Do you have a child with autism who has just started receiving special education services? Has your child with dyslexia been receiving services for several years, but you feel that they are not making academic progress? Have your been frustrated over the fact that your school district is refusing to listen to your input on what you think your child needs, to benefit from their education? This article will be discussing two different court cases on parental rights, and how to use these ruling’s to get parental rights that you are entitled to!I hear from parents all the time that are frustrated because their school district is refusing to allow them to have meaningful participation, in determining what special education services and placement their child needs.There have been many Court decisions about parental rights and you can probably find them through a search engine such as google.In a couple of the cases the court held that in order to fulfill the goal of parental participation in the IEP process, the school district was required to conduct, not just an IEP meeting, but a meaningful IEP meeting,They also found that parents have a significant role in ensuring that their child receives a free appropriate public education, concerns that parents have for enhancing their child’s education must be considered by the team, and that IDEA grants parents independent enforceable rights.These rights which are not limited to certain procedural and reimbursement related matters, encompass the entitlement to a free appropriate public education for the parent’s child. In other words the rights that IDEA gives parents are found to encompass not only procedural but also substantive rights.So how do you use these court rulings to help you get your parental rights:1. If special education personnel in your district are not allowing you to give input on your child’s education and services write them a letter and tell them that they are violating your rights under IDEA, to be part of the team that determines services for your child.2. At your child’s next IEP meeting write a parent input statement. The parent input statement should be one page, and typed if possible, and include what you think your child needs in their education. This parent input statement should be brought to your child’s IEP meeting, shared with school personnel, and attached to your child’s IEP. Remember, that in the Deal case the court found that the parent participation must be meaningful.3. Check with other parents in your school district and see if they are experiencing the same problem you are, with trying to have input in your child’s education.4. If they still refuse, consider filing a state complaint for violation of IDEA. If other parents in your district are having the same problem, consider filing a systemic complaint. A systemic complaint means that the school district is violating many parent’s rights, not just yours!IDEA states that parents are members of any team that determines placement and services for their child. This would be the issue of your complaint to your State Department or Board of Education. Include a copy of your letter and your parent input statement as evidence that you are trying to have input, and your school district is refusing to allow you to!By having knowledge of what the court has ruled in special education parental right cases you will be able to effectively advocate for your child!
First, it is important to understand that Special Education services are meant to help your child succeed as a student and as an individual. Hopefully it is no surprise when your child is referred for Special Education Services. This referral can come from you, the teacher or anyone else who works with your child. Once your child is suspected of having a disability or believed to require extra services, a referral is placed.What is a referral? Paperwork is submitted to a team called the CSE or Committee on Special Education. Generally the team consists of teachers, the school psychologist and other people who work with your child. What you may or may not know, the most valuable member of the CSE is the parent. After all, you know your child best!Once the referral is received, the student is evaluated. Different members of the CSE meet with your child and evaluate through observations, and various assessments. It is important to note, that this can NOT happen without your consent. Usually, the initial evaluation includes: a physical examination, psychological assessments, social/emotional history, observation of your child in their classroom and any other appropriate assessment. This could also include speech and/or language, behavior evaluation etc.Once the evaluation has been completed, a CSE meeting will be scheduled. It is important that the parent be present and is aware of their rights. At the CSE meeting, the results of the evaluation will be discussed and recommendations will be made. If you disagree with the results, you have the right to request that an outside agency evaluate your child, at the expense of the school district.If your child is eligible to receive special education services, the Committee must select a disability category that is most appropriate for your child. Again, if you disagree with the committee, you have the right to seek mediation.Once your child is deemed eligible to receive services, the committee will be responsible for developing an IEP or Individual Education Plan for your child. When creating your child’s plan, their strengths and needs will be taken into consideration. The IEP will document goals that your child will attempt to meet with the support of special education services. The IEP will also indicate where the services will take place. It is important to note that Special Education services are based on a spectrum that ranges from the least restrictive environment or LRE to the most restrictive environment.Once the IEP has been implemented, you should receive written progress reports documenting how your child is progressing with their goals. Once a year, the CSE will meet to review the IEP. Every three years, a reevaluation will take place, similar to the initial referral to CSE to determine if your child still requires the support of Special Education services.Hopefully this has “unpacked” the special education process for you.