When a student struggles to maintain well-being, achievement at school can be a challenge. This video provides key information for families to seek school-based services for behavioral health needs. Included are two advocacy statements that this information might empower you to say in a meeting with the school:
- “I want to make sure my student’s rights are upheld.”
- “I’m providing information and resources to help the school follow the law and educational best practices.”
Included in the video is information about truancy and a new state law that schools must excuse absences for behavioral health reasons. Also included is information from the federal Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which provided new guidance in summer 2022 about school responsibility to help instead of discipline students with behavioral health needs.
PAVE staff cannot provide advocacy or advice. We share information to empower family members and young people who do have legal advocacy rights. You can learn this information and keep in handy when you aren’t sure whether the school is following the law or educational best practices. Please be patient with yourself while you are learning this information. It can feel like a lot! As you learn a little bit at a time, you can see how your increasing knowledge shifts options and outcomes for your student.
Here are resources from this training, listed in video order:
- OSPI (state) referral form: A form for submitting a written referral to have a student evaluated for special education eligibility. Washington requires evaluation referrals in writing.
- WAC 392-172A-01155: The Washington Administrative Code (WAC) that lists related services that might be included in a student’s IEP. Several options relate to mental and behavioral health.
- School-Based Health Services (SBHS): A 2022 booklet describing a Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) program to reimburse schools for services provided to students who are eligible for Apple Health when those services are delivered as part of their IEP
- OSPI August 2022 Tip Sheet: Information about state requirements for IEP services to begin at the start of school and continue uninterrupted unless the team makes a student-centered decision to shift service delivery
- Supporting Students with Disabilities and Avoiding the Discriminatory Use of Student Discipline under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973: A 40-page, July 2022, document from the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights
- What Parents Need to Know when Disability Impacts Behavior and Discipline at School: An article from PAVE with more information about federal and state guidance related to discipline and disability
- RCW 28A.225 (Becca Bill): State law related to truancy, part of the Revised Codes of Washington (RCW)
- RCW 28A.225.020: A state statute that describes a school district’s responsibility to evaluate and serve students when they are truant (absent from school without a valid excuse)
- OSPI Explainer for School Districts on HB 1834: State guidance about a law enacted in 2022-23 to require schools to excuse absences related to mental/behavioral health
- WAC 392-401-020: State requirements for excusing absences related to mental/behavioral health
- Anxiety, School-avoidance, & Reengagement Strategies: OSPI (state) guidance video to support schools and families to help students struggling with mental health conditions that make attendance difficult
- Recovery Services: What Families Need to Know as Schools Reopen: PAVE article about seeking additional special education services to make up for missed learning and opportunities because of the COVID-19 pandemic
- State Fact Sheet about federal/state funds available to schools for Recovery/Compensatory Services: A place to learn more about funding options available to schools for serving students who got behind due to the pandemic
- Get Help: How to seek individualized support from PAVE/or call: 800-572-7368
- Behavioral Health Toolkit: More information from PAVE
- Behavior and School: How to Participate in the FBA/BIP Process: PAVE training video to support best practices in the development of positive behavioral support plans
- School to Adulthood: Transition Planning Toolkit for High School, Life, and Work: PAVE information and resources for youth and families looking ahead
- OSPI: The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has a family liaison for special education
- OEO: The Office of the Educational Ombuds provides online resources and 1:1 support
- OCR: The Office for Civil Rights can help with questions about equity and access
- ESD: Washington has nine Education Service Districts; each has a behavioral health navigator, and some are licensed to provide behavioral health services