This week, the Center became aware that some New Jersey school districts were asking parents to sign away the rights of their children in order to access special education services during COVID-19 closures—an outrageous and illegal practice.
We applaud the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) for moving swiftly to block this practice. In guidance issued April 30, the NJDOE clarified that requiring parents or guardians to waive their legal rights is a clear violation of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), as well as New Jersey education laws, and that districts must continue to fulfill their obligations under IDEA during COVID-19.
“We’re grateful that NJDOE moved quickly to resolve this problem,” said Paul O’Neill, Center’s co-founder and senior fellow. “As schools work to provide service remotely, protecting the rights of all students must come first.”
The Center has created a number of resources highlighting the legal obligations and best practices schools and educators must consider during the COVID-19 crisis.