Chapter 16 - Special Education

Chapter 16 - Special Education

16.1601 Short title.

This act shall be known and may be cited as the “American Samoa Special Education Act of 2000.

16.1602 Purpose.

The Legislature of American Samoa recognizing the obligation of the Territory under Article 1, Section 15 of the Constitution of American Samoa to provide “free . . . public education” and recognizing the concept that all children should have available to them educational opportunities that will enable them to lead satisfying and productive lives, hereby declares that it is the policy of the Government of American Samoa and the purpose of this Act to provide a free appropriate public education for all children with disabilities. To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, shall be educated with children who do not have disabilities and that special classes, separate schooling or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular classroom environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplemental aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. Special Education and related services shall be provided to a child with a disability in accordance with the child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). An IEP or an IFSP shall be developed, reviewed, and revised at least annually in accordance with all federal mandates. Children with disabilities who have been suspended or expelled from school shall not be denied a free appropriate public education.

16.1603 Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

(1) "Children with disabilities" include those persons three through 21 years of age who have mental retardation, hearing impairments including deafness, speech or language impairments, visual impairments including blindness, serious emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments, specific learning disabilities deaf-blindness or multiple disabilities who because of those disabilities need special education and related services.

(2) “Department” means the Department of Education.

(3) “Director” means the Director of Education.

(4) “Special Education” means;

(A) specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, including;

(i) instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and in other settings; and

(ii) instruction in physical education.

(B) including speech language pathology services, or any other related service, if the service is considered special education rather than a related service under state standards.

(C) vocational education and travel training. The terms in this definition are defined as follows:

(i) "At no cost" means that all specially designed instruction is provided without charge, but does not preclude incidental fees that are normally charged to nondisabled students or their parents as a part of the regular education program.

(ii) "Physical education" is defined as follows:

(a) the development of - (1) physical and motor fitness; (2) fundamental motor skills and patterns; and (3) skills in aquatics, dance, and individual and group games and sports (including intramural and lifetime sports); and

(b) special physical education, adaptive physical education, movement education, and motor development.

(iii) “Specially designed instruction” means adapting, as appropriate to the needs of an eligible child the content, methodology or delivery of instruction to address the unique needs of the child that result from the child’s disability and to ensure access of the child to the general curriculum so that he or she can meet the educational standards within the Territory that to all children.

(iv) “Travel training” means providing instruction, as appropriate to children with significant cognitive disabilities, and any other children with disabilities who require this instructor, to enable them to develop an awareness of the environment in which they live, and learn the skills necessary to move effectively and safely from place to place within that environment (e.g., in school, in the home, at work, and in the community).

(v) “Vocational education” means organized educational programs that are directly related to the preparation of individuals for paid or unpaid employment or for additional preparation for a career requiring other than a baccalaureate or advance degree.

(5) “Related services” means those services included in “related services” as defined by federal rules and regulations authorized by 20 U.S.C. 1401 (22).

16.1604 Division of special education--Administration.

(a) There is established within the Department a Division of Special Education which is headed by a Director of Special Education, who shall be qualified by education, training, and experience to take responsibility for, and give direction to, the programs of American Samoa relating to the education of children with disabilities.

(b) The Director, together with the board of regents, shall establish and make studies, surveys, evaluations, policies, and adopt rules necessary maintain this program and shall delegate the authority for general supervision of all educational programs serving students with disabilities in public agencies to the Director of the Division of Special Education. Monitoring, program evaluation and the implementation of programs meeting the standards of the Department shall be the responsibility of the Division.

(c) The Director shall submit to the Legislature and to the Office of the Governor not later than 10 January of each year, an annual report and current Territorial Special Education Plan.

(1) The annual report shall include, but not be limited to: the current enrollment of children with disabilities; their geographic location, the programs and services provided them; and, the source of funding.

(2) The Territorial Special Education Plan shall be submitted as required by federal mandates.

16.1605 Identification.

The Director shall establish, in cooperation with other appropriate governmental agencies policies and procedures to ensure that all children with disabilities in the Territory are identified, located and evaluated in accordance with federal mandates.

16.1606 Funding--Federal aid.

(a) Federal aid. The Department may apply for, administer, receive, and expend any federal aid for which the Territory may be eligible in the administration and operation of its special education program. If this aid is available for a multistate, territorial, or regional program in which this Territory participates, the Department may apply for and devote all or a portion of the federal aid to the multistate, territorial, or regional program.

(b) The Department shall budget for each disabled child at least that amount budgeted for the education of each non-disabled child.