The Notice of Procedural Safeguards: Rights of Parents of Children with Disabilities is an important document for parents.
This document explains the specific rights and responsibilities of the parent in the special education process. The Procedural Safeguards fulfills the current legal requirements for the federally prescribed content of this notice. It is presented in a format designed to clarify for parents their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
A companion document to the Procedural Safeguards is A Guide to the Admission, Review and Dismissal Process can also be located on the Education Service Center, Region 18 (ESC18) website. In Texas, the IEP team is referred to as the Admissions, Review, and Dismissal Committee (ARD). The ARD Guide referenced on the ESC18 contains information that parents need to effectively participate in an ARD committee meeting for their child. The ARD Guide is not a replacement for the Procedural Safeguards. The purpose of the ARD Guide is to encourage a common understanding for parents, school personnel, and communities of the IEP process for a student with disabilities.
School districts and charter schools in Texas are required to provide the Procedural Safeguards only one time a year, except upon: initial referral or on request for evaluation; the first occurrence of the filing of a due process hearing complaint; a disciplinary change of placement; or upon request by a parent. Districts must continue to document the provision of Procedural Safeguards in a student’s eligibility folder. Documentation is subject to compliance review through the State’s monitoring system.
Each school must ensure that the notice is provided in the native language of the parent, or other mode of communication, unless it is clearly not feasible to do so. If the native language or other mode of communication is not a written language, the school must translate the notice orally or by other means so that it is understood by the parent.
Each school is responsible for downloading, printing, and distributing the Procedural Safeguards. The Procedural Safeguards document reflects current requirements and should be incorporated into the district’s referral process for special education evaluation. The current version of the Procedural Safeguards is available on the Region 18 Education Service Center's Legal Framework IDEA 2004 Web site.
Parents can contact the following Parent Resources to help with understanding the special education process or call the Texas Education Agency's toll free Parent Information Line.
Texas Project FIRST (Families Information Resources Support and Training) is a project of the Texas Education Agency and is committed to providing accurate and consistent information to parents & families of students with disabilities.
The Partners Resource Network (PRN) is a non-profit agency that operates the statewide network of federally funded Parent Training and Information Centers (PTI's) in Texas. The programs and services of PRN are based on the concept of parents helping parents. The mission of PRN is to empower parents of children and youth with disabilities in their roles as parents, decision makers, and advocates for their children and to promote partnerships among parents and professionals.
TEA Toll Free Parent Information Line: 1-800-252-9668
This toll free message line is reserved for parents and other family members who have questions about student rights and regulatory requirements as they relate to special education complaint investigations, mediations, and due process hearings. Calls are returned by trained professionals during normal business hours. For Individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: TTY Number: (512) 475-3540 Relay Texas 7-1-1.Division of IDEA Coordination
1701 North Congress Avenue | Austin, Texas 78701-1494
Telephone: 512.463.9414 | Fax: 512.463.9560
Specific procedures that protect the rights of students and parents with disabilities are meant to help make the complicated special education process more predictable and dependable. They are designed to ensure that appropriate procedures are followed and that special education and related services are individualized for each student.
Procedural safeguards relate to many aspects of the special education process, including eligibility, evaluation, IEP, placement or the provision of special education. For example, one of the key safeguards for parents is the right to receive written notice whenever a school district proposes or refuses to initiate or change key aspects of a student's services. Parents are encouraged to carefully review the "Parent's Rights Booklet" which has been prepared as one means of informing parents of their rights in the special education process. The "Parent's Rights Booklet" is made available to parents at any time upon request to the school district and is always provided by the school when an initial request for an evaluation is received and at other times during the IEP process.
Some students with disabilities are able to succeed in school without special education but require some kind of supportive service or accommodation. A law known as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 offers students with disabilities both services and accommodations that are necessary for the student to participate fully in the life of the school. To receive services under Section 504 a student must have a mental or physical impairment that substantially impairs a major life activity, and requires special accommodations. Major life activities include functions such as breathing, walking, learning, caring for one's self, seeing, speaking, performing manual tasks, hearing, and working. Like IDEA, a Section 504 Plan guarantees students with disabilities the right to FAPE.
- Section 504 offers a Team approach, a written plan, appropriate accommodations, services, and programs, and periodic review of services.
- A "504 Plan" can assure students with disabilities the opportunity to join in all aspects of school life.
- Accommodations in non-academic and extracurricular activities, adaptive equipment or assistive technology devices, an aide, assistance with health needs, school transportation or other related services are possible 504 accommodations.
For more information on this topic, please access the Special Education Laws, Policies, and Procedures Module.