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Stay-put protections

Governor Rauner signs a bill drafted by Legal Council for Health Justice which clarifies and strengthens the ability of parents and guardians to pursue mediation where there are disagreements with the school about their child’s special education services. In addition to clarifying the process for children to continue to receive special education services during the entire mediation process (called “stay-put protections”), the bill also requires updating of the Notice of Procedural Safeguards for special education that parents must receive. This notice had not been updated since 2009!

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Student success must include health and safety

At the Legal Council, we believe that any revision of school quality policies must consider student health, safety, and well-being. Read more about our position in the following letter we submitted this week to the Chicago Tribune.

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It’s Time for Illinois to Smarten Up

Here’s a remarkably stupid bit of Illinois law that has annoyed and incensed us for about 20 years: school principals across the state must be given the names of HIV-positive students in their schools.  Furthermore, principals must disclose the names of those students to school superintendents.  And principals may identify those students to school nurses, teachers, and certain other staff who have a “need to know.” Why oh why does some school superintendent need to know that 11-year-old Johnny has HIV?  Why does his algebra teacher?  Considering that we know with absolute scientific certainty that HIV is not transmitted through daily contact at school, why does anyone in a school need to know? Why is Illinois the only state in the union that requires the names of HIV-positive students be turned over to school administrators? This idiotic law has long been defended but...

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Ring Ring…1986 Called and Wants Its Knee-Jerk Fear Back

A couple weeks ago we got  a call from a guy who was planning to submit an online enrollment form to a paramedic program at a major Chicago university.  But whaddya know, the application included a student health form that asked just about every intrusive health question you can imagine, including whether he has HIV. Wait a minute, aren’t we finished with this nonsense?  Aren’t we past the days when supposedly enlightened officials insist that people with HIV are “too risky” to be paramedics, or dental hygienists, or day care workers? OK, OK, we know that the form doesn’t say that people with HIV are barred from the program.  But hey, after 25 years on the job, we’re admittedly a little prickly on this issue.  It seemed to us that a paramedic school has no business asking about a prospective student’s HIV...

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