6/12/20 Update: Hearing May be dismissed. Will not know until morning of June 18. Hearing moved to 1:00 pm -- if it proceeds. In that case...
You are cordially invited to attend an unusual Hawai‘i public IDEA due process hearing at 1:00 pm on Thursday, June 18, 2020 via Zoom video conferencing.
There are several unusual circumstances involved in this hearing. First, it's open to the public. Not a lot of parents are brave enough to open an IDEA hearing to the public. Also, this parent is representing herself (most parents have an attorney), and she doesn't speak English very well. So, there's going to be an interpreter. What's also very rare and may not happen again if we don't change our meeting laws to keep pace with 21st century technology is that this public hearing will be conducted via video conferencing, so the public can attend the meeting from the comfort of their own home! Not everything about the coronavirus pandemic has been negative.
In Hawai‘i, if a parent of a child with a learning disability has a complaint about how the Principal is handling the child's education, even if blatantly violating the IDEA (Individuals With Disabilities Act) law, it seems the only option a parent has to even attempt attaining compliance is a Due Process Hearing.
This means going to court. Seriously. There's no middle ground with HIDOE (the Hawai‘i Department of Education). There's no intermediate step with an impartial HIDOE panel to ensure Principals follow the law. There's 3rd-party mediation which is confidential and pretty useless because there's no accountability, but it still costs the taxpayers money. What also costs taxpayer money is all the DOE personnel time on pre-hearing conferences, backroom resolution sessions that go nowhere, and attorneys' fees. Even if the parent is not represented by an attorney which means the DOE cannot be represented by an attorney either (who would be supplied by our State Attorney General's office at taxpayer expense), the AG's office supplies the Hearing Officer. This costs a lot of people a lot of time; and time is money. Taxpayer money.
Instead of spending our tax money on educating children and paying teachers higher salaries, HIDOE spends too much of our tax dollars in government employee personnel time (i.e., court reporters, interpreters, hearing officers, DOE Education Specialists, etc.) defending indefensible violations of IDEA laws and regulations.
This is a David versus Goliath story of a parent who can hardly speak English trying to force the State bureaucracy known as the Department of Education to follow the law. They have clearly abrogated her legal rights by refusing to provide her son's diagnostic data upon request. The parent wants this to stop.
The parent can use all the moral support you can muster. Sometimes just showing up is all you need to do to help out immensely.
Parent has requested copies of the complete educational records for Student and has been denied on repeated occasions.
Parent and all IEP Team members to receive via email full diagnostic reports of all school-wide assessments within 2 working days of assessment completion.
Yes, folks, it's true. All this falderal and expense because the DOE refuses to ensure that the school provides the parent and the IEP team with i-Ready diagnostic reports in a timely manner.
After you send your request to attend the meeting, you will receive a link to the Zoom video conference a few days before the meeting date (6/18/19). When you click the link to join the meeting, the Hearing Officer will let you into the meeting. Your microphone will be muted, and probably video, too.
The Hearings Officer has requested she receive the email addresses of anyone wishing to attend prior to the hearing. So, if you're interested, use the form below. If you prefer, send an email to Vanessa Ott (parent advocate) with your request to:
We didn't think this would take long. The written evidence is in an indisputable -- a long string of emails requesting the diagnostic reports. The law is clear. It will be interesting to find out how much time it takes to resolve such a simple issue (not counting all the hours that went into getting to this point). However, as of 6/12/20 it's beginning to look like the Hearing Officer is going to dismiss the whole thing because she doesn't think she can make a ruling to compel the DOE to do something in the future (i.e., deliver the student's diagnostic reports to parent within 2 days of assessment completion). We won't know until that hearing happens on the morning of 6/18.
It's not looking good. But, if it does proceed, we hope to see you there.
Copyright © 2020 Vanessa Ott - All Rights Reserved.