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Archives for March 2014

Bullying in School – Legal Protection for Students

bullyingLate last week, a teenager was beaten at Parkview High in Gwinnett County. His injuries were so severe that he has to have reconstructive surgery. The incident was videoed by other students on their cell phones. Instead of helping, the kids stood by filmed. Equally astonishing was that there was no teacher or coach present. No adult supervision. What resulted is akin to the very worst parts of Lord of the Flies. The video is alarming and sad.

In another recent story, an eighth girl quit attending school and decided to home school because the bullying was too much to bear each day. It would begin on the bus, continue during class and then, throughout the evening via texting and Facebook. The student reported the bullying repeatedly to the school but nothing was done. Eventually, she was physically assaulted at school. After that, she and her mother made the decision to home school. Unfortunately, these stories are not rare.

What can parents do if their child is being bullied? First, know the law. Georgia has an anti-bullying law: O.C.G.A. 20-2-751.4. It defines bullying as an act that occurs on school property, on school vehicles, at bus stops or at school-related functions or activities. It also includes acts by use of data or software that are accessed through any electronic technology belonging to the school. The act of bullying is any intentional attempt or threat to physically injure someone else when this intention is accompanied by the ability to do so; or an intentional display of force that makes the victim afraid of or expect immediate physical harm; or any intentional written, verbal or physical act which a reasonable person would perceive as threatening, harassing or intimidating. This includes actions that have the effect of interfering with a student’s education or actions that are so persistent that they create an intimidating educational environment.

Second, know school policies. As of August 1, 2011, each local board of education was required to adopt a policy that prohibits bullying of a student by another student. This policy must be included in the student code of conduct for schools in that school system. If you have not received a copy, go to your school’s website and look for it. If you cannot find it, ask the school for a copy.

Third, TELL. If a child alerts you that he or she is being teased, email the teacher immediately. Keep a copy of this email and all other communications with the school. Email the school counselor and ask for a meeting as soon as practical. Copy the teacher and the principle on this email. Ask that your child be included in this meeting. At the meeting, request that a plan be put in place to ensure your child’s safety- emotionally and physically, at school. Ask that the counselor meet with the students doing the bullying and then, if appropriate, meet with your child and the bully in an attempt to mediate.

Fourth, Insist. Remember that children need advocates and a voice. Insist that all steps are being made to protect a child’s safety and well-being while at school as well as in cyber space. If the above steps do not correct the problem, go higher up the chain of command. Take your concerns to the County School Board and the School District Superintendent. These contacts can be found online. You can also go to the Georgia Department of Education at

Jeyaram & Associates Celebrates 7 Years

Healthcare cakeCongratulations to DJ Jeyaram and his associates for seven years of providing excellent legal counsel on healthcare, administrative, corporate and education law to doctors, dentists, pharmacists, realtors, child and home care workers, teachers, insurance professionals and companies, and more throughout Georgia, the Southeast, and California!


Initial Steps to the IEP Process

IEP ProcesIt can be overwhelming to think that your child is falling behind at school or might have needs that are not being addressed by the school or that your child may have a learning disability or developmental delay.  However, by taking the right steps you can start to get help for your child and begin to address educational concerns.

Individualized Education Programs (IEP) are created for all children who qualify for Special Education Services. This Plan will be the foundation for a child’s education, and parents/guardians have a significant role in building it. This document will list the special education services a child will receive based on their individual needs and goals.  This is a legally binding document.

To determine if a child qualifies for Special Education Services, there are three paths this step can follow:

  1. An independent, private professional can perform a special education evaluation; or
  2. Parents can contact the school and request that an evaluation be completed to determine if their child has a disability. Remember: it is best to put this request in writing; or
  3. The school may make a referral that a child be evaluated based on their observations. Remember: The school must obtain written permission prior to performing this testing
  • Under the federal IDEA regulation and Georgia law, the evaluation needs to be completed within 60 days after parental consent.
  • Once testing is completed, a group of qualified professionals and the parent/guardian will meet to determine if the child is eligible for special education as defined by the IDEA.
  • The IEP meeting is held.  If the child is determined to be eligible for special education services, then a meeting to formulate and write the IEP plan must be held within 30 calendar days.
  • The IEP is formulated.  Remember: Parents/guardians have the right to take home this document and review it prior to signing it. This is essentially a contract setting out all the educational services and accommodations your child will receive for one year. It should be carefully examined and considered.  Remember: Parents/guardians have the right to disagree with what the school has proposed.
  • Once the parents and school agree on the plan, the IEP is implemented.

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