US Department of Education investigating Indiana’s special education services during COVID

USA/January 15, 2020/By: Arika Herron- Indianapolis Star/Source:

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is investigating the Indiana Department of Education over what it called, in a letter sent Tuesday to Education Secretary Katie Jenner, “disturbing reports” that the state denied students with disabilities equal access to education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under federal law, schools are required to provide a “free appropriate public education” to each qualified student with a disability.

In its letter, OCR said it was concerned that Indiana had failed to do so and was “particularly troubled” by reports that parents of disabled students in Indiana schools have filed multiple complaints with IDOE alleging that students were forced by local school districts into “one size fits all” remote learning programs, instead of individualized programs designed to meet the need laid out in their Individualized Education Plans or 504 Plans. Qualifying students with disabilities are guaranteed services, spelled out in their IEP or 504 Plan, to meet their unique needs and ensure they have equal access to a free public education.

IDOE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some of those services are hard to replicate virtually or through remote delivery models. And when schools unexpectedly closed statewide in March, many special education students struggled to access their remote education and receive the services they needed.

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US Department of Education investigating Indiana’s special education services during COVID – Sarraute Educación María Magdalena

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