. Join Jackie Wernz for a fast-paced, interactive update on the first year of the "new" OCR under President Biden. Jackie, a former civil rights attorney, will analyze recent investigations, Letters of Findings, and guidance as well as point out the trends that occur (and don't occur) with respect to disability cases at OCR in presidential transitions. You'll leave with key information you can use to advise school district clients on topics such as equitable access, discipline, retaliation, and more.

School attorneys often attend IEP team meetings, review draft reports and IEP documents, and ghostwrite for school officials. These activities can blur the line between providing legal guidance and offending ethical and professional responsibility. During this interactive presentation, Geneva Jones examines professional standards for special education school attorneys using hypothetical and real-world examples to prepare you to identify and avoid ethical missteps.

Data demonstrates that special education students are significantly more likely to be involved in incidents that invoke Title IX. This adds another layer of complexity to an already convoluted formal grievance process when a school receives allegations of "sexual harassment" as defined in the "new" Title IX regulations. Bobby Truhe will highlight the overlapping and conflicting areas within the IDEA, Section 504 and the ADA, and Title IX when schools address incidents of sexualized misbehavior involving students with disabilities. Relying on recent guidance, court cases, and two years of war stories under the 2020 Title IX regulations, he'll share practical advice for meeting the concurrent obligations imposed by these and other applicable laws. Find out if an eventual suspension, revision, or rescission of the 2020 regulations is on the horizon and what changes will mean to your clients.

Attendee's in a Session
Day 2 | Friday, February 4

Federal law provides a wide range of options to collaboratively address special education disputes before they escalate into formal complaints. Join education attorney and mediator Laura Anthony for a review of these options and the tactics available to school lawyers to help their districts reduce litigation costs and minimize the time and effort required to respond to administrative and due process complaints. From mediation to resolution sessions to offers of settlement, Laura will clarify how conflict resolution can benefit all parties involved.

Moving beyond the procedural requirements for manifestation determinations, it is important for school attorneys to understand and appreciate the keys to success in the substance of the MDR decision-making process. While the procedural piece is no doubt important, Brandon Wright will dive deeper into the case law and guidance for answers to the ultimate question of all manifestation determination reviews: Was the conduct in question caused by, or have a direct and substantial relationship to, the child's disability? He'll share practical takeaways tailored just for school attorneys on MDR decisions.

The right to receive FAPE is broad and applies to most, but not all, students. Think of FAPE as an island filled with all eligible students. Which students, if any, can be safely removed from the island? School attorneys need to know that unless there is a clear exception, the IDEA states that students still possess important safeguards. Lenore Knudtson will review those exceptions, including the age of eligibility, revocation of consent, private schools, and other special situations so you are prepared for the atypical due process complaint. Citing important case law and guidance, she'll detail why the stakes are so high, and how you can use a decision tree to guide your clients when it comes to determining FAPE obligations. Come prepared to think deeply and ask questions.

The IDEA's stay-put provision typically applies in a variety of contexts, including moves from early intervention services to special education, private placements, transition from elementary to high school, and graduation. During the pandemic, stay-put also came into play when a placement was no longer available. Courtney Stillman will explain the application of the IDEA provision in various situations as well as lessons from COVID-19 cases. She'll suggest when changes can be made to stay-put placements, its enforceability, and how it works during appeals. Plus, you will glean advanced tactics on how to use the stay-put provision in settlement agreements and as a bargaining tool during negotiations of special education disputes.

We've all been there: A special education dispute with facts that are bad enough on their own, but added to the mix is a parent, opposing counsel, witness – or even a school district employee – acting poorly. The case becomes your worst nightmare. How do you ethically deal with incivility, hostility, bullying, and even dishonesty from others during a special education dispute without compromising your own attorney ethics? Jackie Wernz will provide guidance for handling difficult personalities, professionalism concerns, and other issues under the Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

Attendee's in a Session