Oregon Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorder

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New State Law Limits Oregon School Districts’ Ability to Shorten School Day

Disability Rights Oregon reports that a new state law limits Oregon school districts’ ability to shorten students’ school day because of behaviors caused by a disability. This means that districts may shorten your child’s school day only if they meet specific requirements.

Zach, a third grader in the David Douglas School District who has been affected by a shortened school day, was receiving just five hours a week of in-home tutoring as his public education but now lives in a group home an hour away from his mom. Many believe a school district should not determine which kids have earned a full school day and which have not.

State Sen. Sara Gelser said in-home tutoring was meant as an option for a student, say, battling leukemia and physically unable to come to school. The new Oregon law, sponsored by Gelser, aims to make clear to school districts that limiting class hours or solely providing tutoring isn’t enough.

“This is not meant for kids with autism, kids with mental illness, kids that have really significant needs,” she said. “It’s also not meant to be a long-term solution.” Read more about Zach and Sen. Gelser’s new law.

If your child’s school day has been shortened, we hope you’ll use these tools to demand a full school day for your child.

Parent Tool Kit

What you need to do:

  1. Read our Summary to familiarize yourself with SB 263 and the new rights that it provides.
  2. Write a letter to the special education director of your district requesting a full day of school and needed behavioral supports. You can easily do this by cutting and pasting from the Template Letter we created. Add your own facts.
  3. Send your letter along with the Supporting Documents (see 1, 2, 3 below) that clarify your child’s right to a full day of school with your letter.

Supporting documents

  1. Senate Bill 263
  2. O.D.E. Executive Numbered Memorandum 009-2015-16 – Reduced School Days, a guidance from the Oregon Department of Education. It explains the responsibility of school districts to use shortened school days only for short periods of time and only after all other options to help your child regulate his or her behavior have been considered with along with your input
  3. U.S. Dep’t of Education Dear Colleague Letter from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (O.S.E.R.S.) and Office of Special Education Programs (O.S.E.P.) offices. This long document is a guidance from the federal government about when and how many forms of discipline, including shortened school days, may be inappropriate and unlawful.

You can download the entire Short School Day Parent Tool Kit.

Kit de Herramientas Para Padres

Nuestro kit de herramientas ya está disponible en español. Usted puede descargar el kit de idioma en español aquí.

Additional Support

If you encounter obstacles after using this tool kit, please contact: