This is part IV in a series about Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) ignoring Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) November 30, 2022, letter of findings and resolution agreement with FCPS. The series discusses noncompliance that occurred before OCR’s findings, OCR’s findings, noncompliance that continues to occur, FCPS’s open defiance of OCR’s findings, FCPS modeling continued noncompliance to staff, and what FCPS is supposed to be doing pursuant to its own resolution agreement with OCR.
The focus of part IV is FCPS’s refusal to provide access to educational records, specifically “information recorded by the Division regarding the amount of special education, related aids or services provided during the Pandemic Period, including the option to review IEP or Section 504 service logs.”
- FCPS Ignores Office for Civil Rights; Noncompliance Continues, Part I
- Focuses on FCPS denying services to students who didn’t participate in online learning.
- Fairfax County Public Schools Ignores Office for Civil Rights; Noncompliance Continues, Part II
- Focuses on FCPS reducing, limiting & watering down services and instruction
- FCPS Ignores Office for Civil Rights; Noncompliance Continues, Part III
- Focuses on FCPS’s refusal to convene teams of knowledgeable committee members, its refusal to use and document data in compliance with IDEA and Section 504, and its refusal to ensure individuals with credentials to interpret data are in attendance at IEP or 504 Plan meetings.
- FCPS Ignores Office for Civil Rights; Noncompliance Continues, Part V
- Focuses on FCPS’s practice of equating provision of a computer with provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education—and then denying compensatory education.
OCR found FCPS at fault for a long string of issues that occurred during the “COVID” period.
Pursuant to OCR’s resolution agreement with FCPS, FCPS is supposed make a determination about provision of compensatory education for all students who have IEPs or 504 Plans who were enrolled in FCPS between April 2020 and June 2022. This includes graduates and students who have moved out of the area.
To make this determination, OCR states that “Section 504 knowledgeable committees and IEP teams will consider and document” certain information related to the student, to include the following, which appears on page 3(1)(b) of the resolution:
The Division will provide the student’s parent or guardian access to the information recorded by the Division regarding the amount of special education, related aids or services provided during the Pandemic Period, including the option to review IEP or Section 504 service logs.
FCPS has a long history of refusing parents access to records, withholding records, and failing to comply with timelines related to access to records.
As recently as February 3, 2023—two month’s after the public release of OCR’s findings against FCPS—Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) again found FCPS in noncompliance of IDEA procedural safeguards related to access to records.
In regard to page 3(1)(b) of OCR’s resolution, which states FCPS “will provide the student’s parent or guardian access”, parents have received the following responses from FCPS:
- advised logs don’t exist
In Part III of this series, I shared an example of FCPS refusing to document data in FCPS’s compensatory education decision documents, even though documentation is mandated by OCR. After the parent called FCPS out about its failure to provide documentation pursuant to OCR’s findings and FCPS’s resolution agreement with OCR, a FCPS staff member who was never on an IEP team for the student, never attended an IEP meeting for the student, never provided the parent IEP-related records related to the student, never held a significant or even slightly-of-note conversation about the student with the parent, and never spoke to the parent for longer than a sentence here and there, stated the following to the parent:
Megan Pitts: There’s no qualification on this, but on all of the progress reports that were provided to you during the time period, along with all of the documentation that was provided to you that during the time period, all of that information was included, and I didn’t put it on to a decision worksheet, because it’s already been, it’s already already been provided, it’s already been talked about.
Her comment is an admission that she didn’t document the data pursuant to FCPS’s resolution with OCR.
In addition, for an unknown reason she felt comfortable insisting that data related to progress had already been provided and discussed with the parent. Yet when the parent continued to request access to it, she didn’t provide it. Rather than insisting the information had already been discussed and provided, she could have simply provided the documentation to the parent during the meeting. In addition, she could have documented the exact data in FCPS’s decision form, pursuant to OCR’s resolution agreement. Neither happened.
Last, but not least, she doesn’t acknowledge the fact that FCPS directed staff to limit, reduce, and water down services and instruction. Hence, any “progress” made when have been related to limited, reduces, and/or watered down instruction. FCPS failed to document this in the meeting.