States must assure that virtual schools follow all requirements of federal special education law
WASHINGTON, DC – In response to the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) guidance to states and districts regarding their responsibilities for students with disabilities attending public virtual schools, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc. (COPAA) issued the following statement:
“COPAA is extremely pleased with the guidanceissued today. The clarity and specificity affirms the state’s responsibilities to ensure that districts allowing virtual schools must comply with all aspects of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act -- not only ensuring the provision of a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment, but also their explicit obligation to locate and evaluate children with disabilities. We know this will help parents as they seek and determine whether a virtual school is appropriate for their child whether it be for one class, as a part-time or even a full-time option. Every child with or suspected of having a disability must be supported regardless of educational setting."
COPAA is an independent, nonprofit organization of parents, attorneys, advocates, and related professionals. COPAA members nationwide work to protect the civil rights and secure excellence in education on behalf of the 6.5 million children with disabilities in America. COPAA’s mission is to serve as a national voice for special education rights and is grounded in the belief that every child deserves the right to a quality education that prepares him or her for meaningful employment, higher education and lifelong learning, as well as full participation in his or her community.