Special Education Law Conference - May 10, 2019

The Special Education Law Conference is designed so that participants attend a total of five sessions during the day, including the keynote presentation. 

The morning sessions run from 10:00 am - 11:05 am and then again from 11:20 am - 12:25 pm. The same format is repeated in the afternoon with sessions running from 1:40 pm to 2:40 pm and then again from 2:50 - 3:50 pm.

 2019 Special Education Law Conference Agenda

Registration and refreshments: 7:30 am - 8:30 am

Keynote Presentation: 8:30 am - 9:45 am

Special Education Case Law: Year in Review

This opening session will provide an update of the latest significant published court decisions under the IDEA and § 504/ADA across the country during the past year, with a special emphasis on the Third Circuit.  This update addresses various recent issues, including: What are the latest rulings on IDEA child find and eligibility, including the use of RTI?  Has the Supreme Court's Endrew F. resulted in a significant change in the outcome of substantive FAPE rulings?  What are the most recent wrinkles in the courts' developments of compensatory education, tuition reimbursement, and other IDEA remedies?  What are the latest issues and outcomes under Section 504 and the ADA?

Keynote Presenter: Perry Zirkel, Lehigh University - Bethlehem, PA

Morning Sessions: 10:00 am-11:05 am & 11:20 -12:25 pm

Collaboration Between Families and Schools: Are We on the Same Page?

Misunderstandings between families and schools regarding parental expectations for and district obligations to students with disabilities can lead to unnecessary conflicts and litigation. This session will discuss ways that schools and families can communicate and collaborate to focus on FAPE.  For example, what should both sides reasonably expect in the IEP’s section for specially designed instruction?

Moderator:  Diane Holben, Ed.D., East Stroudsburg University
Co-Presenter:  Robin Cunconon-Lahr, Esq., Greater Good Legal LLC
Co-Presenter:  Claudia Huot, Esq., Wisler-Pearlstine, LLP

Interaction Between School Resource Officers and Students with Disabilities

This session will identify various court decisions where the actions of school resource officers (SROs) in relation federal civil rights suits under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment, Section 504/ADA, and supplemental state claims.  Have the SROs and the courts recognized the special circumstances of students with IEPs and 504 plans, such as the manifestation determination concept? What steps are available to educators and parents to minimize the physical and emotional injuries to student with disabilities that some SROs do under the rubric of "safety"?

Moderator:  Bridget O'Connell, Ed.D., Palisades School District
Co-Presenter:  Heather Hulse, Esq., McAndrews Law Offices
Co-Presenter:  Peter Amuso, Esq., Rudolph Clark, LLC

Legal Obligations to Students with Disabilities Both for Preventing and Responding to Student Suicide

This session will provide an analysis of a school district's obligations to support students who communicate suicidal ideations, including the role of the IEP Team following a child's discharge from crisis. The presenters will also summarize key court cases arising from student suicide, focusing on those where the student was suspected or determined to be eligible for an IEP or 504 plan.  Finally, the presenters will address the ripple effects of student suicide. For example, what proactive steps should district’s take to address the special needs of children with disabilities in the wake of a student suicide?

Moderator: Sandy Shacklady-White, PaTTAN-East
Co-Presenter: Brooke Saye, Esq., Stock and Leader: Attorneys at Law
Co-Presenter:  Daniel Woody, Esq., Woody Law Offices, PC

I Had an IEP or 504 Plan and Am Off to College: What Do I Do Next?

This session will focus on students previously identified with special needs who transition to college.  Presenters will examine students’ rights beyond the IEP and initial 504 and university responsibilities to provide services and support.  Consideration will also be given to students’ decisions whether or not to self advocate and identify as having received accommodations in the past.

Moderator:  Beth Godett, Ed.D., J.D., Consultant
Co-Presenter:  Ira Fingles, Esq., Hinkle, Fingles, Prior & Fischer
Co-Presenter:  David Andrews, Esq., Juniata College

Public Records in the Digital Age: What is Fair Game?

This session will address the requirements of FERPA and Pennsylvania law in relation to not only “hard copy” but also various electronic forms of records relating to students with disabilities.  Which of the various types of records do these laws cover? For the covered records, what are the access rights of parents and district personnel, respectively?

Moderator:  Gina MacFalls, Ed.D., Bellefonte Area School District
Presenter:  Brian Subers, Esq., Fox Rothschild, LLP
Co-Presenter:  David Berney, Esq., Law Offices of Berney & Sang, PC

Security of Schools and of Students with Disabilities Before and After Disasters

School shootings, natural disasters, and pollution problems, such as the Flint lead crisis, are on the increase.  What are the legally based recommendations for students who are eligible under the IDEA and/or Section 504 in preparation for, during, and after such disasters to minimize 1) harmful effects on their learning and sense of security and 2) potential exposure of school districts to child find and FAPE violations and to common law and constitutional tort liability for money damages?

Moderator:  Sarah Dragotta, Esq., Latasha Davis & McKenna, PC
Co-Presenter:  Aimee R. Zundel, Esq., Weiss Burkardt Kramer, LLC
Co-Presenter:  Judy Gran, Esq., Reisman Carolla Gran, LLP

Medical Marijuana in Schools: Implications for Educators, School Administration, and Parents

The Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act identifies 17 disabilities (e.g., seizures and autism) for which students can receive certification to use medical marijuana during the school day. New Jersey has a set of comparable laws, including one pertaining to administration of medical marijuana at school.  This frontier brings with it new challenges. What are the legal implications for school policies, personnel, and students?

Moderator:  Sarah Jane DeHaas, Ph.D.
Co-Presenter:  Timothy Gilsbach, Esq., King, Spry, Herman, Freund & Faul, LLC
Co-Presenter:  Christine Taylor Brann, Esq., JSDC Law Offices

Lunch: 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Afternoon Sessions: 1:40 pm - 2:40 pm & 2:50 - 3:50 pm

Charter Schools and Students with Disabilities

This session will focus on the ways in which parents and charter school personnel should develop and implement appropriate IEPs for eligible students with disabilities. For example, what are the problems and solutions for providing FAPE in the LRE for a diverse population of students in the charter school context?  What are the special issues in charter schools that differ from those of traditional district schools?

Moderator:  Harold Tarriff, Ed.D., Retired Administrator
Co-Presenter:  Nicole D. Snyder, Esq., Latasha Davis & McKenna
Co-Presenter:  Daniel B. Cooper, Esq., Law Offices of Kenneth S. Cooper

IEEs: Know When to Hold Them, Know When to Fold Them, and Know When to Walk Away

This session will explore the legal options available to the parties when the parent requests or presents an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE).  What are the school district’s obligations when the parent requests the IEE at public expense? Regardless of which party pays, what does the district’s obligation to “consider” the IEE mean?  A seasoned moderator and experienced attorneys from both sides will identify and address the various legal nuances and provide a pragmatic discussion of the pros and cons of litigating them.

Moderator:  Gina R. Scala, Ed.D.,  East Stroudsburg University
Co-Presenter:  Jane M. Williams, Esq., Sweet Stevens Katz Williams
Co-Presenter:  Liliana Yazno-Bartle, Esq., Law Offices of Caryl Andrea Oberman, LLC

FAPE for Students in Other Agencies’ Placements

This session will focus on district obligations for out-of-district placements of students with disabilities by Medicaid, juvenile justice, or other agencies, including but not limited to residential treatment facilities.  What are the legal responsibilities for the district of residence and the district of location under the IDEA and, separately, under Section 504? What rights do parents and adult students have to challenge the IEP and/or 504 plan?

Moderator:  Julie B. Fogt, Ed.D., Centennial School
Co-Presenter:  R. Taylor Ruilova, Esq., Comegno Law Group, P.C.
Co-Presenter:  Hillary D. Freeman, Esq., Freeman Law Offices, LLC

Mental Health and Students with Disabilities

Mental health concerns, such as anxiety and depression, have become increasingly prevalent in school settings. What are the obligations and protections under the IDEA and Section 504/ADA when these mental health issues extend beyond the school walls, and intersect with medical service delivery models? This session will explore the every-graying line between educational vs. purely medical concerns, the inter-agency obligations, and how best to support students while navigating the various service models.

Moderator:  Shannon Pierce, Esq., Fox Rothschild, LLP
Co-Presenter:  Paul C. Kalac, Esq., Weiner Law Group, LLC
Co-Presenter:  Stephen J. Jacobson, Esq., Psy.d., Jacobson & John, LLP

Technology and Students with Disabilities: 7 Essential Legal EdTech Questions-and-Answers for Parents and Educators

Technology is ever-present in today's schools, and it yields various new legal issues, particularly in special education.  From website accessibility to the use of classroom live-streaming for homebound students to issues related to recording in the classroom and of IEP meetings, this session addresses the legal ins and outs of today's technology.  More specifically, the session identifies seven legal issues for parents and special educators and provides tips and tools that they can use to ensure that technology is utilized for special needs students effectively. Is your school district’s digital footprint, website, and apps compliant with Section 504, ADA,  IDEA, and other currently applicable laws?

Moderator/Presenter:  Charles W. Jelley, Esq. LL.M, PA Office for Dispute Resolution
Presenter:  Erin Gilsbach, Esq., EdLaw Interactive
Reactor:  Bradley Flynn, Esq., Montgomery Law Offices

Physical Restraint and Seclusion of Students with Disabilities

The physical restraint and seclusion of students with disabilities is a frequent subject of state laws and federal litigation.  What are the requirements of New Jersey and Pennsylvania laws? What have the legal bases and outcomes of seclusion and restraint court cases nationally?  What are the alternatives for addressing behavior of students with disabilities that effective for their safety and the safety of others?

Moderator:  Michael F. Kaelber, Esq., Legal One, NJPSA
Co-Presenter:  Mark W. Voigt, Esq., Law Office of Mark W. Voigt
Co-Presenter:  John Worthington, Esq., Legal One, NJPSA

Ethics in Special Education Litigation

This session will examine the ethical challenges for attorneys when representing special education litigants. Open for other interested individuals as well as attorneys, it will provide a nuts and bolts discussion of ethical challenges faced by special education attorneys advising families and school districts. Among the various vexing questions it will address are: Who is the client?  What are the ethical responsibilities when interacting with unrepresented parties?

Moderator:  John Burns, Esq., NJ School Boards Association
Presenter:  David Rubin, Esq., David B., Rubin, PC
Reactor:  Joshua M. Kershenbaum, Esq., Kershenbaum & Raffaele