New law limits short school days

Blake wearing red shorts and a black Adidas t-shift swinging on a swing with a huge smile.

Blake Modugno of Roseburg.

A growing number of students with disabilities across the state are being excluded from the classroom and school because of behaviors caused by their disabilities.

Some districts have dealt with behavioral issues by excluding students from school and substituting as little as one hour of tutoring per day at home.

Access to education is a cornerstone of preparing young people for life. Students with behavioral needs cannot afford to lose the hours of education that they need to grow and develop.

Senate Bill 263

To reverse this alarming trend, Disability Rights Oregon proposed legislation (Senate Bill 263) to limit school districts’ ability to shorten your child’s school day because of behavior problems that are part of his or her disability. [1] 

Blake wearing a yellow t-shirt sitting at a desk doing school work.

Blake working at his desk at school.

On July 1, 2017, this new law went into effect. The law is designed to prevent schools from imposing shortened school days[i] on students with disabilities who can attend full days of school safely if provided with proper behavioral supports.

Under the new law, districts may still shorten your child’s school day, but only if they meet specific requirements that are designed to ensure that shortened school days are a last resort.

Empowering Parents

Our hope is that the new law will empower parents to demand the full school day that every child deserves. In rare situations where a shortened school day may be an appropriate short-term response to difficult behaviors, the statute also empowers parents to question and limit the amount of time that their children are subjected to shortened school days.[ii]

To help you understand and use the protections of the new law, Disability Rights Oregon has created a Short School Day Parent Tool Kit.

Additional Help

If the District continues to insist on a shortened school day after you have used the tool kit, please call Disability Rights Oregon intake at 503 243 2081 for more suggestions or consideration of case representation.

[i] A reduced or shortened school day is the same as an abbreviated school day which the statute defines as “any school day during which a student receives instruction or educational services for fewer hours than other students who are in the same grade within the same school.” An abbreviated or shortened school day program is defined as “an education program in which a school district restricts a student’s access to hours of instruction or education services” and “results in the student having an abbreviated school day for more than 10 school days per year.”

[ii] The law does not affect some students who have violated district violations which subject them to suspension, expulsion, or other forms of school removal. However, other state and federal special education laws provide many protections, such as a manifestation determination, before discipline can be imposed on children with disabilities

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