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Adversarial System?

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Your school district (“the District”) does not want parents to know that special education is an adversarial system.


  1. Remember, Congress created special education law to protect students with special needs from their local school districts.
  2. The District’s IEP team makes decisions about what is necessary for the child in special ed to benefit from his or her education.
  3. The District writes the minutes of each IEP team meeting.¬† When parents and the District disagree at an IEP team meeting, the minutes of the IEP team meeting are often at odds with the parents’ version of what happened.
  4. If the parents disagree with what the District offers, or fails to offer, at the IEP team meeting, then only a due process proceeding will work to change the District’s position about providing resources.
  5. The parents of a child in special education are part of the IEP team, and yet, the District decides, unilaterally, what is best for the child.
  6. Everything parents say at an IEP team meeting can, and will be used against them at a due process hearing.
  7. The parents of a child in special education may reject what the District has offered, but the parents will not receive what they want without initiating, and often going through, a due process proceeding.
  8. The District pretends that the IEP team meeting is a collaborative effort and pretends that harmony is maintained at all costs.  It is the child in special education who pays all the costs in lost services and opportunities.
  9. Parents of children in special education have either friendly, collaborative relationships with school officials and receive few or none of the resources their child requires; or parents of children in special education have assertive, appropriately demanding relationships with school officials and receive the resources that their child requires.

If you do not think your school District views its special education parents as adversaries, then you may wish to reflect on the invitation to the annual, national Special Education School Attorneys Conference where seminars and discussions are held about how to apply special education law. Registration criteria includes the following quote,

“Registrants MUST BE ATTORNEYS who do not currently represent parties with special education interests adverse to school districts.”

Registration is only for attorneys who fight to deny special education eligible children their rights. Anytime a publicly funded group requires secrecy, you can generally be assured that the public interest is not being served by the group.

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