79-1161. Child with a disability; school district; protect rights of child; assignment of surrogate parent.

(1) School districts shall establish and maintain procedures to protect the rights of a child with a disability whenever (a) no parents of the child can be identified, (b) the school district cannot, after reasonable efforts, locate a parent of the child, (c) the child is a ward of the state, or (d) the child is an unaccompanied homeless youth as defined in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 11434a(6), as such section existed on January 1, 2009. Such procedures shall include the assignment of an individual to act as a surrogate for the parents. The school district shall make reasonable efforts to ensure the assignment of a surrogate not more than thirty days after there is a determination by the district that the child needs a surrogate. In the case of a child who is a ward of the state, such surrogate may alternatively be appointed by the judge overseeing the child's care if the surrogate meets the requirements of subdivision (2)(c) of this section.

(2) The surrogate parent shall (a) have no interest which conflicts with the interest of the child, (b) have knowledge and skills that insure adequate representation, and (c) not be an employee of any agency involved in the care or education of the child. A person otherwise qualified to be a surrogate parent under this subsection is not an employee of the agency solely because he or she is paid by the agency to serve as a surrogate parent. The surrogate parent appointed under this section may represent the child in all matters relating to the identification, evaluation, and educational placement of the child and the provision of a free appropriate public education to the child.

(3) The services of the surrogate parent shall be terminated when (a) the child is no longer eligible under subsection (1) of this section, (b) a conflict of interest develops between the interest of the child and the interest of the surrogate parent, or (c) the surrogate parent fails to fulfill his or her duties as a surrogate parent. Issues arising from the selection, appointment, or removal of a surrogate parent by a school district shall be resolved through hearings established under sections 79-1162 to 79-1167. The surrogate parent and the school district which appointed the surrogate parent shall not be liable in civil actions for damages for acts of the surrogate parent unless such acts constitute willful and wanton misconduct.

Source:Laws 1988, LB 165, § 1; R.S.1943, (1994), § 79-4,147; Laws 1996, LB 900, § 843; Laws 1997, LB 346, § 42; Laws 2009, LB549, § 44.