SERC Scoop Newsletters

SERC Scoop Newsletters

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March 2020 

  • What is SERC?
  • OCR, OCRS technical assistance on 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 use of restraint and seclusion

The U.S. Department of Education has released a 46 minute technical assistance video about the use ofrestraint 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.

This 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
  3. Using a tracking and monitoring system for incidents involving restraint and seclusion

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 the FERPA and HIPPA joint guidance pdf 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 Admnistrators
  • Staff and personnel including general ed teachers
  • Services resource providers
  • IEP team members
  • Parents and their advocates 

This fall we have conducted training in Jenks, Edmond, and Oklahoma City. We are planning on scheduling two classes in the spring of 2020: one for school administrators, and one for parents and their advocates. We also have training scheduled for the summer of 2020 in Poteau, Oklahoma. This training will be geared toward district personnel.

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

You can see the Crucial Conversations 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 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.

Upcoming Event

Funding Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities - June 5, 2020.

This half-day workshop is designed for Oklahoma public school administrators, special educators and related service providers who help students with disabilities. 

Participants will learn about resources and grant-writing tips for securing funding for needed assistive technology (AT) for students. 

Register for the event here. 


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


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