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Thursday, October 14, 2021

$%#@ FAPE

 Or at least that is what the state and district did.

The state of Florida and Duval County Public schools have created a new precedent when they recently extended the age range of education for a student, extending FAPE. 

Where it would be inappropriate for me to talk about the particulars of one student, I think it is fair to say the reasons for this extension could apply to dozens, hundreds, or maybe thousands of students here in Duval and statewide.  

FAPE stands for the right of disabled students to receive a free and appropriate education, guaranteed by the Rehabilitation act of 1973 and then reaffirmed by the Persons with Disability Act. 

Where there are lots of different requirements, basically FAPE says a disabled student can stay in school until they are 22. Some school districts end a student's education the day they turn 22. DCPS however has allowed students to finish the school year in which they turn 22 and then they "age out." That was until this year when the state and the district allowed a student who should have aged out to return.

Whether I think that is appropriate or not is moot. What I can't remain silent about is this exception was made for one student whose family had the means to force it to happen. When as I said, so many other students who also aged out under COVID have not been offered the same opportunity. 

During COVID, schools did their best to service special needs students, but it would be disingenuous to say it was the same as an average year. If one family can use this to extend their students' education for a year, then every family should be able to as well.  

If any family whose student aged out during COVID feels their student would benefit from another year of education, I would urge them to contact the state and the district and demand the same special treatment. 

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