12.04.2013 | Insideschools | Thanks to a recent ruling by the New York State Department of Education (NYSED), schools like J.P.'s can no longer claim ignorance. J.P.’s story is one of 20 cases cited by Advocates for Children (AFC) in a complaint filed with the NYSED in April about the Department of Education’s failure to adequately use these behavior tools. NYSED ruled that the DOE has made serious errors and ordered officials to take specific steps to overhaul the program.
“I get it,” said AFC’s Director of Litigation Rebecca Shore. “A teacher is in a classroom with 25 kids and there’s one kid who is demanding all her attention. There’s an instinct to get that kid out of your class. But I’ve also seen that if you address that child's behavior positively, you can reduce a lot of that interference.”
The complaint detailed case after case in which families were denied FBAs and BIPs or the plans were vague and inadequate. “The FBA is an assessment that by definition requires collection of data and observation over a number of days in multiple settings,” said Shore. Pinpointing the reasons or motivations behind the behavior can help staff come up with a plan. If a disruptive behavior always happens during writing activities, for example, maybe the student needs to sit close to the front of the room or receive extra support to help him stay focused and lessen frustration. “I hope that because of this [ruling], more schools will be addressing issues positively,” said Shore, “and less students will be punished and excluded from the classroom because of their behavior.” Read article