Special Education Laws and Regulations - From the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website - 603 CMR 28.00 governs the provision by Massachusetts public schools of special education and related services to eligible students and the approval of public or private day and residential schools seeking to provide special education services to publicly funded eligible students. The requirements set forth in 603 CMR 28.00 are in addition to, or in some instances clarify or further elaborate, the special education rights and responsibilities set forth in state statute (M.G.L. c. 71B), federal statute (20 U.S.C. §1400 et seq. as amended), and federal regulations (34 CFR §300 et seq. as amended).(3) The purpose of 603 CMR 28.00 is to ensure that eligible Massachusetts students receive special education services designed to develop the student's individual educational potential in the least restrictive environment in accordance with applicable state and federal laws.
BSEA - The Bureau of Special Education Appeals The Bureau of Special Education Appeals ("BSEA") conducts mediations, advisory opinions and due process hearings to resolve disputes among parents, school districts, private schools and state agencies. The BSEA derives its authority from both federal law and regulations (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, "IDEA") and Massachusetts law and regulations. (MGL ch. 71B). The BSEA can be reachedat (617) 626-7250.
IEP Team Meeting Facilitators- The BSEA has facilitators available at no cost to the parties to help with difficult IEP Team meetings. Either the school district or the parent can request a facilitator for the IEP Team meeting. Both parties must agree to accept the facilitator's services.Facilitators for IEP Team meetings are commonly requested when the relationship between the district and the parents is strained or adversarial, when there is a history of disruptiveness at meetings or when an IEP Team meeting is expected to be contentious due the complexity of the issues being discussed or due to some controversy. A trained, impartial facilitator, who is not part of the team, is present to assist team members to: develop and follow an agenda; stay focused on the goal of developing an acceptable IEP; problem solve; resolve conflicts that arise during the meeting; maintain open communication; clarify issues; and timely complete the meeting.
The Massachusetts Office on Disability has posted a memo reminding schools districts that districts must consider access for students with disabilities when planning day or overnight school field trips and any other extracurricular activities. When public schools schedule programs at inaccessible locations or provide separate transportation or accommodations for students with disabilities, they risk violating those students' civil rights. For technical assistance on providing equal access for individuals with disabilities, contact the Massachusetts Office on Disability at 617-727-7440 or through their website.