Our View of the Legislature: Special Education

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The House Courts of Justice, Civil Law subcommittee, will hear a bill today that would prohibit families from being assisted by anyone but an attorney in an IDEA due process hearing.

HB 1381 (Leftwich) restricts non attorney advocates from assisting families in special education due process hearings.  The bill requires the state Department of Education to develop a training program for non-attorney advocates and bars anyone not so trained from participating in a hearing.  dLCV opposes the legislation as it would further restrict an already insufficient supply of assistance to families in the special education process.  The bill in its current form has a fiscal impact in excess of a million dollars, so we expect to see amendments when the bill comes before the House Courts of Justice subcommittee, early this afternoon.


Here are some of the other bills affecting special education rights:

HB 134 (Runion) and SB 186 (Dunnavant) direct the Department of Education to develop guidelines for IEP teams to include age-appropriate sex education for children with disabilities.  The Senate version of the bill has already been passed by the full Senate.  The House version has been approved by the Education Committee and read in the House on two different days.

HB 49 (McNamara) would have required the Department of Education to develop programs to help children in private placements transition into their local public schools.  The bill was continued to 2021 in subcommittee.

HB 762 (Cole) would have allowed the use of funds under the Children’s Services Act to assist a student to transfer from private school to public school.  The bill was continued until 2021.

SB 128 (Suetterlein) requires the Department of Education to develop a pilot program to assist students to transfer from private schools to public schools.  The bill is before the Senate Committee on Health and Education, subcommittee on public education.

SB 214 (Suetterlein) requires a guardian ad litem of a child between the ages of 17-21 to review the child’s IEP as part of its report to the Court.  The bill has been approved by the full Senate.

The mission of the disAbility Law Center of Virginia is to advance independence, choice and self-determination; protect legal, human and civil rights; and eliminate abuse, neglect and discrimination of people with disabilities through zealous and uncompromising legal advocacy and representation.