Date: February 15, 2008

HELP SUPPORT IDEA FAIRNESS RESTORATION ACT!

Contact Congress and ask your Representative to co-sponsor the bipartisan IDEA Fairness Restoration Act, introduced by Congressmen Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Pete Sessions. The bill, H.R. 4188, will allow parents who prevail in IDEA due process or court cases can recover their expert witness costs. Without the legislation, many parents cannot afford expert witness fees, which can run into the thousands of dollars. This restores Congress' original intent!

WHY SUPPORT THE IDEA FAIRNESS RESTORATION ACT?

Parents prevail in IDEA cases only when they show that the school district provided an education so inferior that it failed its legal obligations. Otherwise, they do not prevail and can recover nothing. But, while prevailing parents can recover their attorneys' fees, they cannot recover their expert witness costs, as a result of the Supreme Court's 2006 decision in Arlington Central School District v. Murphy. The IDEA Fairness Restoration Act would override the Supreme Court's decision and make the system more fair for parents of children with disabilities.

HOW TO CONTACT CONGRESS:
(1) Call 202-224-3121 and ask for your Congressional Representative's Office. Then, ask for the education aide and tell them you would like them to support H.R. 4188, the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act. You should leave a voicemail message if they are out.

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(2) Send an email to your Representative by going to
http://www.house.gov/writerep/ and ask them to Support H.R. 4188, The IDEA Fairness Restoration Act. This form will go directly to your Representative's Office. Before you send your email, please copy it into a word processing document, along with your Congressperson's name and your name and address. It would also help if you email that copy to COPAA at protectidea@copaa.org This will enable us to put all of the emails together and show the breadth of support for this important bill. With the crush of email that reaches Congress, it is important to stand together.

PLEASE TAKE 5 MINUTES AND JOIN OUR EFFORTS.

Note: If you are not sure who your Representative is, you can go to http://www.house.gov/  and using the locator in the upper left corner.

Thank you,

Jessica Butler
Chair, COPAA Board of Directors

Robert Berlow
Chair, COPAA Government Relations Committee

Email us: protectidea@copaa.org