School Transportation for Special Education Students

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School Transportation for Special Education Students

School Transportation for Special Education Students | Los Angeles County

Many parents are trying to decide how their children will get to school this year. Will they drive them themselves, enlist the help of a neighbor, have them bike to school or take the school bus? While the answers depend on numerous factors, including distance and the age of the student, one thing that must be considered is whether the child is a special education student.

Options Available to Special Education Students

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), special education students are required to be offered transportation by the school district to allow them to take part in their free, appropriate public educations. Therefore, students in California should be offered transportation. Whether this is a bus or some other type of vehicle is up to the school district. The most important piece of the decision is that the transportation should use the least restrictive environment possible.

One concern that comes up for numerous families considering school transportation through the district is the possibility of using a non-climate-controlled vehicle. In the hot months in California, vehicles without air conditioning can be quite uncomfortable, particularly for special needs students who have sensory issues. While air conditioning is not a requirement under IDEA, a student’s IEP may stipulate this as a necessity, in which case the school district would need to comply. Additionally, parents should be aware that if general education students are transported in climate-controlled vehicles and special education students are not, the district could be accused of discrimination.

Parents should find out how long their special needs children will be on a bus or other type of school transportation each day. Depending on the physical or mental needs of the child, some rides can be much too long. This is a subject that could be discussed in the IEP to ensure that children are kept comfortable and happy throughout the school day.

Transportation is a major part of any school day at public or private school. Special education students have the right to proper transportation to the places where they receive their services. Parents who believe that their children are being discriminated against have the right to contact a special education attorney, such as one from Newman Aaronson Vanaman Attorneys at Law. An attorney can help parents understand applicable laws and can fight for the rights of the child at the school district, state or federal level.
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