Toolbox Tuesday: OSERS Q and A 2002 Section A

The Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services has updated the Q and A document on student discipline that it released in 2009. Our firm has always included the 2009 Q and A in our Toolbox book, and the latest version of the Toolbox will include the new and improved 2022 version. On Toolbox Tuesdays for the next several weeks I’m going to highlight some of the important points we can glean from this new resource. We’ll do this section by section—so let’s start with Section A.

Section A includes six questions that provide an overview of the school’s responsibility. They tell us that the evaluation of a student should include, “if appropriate, social and emotional status.” They tell us that the FAPE requirement includes addressing a student’s behavioral needs. They tell us that IEP Teams (ARDs) must ask themselves if the student has behaviors that impede the learning of the student or others, and if the answer is “yes” the Team must address the behavior through positive behavioral interventions, strategies and supports.

All of this should sound very familiar to those of you who have been through a Toolbox training. Looking for something new and helpful, I took note of Footnote 12, which provides a veritable “laundry list” of ways that schools can positively support students with behavioral needs. The federal regulations toss out terms like “supplementary aids and services, and program modifications and supports” but Footnote 12 spells that out in a more concrete and helpful way with this list:

  1. Counseling services for mental health needs (e.g., anxiety, depression, etc.);
  2. Social skill instruction;
  3. Explicit reinforcement of positive behavior (such as a classroom token economy);
  4. Explicit instruction in stress, anxiety and depression management;
  5. Consultation with a professional with expertise in behavioral interventions to create a positive behavioral support plan;
  6. Increased access to counselors;
  7. Access to targeted strategies based on peer-reviewed research to support social, emotional, behavioral, or mental health needs (e.g., anxiety scaling, mindfulness exercises); changing the student’s class schedule; training staff on additional positive behavioral supports and universal design for learning; and
  8. Access to consultation with related service providers and others with specialized expertise.

When I do a Toolbox Training and I suggest that kids that are using drugs at school should have a BIP, I am often asked what such a BIP would look like. This list is a good place to get you thinking about the answer to that question.


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Tomorrow: feeling exhausted?