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October 15, 2020
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LONG ISLAND ADVOCACY CENTER

October 2020

LIAC remains open and ready to serve families!

We can help! Reach us TODAY!

516-248-2222 ext. 10 (Nassau)  

631-234-0467 ext. 10 (Suffolk)

Visit us online at www.theliac.org for valuable updated information, links to more in-depth guidance, or to fill out an online intake.            

El Long Island Advocacy Center brinda servicios y recursos en español. Por favor visite nuestro sitio web para más información.

                                   

Codes of Conduct

Many districts across Long Island have updated their Codes of Conduct to reflect the new way districts are educating students due to Covid-19.  Some districts are sending home updated acceptable use policies for students who are learning either remotely, on a hybrid schedule, or in-person full time.  Updates may include specific information on:

  • mask wearing,
  • the need for social distancing while on school property,
  • classroom decorum,
  • virtual learning expectations and policies, and
  • disciplinary actions for non-compliance with the new policies.

Students should understand that when participating in virtual schooling, district rules are still in effect.  Even though a student is at home while “in class” students are expected to adhere to the district’s dress code policies, eating and drinking while “in class” and removing all distractions, such as cellphones, toys and other family members, from the learning area.  Additionally, many districts expressly prohibit  recording lessons, taking photos, or screenshotting any or all live sessions.   Boards of Education are required to let parents know about any changes and updates to Codes of Conduct.  Each district has their own unique policies, parents should check their district’s website for any changes/updates to district policies.  If your child is suspended, call LIAC for legal assistance!

SCHOOL ATTENDANCE ISSUES

Is your child often absent from school?  Does your child leave school early or arrive late?  If your child does attend school, is it only with extreme distress or after significant resistance?  Does your child often cut class?  Whether your child is learning in person, at home on remote, or hybrid, schools are taking attendance and reporting illegal/unexcused absences.  Parents should check their district’s policies on attendance during the pandemic.  If your child is not attending school regularly, there are steps you can take.

First, recognize that poor school attendance is a serious problem requiring speedy and meaningful intervention. 

  • Students who miss more than 15 school days in a year are at significantly higher risk for dropping out of high school.
  • Such students are also at much higher risk for negative adult outcomes, including poverty, poor physical and mental health, substance abuse, and criminal justice involvement.

It is important to act quickly to resolve school attendance problems because the longer they persist, the more entrenched they become.  Enlist help to address the reasons underlying your child’s problem.  Meet with professionals, including:

  • Medical doctors to rule out physical conditions
  • Mental health professionals to diagnose and help create a plan of action
  • Your child’s teachers
  • Other school personnel, including social workers, school psychologists, administrators

Possible reasons for attendance problems include:

  • Anxiety based disorders (poor school attendance stemming from an anxiety disorder is often referred to as “school refusal”)
  • Bullying
  • Unaddressed educational needs
  • Extensive peer pressure encouraging truancy, gang involvement and/or substance abuse
  • Negative school environment
  • Highly punitive disciplinary practices

Know your rights! Your child’s attendance problem could be symptomatic of a condition that would qualify your child to receive special education and/or accommodations to facilitate educational access.  

  • You have the right to request evaluations from your child’s school to help determine eligibility for special education, or if your child is already eligible for special education, to determine your child’s needs stemming from school attendance problems.
  • You have the right to share your own private evaluations with the school, and the school must consider your private evaluator’s recommendations.
  • You have the right to a Committee on Special Education (CSE) or Section 504 meeting to determine eligibility and appropriate services for your child.
  • Even gifted students are entitled to special education if an anxiety disorder makes it too difficult for them to attend school.
  • If bullying is an issue, your child has the right to be safe at school and free of harassment.  Among other legal remedies, you can make a complaint under the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), and also seek help from the CSE or 504 Committee.
  • If your child qualifies for special education, the CSE must provide an appropriate educational placement that ensures your child’s access to education.  Such a placement could include: an out of district therapeutic school; temporary tutoring with a gradual reintroduction to school; resource room or other special classes; counseling services; positive reinforcement behavior plan; or any other possibility individualized to your child’s needs.

Even if your child is not eligible for special education, you should act quickly to address attendance problems, and you have the right to seek help from the school.

  • Focus on alleviating the pressures that are interfering with your child’s attendance.
  • Discuss ways to improve the school climate, such as mentorship, anti-bullying and harassment programs, extracurricular activities, counseling, gang intervention programs, drug abuse programs, positive reinforcement plans, restorative justice practices instead of out of school suspensions, improving school curricula, and career and technical education programs.
  • Please note that the school cannot suspend your child for being truant.
  • Seek assistance from mental health professionals.

For more information, click here.

Schools have a wide array of support staff to help students and parents get the most of their education.  Social workers, guidance counselors, school psychologists, nurses and other staff members can help students navigate academic, social/emotional, and physical health concerns.  Check with your district to see how the schools can help.

www.theliac.org

Email us at info@theliac.org

Submit an Online Intake

Nassau County: 516-248-2222 x 10

Suffolk County: 631-234-0467 X 10

LIAC Archived Newsletters:

May 5, 2020

June 10, 2020

June 25, 2020

July 15, 2020

OPWDD Video Presentation

August 13, 2020

August 31, 2020

September 15, 2020

September 30, 2020