Jean Murrell Adams, Esq.
November 18, 2022
No doubt about it, 2022 has been a tough year for students with special needs, as well as their parents and educators. Teacher shortages, academic setbacks and a lingering pandemic have taken their toll. But California Governor Gavin Newsom signed new laws that can greatly improve educational outcomes for our children. If you have—or work with—a child with special education needs, here are 9 new laws that you need to know.
- “Bonus” Year of High School. AB 532 requires school districts, charter schools and county offices of education to notify “highly mobile” high school students (and their parents) of the qualifying student’s right to a 5th year of high school. This law covers: 1) students in foster care; 2) homeless children; 3) former juvenile court school youth; 4) military families; 5) migratory youth; and 6) newly arrived immigrants. We are thankful for this law because it increases access to a high school diploma by allowing extra time to complete graduation requirements.
- Ban on Pre-School Expulsions and Suspensions. Did you know that preschoolers are expelled, suspended and excluded from early learning and child care programs at much higher rates than K–12 students? African American, Native American and Latinx children, especially boys, are disproportionately impacted by this practice. AB 2806 bans suspensions and expulsions in California’s preschool and child care programs and strengthens mental health supports. This law further protects students with disabilities by ensuring that expulsion and suspension will only be used as a last resort in extraordinary circumstances.
- Seizure Safe School Act. Epilepsy, a disorder involving unpredictable, recurrent seizures, is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the nation; 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime. AB 1810 allows public and charter schools and county offices of education to designate one or more volunteers to receive initial and yearly refresher training on the emergency use of anti-seizure medication for a student diagnosed with seizures, a seizure disorder, or epilepsy, if the student is suffering from a seizure.
- Restorative Justice. Public schools can only suspend students after “other means” of correction—including restorative justice–prove ineffective. Unfortunately, there currently are no state-wide restorative justice standards. AB 2598 requires the State Department of Education to develop and publish best practices for restorative justice no later than June 1, 2024.
- Inclusion for Children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Children who have been assessed as having a specified health impairment or other health impairment (“OHI”) are entitled to special education and related services. SB 1016 expands the definition of OHI to make clear that students with “fetal alcohol spectrum disorder” are included.
For more information on these and other recent laws that impact children with disabilities, please visit Disability Rights California at https://www.disabilityrightsca.org/public-policy/2022-selected-signed-and-vetoed-bills-affecting-persons-with-disabilities
As we recover from COVID-19 crisis and school closures, ADAMS ESQ’s social justice circle is continuing to fund academic screenings at no charge to qualifying children with special education needs in California and Nevada. For more information on this program, contact us today at: firstname.lastname@example.org or reach us toll-free at: 1-800-785-6713. You also may want to read and repost our past blogs: “Where’s my Child’s Special Ed Teacher?”, “Hey! Where’s my ESY?”, “Forget About the Toilet Paper—Grab that IEP!”, “IEP Alerts for Parents” , “Special Education Teaching is Really Hard!”, “The ‘FREE’ in FAPE”, Doubling-Down on Special Education and Look Before You Leap! 5 Things to Know Before Leaving Your Child at School During a Pandemic.