Report: State finds OCPS violated state requirements

A Florida Department of Education Inquiry found that the Orange County School District violated requirements to provide Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to a special education student.

Joy Parnes, who filed the complaint, tells FOX 35 distance learning has been a challenge for her child. Her complaint alleges that from March to May, when OCPS transitioned to online learning at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, her child’s individual education plan (IEP) was not revised.

Parnes says her child was not getting services like occupational therapy, and teachers were unable to check her child’s work, which made her fall behind.

“Sienna is in her room. I spend 6 hours of my day with her making sure she’s staying on task,” said Parnes.

“They asked our child to hold up a laptop in front of a camera,” father Brian Parnes said about one experience, “I mean, it was unreasonable.”

After review, the FDOE Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services concluded that OCPS did fail to provide the student FAPE from March 2020 – May 2020. They found issues in the following areas:

  • The district failed to provide the student with specially designed instruction in reading and math at the established frequency
  • The district failed to provide the student with specially designed instruction in social skills at the established frequency
  • The district failed to provide occupational therapy as a related service in order to enable the student to attain the student’s independent functioning goal
  • The district failed to report on the progress the student made toward meeting the student’s curriculum and learning environment and social or emotional behavior goals at the established frequency

Now the state has ordered the district to take corrective action, including revising the student’s IEP and ensuring that all relevant district and school-based staff are provided training on the following: ·34 C.F.R. §§ 300.101 and 300.17 and Rules 6A-6.03028 and 6A-6.03411, F.A.C., regarding FAPE requirements and ·34 C.F.R. § 300.324 and Rule 6A-6.03028, F.A.C., regarding review and revision of IEP requirements.

Parnes believes other parents may have faced similar situations, and encourages them to take action.

“Despite COVID, their child is still entitled to receiving services,” she said. “And the district and the school need to make a good faith effort in providing those services.”

FOX 35 reached out to the Orange County School District for comment on the matter. A spokesperson sent the following statement:

"Due to FERPA laws we are unable to comment regarding this individual student case which is based on allegations at one school site."