Monday, July 16, 2012

NYC taxpayers may have to pay for private school for bullying victim -

EXCLUSIVE: NYC taxpayers may have to pay for private school for bullying victim -

Unfortunately, this article was too short to address the real issue here: The Federal Ct Judge looked to the Dear Colleague Letter issued in 2010 by the Secretary of Education in Washington. Until this case, courts looked to standards of safety/security for students on school grounds during the school day for determining the school's liability.

The Dear Colleague Letter was issued following a by-invitation-only DoE/DOJ/DHHS summit of roughly 100 of us (bullying and cyberbullying experts) hosted in DC. The letter clarified the schools' obligations to assert authority when students' civil rights are impacted by bullying in any form.

But whether the Dear Colleague Letter was intended to create a new legal standard or not is not clear.

Given the large number of bullying and cyberbullying incidents in schools and the unfortunate inability of schools to address these adequately, special needs students (if this is upheld on appeal) will by and large be entitled to private school education at the taxpayers' expense. And this standard will make it easier to sue school districts on the new Dear Colleague standards.

An unintended or intended consequence?

I'll ask the Secretary of Education when the next summit is held in August.

But for NY taxpayers, this may be too little/too late.