Preeminent national experts in special education law and transportation compliance are teaming up to bring a combined 90 years of experience to the upcoming TSD Conference.
School Transportation News, the event organizer for parent company STN Media Group, contacted attorney Melinda Jacobs last year shortly after the announcement was made that the 2016 TSD Conference would be held in Louisville, Kentucky. Jacobs, an expert on the Individuals with Disabilities Act as well as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, will present the general session keynote on Monday, March 14 at the Kentucky International Convention Center prior to the start of the TSD Trade Show.
She will provide an overview of several legal cases of note for student transporters, with topics ranging from bus driver training to the medical needs of students during transportation, service animals on the bus to IEP accommodations. She will also speak in depth on student misconduct and bullying on the bus as well as liability for student injury during transport.
Now in private practice, Jacobs previously served as an attorney in the Office of Special Education Programs for the Tennessee Department of Education and as associate publisher for Education and Disability Publications for LRP Publications.
Jacobs will also team with Linda F. Bluth, Ed.D., a member of the TSD Conference Tenured Faculty and the special initiatives consultant to the Maryland Department of Education’s Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services. Following the trade show, the duo will present the session “Perspectives on Special Education Law & Policy,” which will be an open discussion about challenging transportation situations with viewpoints from legal and operational perspectives.
Bluth returns Tuesday morning, March 15 to present the keynote general session, “Why the IEP Remains the Heartbeat of IDEA.” Her presentation revisits a topic she first discussed 25 years ago at the first TSD Conference.
Her session will review special education case law and lessons learned from the past along with related anecdotes to chronicle how the IEP guides the delivery of transportation services for an eligible student with a disability. Bluth will also review the basics of the IEP, define the related service of transportation and discuss the importance of the school bus as an access point to education.
Bluth started her career in the mid-1960s as a special education teacher and later was a professor or instructor at several universities, most recently as a guest lecturer on legal aspects of special education at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She is also a former assistant superintendent of compliance at Baltimore City Public Schools and for the past 19 years has worked in a variety of full-time and part-time roles guiding quality assurance and monitoring at the Maryland State Department of Education.