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Top 10 Special Education Rights

Top 10 Special Education Rights

1. Parents have the right to have their children assessed by the school district for any area of suspected disability without delay.
2. Parents have the right to have an IEP team meeting within 30 days of their written request when an IEP is already in place.
3. Parents have the right to bring any person to an IEP team meeting without giving notice to the school district.
4. Parents have the right to consent in part to IEPs. (Parents may consent in whole or in part to eligibility, goals, related services, accommodations and placement.)
5. Parents have the right in the state of California to audio record an IEP team meeting if they give at least 24 hours notice in writing.
6. Parents have the right to be the “private attorney general”, individually or through their representative (i.e., legal counsel), to enforce their child’s rights by filing civil rights complaints, compliance complaints, due process hearing requests, and the like against their child’s school district.
7. Parents have the right to disagree with a school district assessment, also known as an evaluation, and request an independent educational evaluation (“IEE”) by an outside expert of the parents’ choice to be paid for by the school district.
8. Parents have the right to be represented by legal counsel in all matters relating to their child’s IEP including, but not limited to, assessment/ evaluation requests, requests for IEP team meetings, consent to assessment/evaluation plans, consent to IEPs, consent to health plans, and consent to behavioral plans.
9. Parents have the right to be present at all IEP team meetings, regardless of school district’s deadlines or timelines.
10. Parents have the right to review and receive copies of all educational records regarding their child, including evaluation materials such as test sheets, evaluation/assessment reports, and service logs.

While parents have all these rights, many school districts routinely violate them. Most parents do not have sufficient time or resources to enforce their child’s rights. Many school district officials will tell parents that they do not have some of the above rights.

Generally, the best policy for parents is to put all requests into writing and to keep a copy of each request.

If the school district violates the parents’ rights, then the first step is generally to tell the school district in writing that the district is in violation of the law and request that the district correct the violation. This action should result in a “Prior Written Notice” from the school district wherein the school district explains the action that the school district will be taking. The school district’s “Prior Written Notice” helps parents document a violation that is not appropriately corrected by the school district.

Parents have the duty to enforce their children’s rights. No federal agency, court or other body will act of behalf of special needs children unless parents first take the steps necessary to enforce their children’s rights.

Parents who don’t have the wherewithal to personally file and prosecute necessary enforcement actions against their children’s school district, should seek competent legal counsel to act on their children’s behalf for enforcement.

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