12-02-2016  2:14 pm      •     

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) -- The state Department of Education has determined that the Beaufort County School District violated federal rules for treatment of disabled students.

The state agency's investigation found that when students were suspended more than 10 days, they did not receive the required special education services. It also found that the behavioral progress was not reviewed and counseling services were not considered, according to The Beaufort Gazette (http://bit.ly/O6YPZ9).

``I think we do some of these services, but we don't document them, and all things have to be documented,'' said Brenda Hunt, the director of special education.

The investigation followed complaints by the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center and the Southern Poverty Law Center. It did not address allegations that black disabled students are suspended at a higher rate than white disabled students. The Education Department said that is an issue for the federal Office for Civil Rights.

Officials with Beaufort County schools said they are taking steps to comply with the regulations.

It will take time to fix the problems, and Hunt hopes that teachers and other district employees will realize the significance of staying in compliance because the state had to intervene.

``It is an all-hands-on-deck, all-eyes-on-the-paperwork situation,'' she said.

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