Ernest Trakas, a Mickes Goldman O’Toole special education attorney, is among attorneys providing insight on how school districts school address and prevent disability harassment situations in a recent issue of the national publication Special Education Connection. 

Trakas told the publication that school administrators should talk to the victim, alleged perpetrator and any witnesses.  “It is also important that an unbiased staff member conduct the investigation,” Trakas said.  “For instance, if the principal is implicated in the harassment claim, he should not conduct interviews or carry out other parts of the investigation process event is that is normal protocol.”

Trakas said schools should determine the validity of the complaint based on the information gathered during interviews and then have a spectrum of correction action responses that are consistent disciplinary policies in place to respond if the claim is substantiated.  At a minimum, take steps to keep the perpetrator and victim apart during the school day, he added.