OSERS Issues Guidance on Transportation for Special Education Students
The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) recently issued a Q&A guidance document that addresses a number of questions that school districts often face regarding transportation of students with special education needs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
One important question addressed by the OSERS Q&A concerns the issue that arises when a special education student is suspended from a school bus for misconduct. The Q&A makes clear that a bus suspension is to be treated as a suspension under the IDEA implementing regulations and the discipline procedures applicable to children with disabilities apply only if the student receives transportation as a related service in his or her Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Thus, a school district may suspend a special education student who does not receive transportation as a related service from the school bus for more than ten (10) consecutive school days without providing alternative transportation to the student.
The Q&A also addresses other information regarding transportation of special education students in general, including, among others: (1) different transportation strategies that may be used for special education students; (2) the importance of “travel training,” which is instruction that enables children to develop an awareness of the environment in which they live, and to learn the skills necessary to move effectively and safely from place to place within that environment, especially in transition plans; and (3) the necessity of training transportation providers, such as school bus drivers, regarding students’ transportation needs and the need to protect the confidentially of student information.