March 2020
SERC Scoop Newsletter

  • What is SERC?
  • OCR, OCRS technical assistance on the use of restraint and seclusion
  • Joint guidance on FERPA and HIPAA
  • Crucial Conversations training Update
  • New SERC stakeholder training
  • Which Dispute Resolution Process is best for me?
  • Upcoming Events

What is SERC? 

The Special Education Resolution Center of OSU (SERC) has been collaborating with the Oklahoma State Department of Education for over 10 years to help families and school district resolve conflicts at the earliest stage possible. SERC provides services for children from birth to 3 in SoonerStart and for students 3 through 21 in public schools.

What does SERC provide to schools, SoonerStart, and families at no cost?

OCR, OCRS technical assistance on the use of restraint and seclusion

The U.S. Department of Education has released a 46 minute technical assistance video about the use of restraint and seclusion in schools. Using information from the Civil Rights Data Collection, the video is an overview of anti-discrimination principle and a school districts obligation to report restraint and seclusion.

The video provides general information but does not address specific compliance issues because OCR makes compliance determinations based on the specific facts of each case.

OSERS worked with OCR to produce the video. OSERS’ role in the initiative is to provide technical assistance to schools and districts to promote positive learning environments and evidence-based practices to respond to challenging behavior.

Students with disabilities are disproportionately restrained and secluded in schools. According to CRDC data from SY 2015-16, students with disabilities represented 71 percent of all students who were restrained and 66 percent of all students who were secluded even though they were just 12 percent of the overall student population.

Included in the video are definitions for physical restraint, mechanical restraint, seclusion, Section 504, Title II of the ADA, as well as legal standards that OCR uses to determine whether the use of restraint or seclusion has violated Section 504.

Additionally, the video emphasizes that, for a student who has already been identified with a disability, a school’s repeated use of restraint or seclusion on that student may be an indicator that the student’s current plan of services is not sufficient to provide FAPE. In those cases, schools must consider different or additional approaches to address the student’s behavioral needs, the video states.

The video explains how schools can proactively address potential noncompliance by:

1) implementing a policy for the appropriate use of restraint and seclusion;
2) training staff on the use of positive behavior interventions; and
3) using a tracking and monitoring system for incidents involving restraint and seclusion.

View the US Department of Education video here:

Joint Guidance on FERPA and HIPAA

On Dec. 19, 2019, the U.S. Education Department and the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services updated their Joint Guidance on the Application of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and the Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 to Student Health Records. The original guidance was first issued in November 2008.

View Joint Guidance on FERPA and HIPAA document here:

Crucial Conversations Training Update

This has been a great year for Crucial Conversations training. Crucial Conversations is a two day training that helps people have difficult conversations that they are afraid to have or that aren’t going well. And the focus of the training is not just about communication – it’s about helping people get the results they want.

Crucial Conversations can help you in your conversations with:

  • School administrators
  • Staff and personnel including general ed teachers
  • Services resource providers
  • IEP team members
  • Parents and their advocates

Last fall we conducted trainings in Jenks, Edmond, and Oklahoma City. This Spring we are doing training for district administrators in Ada, Byng, and Poteau school districts. We are also scheduling courses for parents and their advocates as well as organizations that work with parents of children with disabilities.

Crucial Conversations is available at no costs to those attending through our partnership with the Oklahoma State Department of Education. If you are interested in scheduling a training for your district or group, please contact our offices at (888) 267-0028.

View the Crucial Conversations Two-Day Training Agenda here:

New SERC stakeholder training

SERC will be offering two new trainings focusing on Facilitated IEP Meetings. One training will be for districts and another training will be for parents and their advocates. These trainings will help IEP team members and district administrators prepare for a facilitated IEP meeting. Some of the topics will include:

  • The Role of the External Facilitator
  • Benefits of a Facilitated IEP meeting
  • Preparing for a Facilitated IEP meeting
  • Frequently Asked Questions about Facilitated IEP meetings

Training is at no cost to districts and parents/advocates.
Stay tuned for more information…

Which Dispute Resolution Process is best for me?

You may be wondering which dispute resolution process would be the best for you when dealing with special education-related disputes. This dispute chart will help you understand the differences between the three processes offered in Oklahoma. Each of these processes is offered at no cost to schools or parents. Please contact us with any questions related to our dispute resolution processes. We can help you decide which process will work the best for your situation.

View the English version of the dispute resolution chart here:
View the Spanish version of the dispute resolution chart here:

Upcoming Events

Tech Thursdays with ABLE Tech (FREE monthly Zoom Session)

Join ABLE Tech for live Zoom training covering various tips for accessibility. 

  • Simple AT Solutions for Play: July 16
  • Low Vision AT Solutions: August 20

Jo Anne Pool Blades, Program Manager
Special Education Resolution Center (SERC)
Oklahoma State University Sponsored Program 9726 E. 42nd Street, Suite 203 | Tulsa, OK  74146