Special Education – 10 Tips for Administrators

Over the years we may have read or heard about cases involving special education that have been taken to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal(HRTO) or even to court. In reviewing these cases one has to reflect on how to avoid repeating similar situations. Below is a list of ten tips that I would suggest school administrators consider in order to help them avoid potential legal problems in the area of special education.

  1. Document all meetings and conversations.
  2. Follow-up with what was promised.
  3. Make sure that you can follow through with something before promising to do it.
  4. Be aware of your legal obligations – the Education Act and Regulations as they pertain to Special Education
  5. Don’t delay providing support services for a student – explore and document options that will benefit the student.
  6. We have an obligation under the Code to accommodate students with disabilities to the point of undue hardship, regardless of whether the students are receiving any medical treatment in the community or not.
  7. We have an obligation under the Education Act to provide appropriate special education placements, programs and services to exceptional students. Parental conduct or lack of parental authority cannot be used as a justification for not meeting an exceptional student’s needs.
  8. A parent’s “fierce advocacy” for his or her child does not prevent us from accommodating the child’s needs to the point of undue hardship.
  9. Always focus on the child’s individualized needs and best interests to determine an appropriate placement and supports for a child.
  10. Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!

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