Child Safety and Education

In the sexual assault or child sexual abuse arena, the alleged victim typically sues organization for claims such as negligent supervision. Recently, we have seen more lawsuits by the alleged offenders. These lawsuits give some helpful principles for organizations to follow, and perhaps needed warnings.

Hiring an attorney to help with special education or Section 504 issues will be a significant financial investment. What should you look for? Here is a list of six things to consider from an education law attorney who practices in Colorado.

A multi-chapter resource about how interactions between parents of children with disabilities and school districts can go wrong in so many ways: refusal to evaluate a child; inadequate IEP; not carrying out the IEP; harassing or bullying the child; refusing access to extracurricular activities; and many more. This frustrates parents and students. When this happens, what can you do?

How do you support your child with disabilities? In what ways is the school district required to help? Navigating the maze of IDEA and Section 504 can be intimidating. Some of the work you can do on your own (see the blog series “Access to Justice for My Child with Disabilities”) but there are also ways an attorney can help.

A white paper by Theresa Lynn Sidebotham, Esq. about how religious organizations must devote time, energy, and money to prevent, stop, and heal abuse whenever it is found. This paper examines the current landscape of this kind of abuse, then it addresses prevention and wise approaches to investigations.

Even when schools put in place an IEP or Section 504 plan for your student, they may not address extracurricular access. This can make it hard for your student to participate in extracurricular events. After a government report found that students with disabilities do not have equal opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities, the Office for Civil Rights issued Section 504 guidance.

Reporting child abuse is complex and important. Failure to report abuse can leave children at risk. Still, be wise before picking up the phone. An error in one direction may leave a child abused or make you criminally liable. An error in the other direction may damage a family, ruin a career, or expose you to a defamation lawsuit. 

How much effort do schools have to make to get a parent to an IEP meeting? The Ninth Circuit answered this question in June of 2013 in a Hawaii case, Doug C. v. State of Hawaii Dep’t of Education.

I am always amazed at how easy these management issues become once an organization (or family) implements them. I got to thinking about some of the ways a parent can act and relate that can help prepare their child to not be abused. I think of four behaviors right away: 1) On the radar, 2) Chatter, 3) Buddy, and 4) Touch. 

For abuse to happen, three factors must be present. First, there must be a perpetrator who desires to abuse. Second, there must be a child who will take the role of a victim. Third, there must be an environment that provides enough privacy for the perpetrator to act. If prevention and training can stop any one of the three factors necessary for child sexual abuse, the abuse will not happen.