Special Education and Regional Center Blog
Helping Parents Navigate the Special Education, the Regional Center, and IHSS program.
This website from the California Department of Education (https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/qa/pssummary.asp) is a great summary of Procedural Safeguards for students with disabilities receiving special education. This page is so good in deserves its own blog post. Consider printing this page to have available at your IEP. Highlights from the page are repeated below with my comments italicized.
Parents and students over age eighteen have the right:
Parents have the right to refer their child for special education services, to participate in the development of the IEP and to be informed of all program options and alternatives, both public and nonpublic.
This is such an important right and can't be stressed enough. Every word is important.
To Receive Prior Written Notice (PWN)
Parents have a right to receive prior written notice, in their native language, when the school district initiates or refuses their request to initiate a change in their child’s identification, assessment, or educational placement in special education.
Another important right that is often overlooked by Districts. Districts sometimes forget to provide PWN when the District refuses to change placement or assessment.
Parents must provide informed, written consent before their child is assessed or provided with any special education services. Parental consent must also be provided before any change in special education services may occur. The district must ensure that parents understand proceedings of the IEP team meeting including arranging for an interpreter for parents with deafness or those whose native language is other than English.
Generally, Districts are good about consent from parents, nonetheless it is is an important right.
To Refuse to Consent
Parents may refuse to consent to an assessment or the placement of their child in special education.
To Be Given a Nondiscriminatory Assessment
Children must be assessed for special education through the use of methods that are not culturally biased or discriminatory.
To Receive Independent Educational Assessments
If parents disagree with the results of the assessment conducted by the school district, they have the right to ask for and obtain an independent educational evaluation (IEE) at public expense.
The parent is entitled to only one IEE at public expense each time the public agency conducts an evaluation with which the parent disagrees.
When a parent requests an IEE at public expense, the school district must, without unnecessary delay, either ensure that an IEE is provided at public expense, or request a due process hearing if the district believes their assessment was appropriate and disagrees that an IEE is necessary. The school district also has the right to establish the standards or criteria (including cost and location) for IEEs at public expense.
This is a very important and powerful right. IEE used correctly can be a great method to get appropriate services or placement.
To Access Educational Records
Parents have a right to inspect, review, and obtain copies of their child’s educational records.
Also, very important to review what is happening with your child. See here about requesting records: how-to-request-school-records-in-california.html
To Stay in the Current Program If There is a Disagreement About Placement
If parents disagree with the district regarding their child’s special education placement or a proposed change in placement, the law requires the student to “stay put” in the current program until the dispute is resolved.
Stay-put along with above right to consent to services is a very important parental report, especially when there are disputes with the District.
To Be Given a Hearing Regarding Disagreements About an IEP
Parents have the right to present a complaint relating to the provision of a FAPE for their child; to have an attorney, an advocate, and the student, if appropriate, present at the due process hearing; and to make the hearing public. Under certain conditions, the hearing officer may award, reduce, or deny the reimbursement of attorneys’ fees and fees paid to nonpublic institutions by parents in the settlement of a case. To request a due process hearing or to receive a complete notice of procedural safeguards related to a due process hearing, contact the Office of Administrative Hearings.
Contact me if you want to discuss filing for due process, and the District. paying attorneys' fees.
To Receive Mediation
Parents are encouraged to consider settling disagreements regarding their child’s special education program through voluntary mediation, a process through which parties seek mutually agreeable solutions to disputes with the help of an impartial mediator. Parents may seek mediation alone or separate from due process, or they may participate in mediation pending a due process hearing. Mediation cannot be used to delay parents right to a due process hearing.
Contact me if you want to discuss mediation, and the District paying attorneys' fees.
To File a Complaint Against Your School District
If parents believe their child’s school district has violated the law, they may file a complaint with the California Department of Education. The Department must investigate complaints alleging violations of noncompliance with IDEA, state special education laws, or regulations, and issue a written report of findings within 60 days of receiving the complaint.
To Be Informed of School Discipline and Alternative Placement
There are specific rules regarding the suspension and expulsion of students with IEPs. Generally, a student with a disability may be suspended or placed in an alternative educational setting to the same extent that these options apply to students without disabilities.
If the student with a disability is in such a placement for more than ten days, an IEP meeting must be held to consider the appropriateness of the child’s current placement and the extent to which the disability is the cause of the misconduct. Regardless of the child’s placement, the district must provide FAPE.
Children facing school discipline have very specific rights. It is often best to consult with a special education attorney when special education students face suspension or expulsion.
To Be Informed of Policies Regarding Children Who Attend Private Schools
School districts are responsible for identifying, locating and assessing students with disabilities enrolled in private schools by their parents. However, school districts are not required to provide special education or related services to these students. There is no entitlement for services, though some private schools and students attending private schools may receive some services from the school district.
Child find is an important parental right especially if your child attends a private school and you have requested the District to evaluate for special education.