DOE reaches special education agreement with Memphis schools

The city of Memphis will overhaul its health care services in its public schools as part of a resolution agreement reached April 23 with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

Specifically, the schools will be required to ensure that the district is properly evaluating students with allergies, asthma, diabetes, and other health problems for potential disabilities entitled to federal protection.

“We look forward to working with the Memphis community to ensure that all students with disabilities, regardless of their race, have equal access to a quality education,” said Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for the Office for Civil Rights, in an Education Department news release. “The agreement reached today is an important step in that direction.”

The agreement also requires the schools to inform all parents of its obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and to “revise and implement policies and procedures to ensure appropriate and prompt identification, evaluation, and placement of students with disabilities.” Personnel involved with referring children for special education services will also receive mandatory training.

In January, the Education Department sent a letter to education leaders nationwide, reminding them of their obligations under the 2008 amendments to the IDEA to identify and provide services to students with disabilities.