COPAA seeks stories from parents

This post is seeking stories about parents who could not afford  expert
witnesses for IDEA due process hearings to share with members of  Congress.
Advocates are working in support of a Congressional bill  that would enable
parents to recover expert witness fees for IDEA due process  hearings and
cases. In 2006, the Supreme Court held in Arlington Central School  District v.
Murphy that parents could not be reimbursed for expert witness fees  in IDEA
cases–a right that other plaintiffs have in ADA and Title VII  cases.
Without experts, parents and students with disabilities  have little chance of
success in due process hearings, and poor and  middle-income families suffer
the most.

Thus, the request for parent  stories about being harmed because they were
unable to afford expert witness  fees. Here are some examples. They could be
families who were unable to go to a  due proce ss hearing because they
could not afford expert witnesses. They could  be parents who went to DP but
their case suffered badly without expert  witnesses. They could also be parents
whom the school district took to a due  process hearing, but they could not
afford expert witnesses who could help them  defend themselves. The
situations could even be settlements where the parent  accepted much much less than
what the child needed (or maybe gave up) and the  child really was hurt in
the process.

The parents’ stories will  ultimately be shared with members of Congress,
and I will ultimately need to  speak with the parents themselves. My email
address is  if you would like to share
stories or information or have a question for me. Please do feel free to
forward this email to anyone you would like. I know po sts like this by
myself or others have been posted on several lists and it is okay to forward or
repost it.

Jessica Butler – Congressional Affairs Coordinator – Autism  National
Committee –  –

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Stacey P.  Groder, President