Frequently Asked Questions about the Role of Parents and the Special Education Process
Finding out about the parents’ rights:
At least once a year, the school district will tell all parents about their rights related to confidentiality of student records. Some districts put this notice in the local newspaper. Others send the notice to the parent’s home. These rights are also described in information the school gives the parents to explain their rights as the parent of a child who has a disability. Parents may call their child’s school and ask for an explanation of these rights. They may also ask for an explanation of their rights at any IEP meeting.
What are the parents’ rights?
The parents have the right to look at the school record kept on their child. School staff will give the information on where the record is kept, how the information can be seen, and how a copy of the information can be received. The school should answer any parental request to see the records within a reasonable length of time, including before an IEP meeting and before a due process hearing. If there is some reason why the parent cannot get to the school to see the record, the school can send a copy to the parent or guardian if requested.
Does the school need the parent’s consent to implement the IEP?
The school must obtain the parent’s consent for the initial provision of special education and related services. If the parents refuse to give consent, the school system may not override their decision and implement the IEP. In this case, the school system is not considered in violation of its requirement to make free appropriate public education available to the parent’s child. The parent’s lack of consent, however, means that the child will not receive special education and related services in school.
May the parent revoke their consent for special education and related services after initially giving it?
Yes, at any time after providing initial consent, the parent may revoke consent, in writing, for the continued provision of special education and related services. Once the parent revokes consent, the school system may no longer provide special education and related services to the child, and they may not use mediation or due process procedures to try to override the parent’s revocation of consent.
Can the IEP be changed?
Yes, at least once a year a meeting must be scheduled with the parents to review their child’s progress and develop the child’s new annual IEP. The parents do not have to wait for this annual review to have the IEP reviewed or revised.
Can the parents disagree with the school about what is right for their child?
Yes, parents have the right to disagree with the school’s decision concerning their child. This includes decisions about: the child’s identification as a “child with a disability”, his or her evaluation; his or her educational placement; and the special education and related services that the school provides to the child (National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities [NICHCY], 2010).