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Stay-put protections

Dictionary definition of protection

Source: Blue Coat Photos

What does Legal Council for Health Justice do when children with disabilities are having trouble continuing the services that a school district wants to changes? We pass a bill to fix it. The Legal Council’s child health advocates wrote the legislative language that will ensure continued access to special education services when a school district changes a child’s educational placement but the parent wants to challenge the change (called “stay-put protections” in legalese).

Why is this legislation important? School districts were not continuing services for children who challenge the district-required changes unless the parent or guardian requested a due process hearing. These hearings are expensive and filled with conflict, and many parents were unable to meaningfully participate in the hearings.

The bill, which was passed unanimously through the Illinois House and Senate and signed by Governor Rauner on Aug. 18, 2017, will reduce due process hearings in favor of mediation, which is less expensive for all parties, not adversarial, and supportive of better relationships between parents, teachers, and schools.

Representatives Robyn Gabel and Carol Sente and Senators Don Harmon, Julie A. Morrison, and Donne E. Trotter were sponsors of the bill, leading the way to ensure continuity of services for children with disabilities in Illinois.

Read the entire press release here.