Parenting Special Needs Magazine - March/April 2017

Procedural Safeguards

Doreen Franklin 2017-03-17 12:07:57

Procedural Safeguards 1 CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO AUDIO VERSION OF THE ARTICLE. You receive your IEP meeting notice and included are 20 pages of Procedural Safeguards. At the meeting, you are also asked if you want another copy of the Procedural Safeguards. You should be asked if you understand them or would like an explanation of them. If you say yes, the ESE specialist will probably “run through” a few of the items in the safeguards, but probably not sufficient for you to understand. You sit there and indicate that you understand them, but did you really? I know that when I was at my first IEP meeting, I did not know what the district was talking about as the ESE specialist swiftly went thru those 20-pages of safeguards! Over the years of IEP meetings, I actually read all 20 pages of those Procedural Safeguards. Then I called Anna Brynild, the IEP Coach from Central FL Parent Center (the PTI covering the central & NE counties) who was assisting me with my IEP and we discussed several of the important parts. It was then that I had several “a-ha” moments. The Procedural Safeguards in a nutshell are the rights and responsibilities of parents and the schools/districts. Parents need to know the Procedural Safeguards for the Safeguards to help you at an IEP meeting. You can find the Procedural Safeguards at your state’s Dept of Education or under the Federal IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) at Sections §§300.500 - 300.536.1 When you are handed the Safeguards in a Florida school, you should verify that you have been given the latest edition, revised in May 2014. Not all areas of the Procedural Safeguards apply to each family, but there are several areas to know. Once you know the area you need, use the verbiage at the IEP meeting. Prior Written Notice (PWN), also called Notice of Refusal (NOR), are on p1 of the FL Procedural Safeguards.2 You should be provided a Written Notice Prior/Notice of Refusal when the School/District: (1) Proposes to initiate or to change the identification, evaluation, eligibility determination, or educational placement of your child, or the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to your child; or (2) Refuses to initiate or to change the identification, evaluation, eligibility determination or educational placement of your child or the provision of FAPE to your child.3 So, if you ask for something at the IEP meeting, like more time for a service, and are denied, ask for the Notice of Refusal in writing in a timely manner as stated in the Procedural Safeguards. Parental Consent, on p2, must be obtained for several matters. Your consent is needed for initial evaluations, initial provision of services, specific actions, or for reevaluations. Reevaluations must be performed at least triennially (every 3 years) unless the parent and the school district agree that the reevaluation is not needed.4 If you do not agree with the evaluations performed by the district, parents can request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) and ask that the district pay for the IEE, p 4. If you provide an IEE to the school/ district, the IEE only needs to be “considered” by school/district. If the school/ district does not agree to do the IEE, your school district must, without unnecessary delay, either: (a) Provide an IEE at public expense, or (b) File a due process hearing request to show that its evaluation of your child is appropriate; unless the school district demonstrates in a hearing that the evaluation of your child that you obtained did not meet the school district’s criteria. Parents also have the right to inspect/review their child’s educational record or can ask for copies (the school/ district is allowed to charge, and may charge you for those copies). This is listed under Access Rights on p5. If parents are in disagreement with the school/district, you have several options available to you. These options are Mediation (p 7), or you can file a State Complaint (p 8) or file Due Process (p 9). A note about Due Process – it can cost parents $30,000-35,000 and if parents lose, you can be required to pay the district attorney’s fees on top of your own attorney fees. Also listed in the Safeguards is Discipline for Children with Disabilities, p15, which is a Manifestation Determination. A manifestation determination is a little complicated but could be used when your child is removed/ suspended for 10 days or more. Once the determination is made that the behavior is a manifestation of your child’s behavior, school must either conduct an FBA (Functional Behavior Assessment) or review the current Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP). If you have placed your child in a Private School, there are specific rules on p 19 pertaining to that placement for your child with a disability and an IEP. All of these sound overwhelming the first time you read through them, but if you know your rights, use the verbiage at the IEP table to advocate for your child. 1) 2) 3) 4) Doreen Franklin is a Special Education Consultant & Private Tutor. She assists families with children with special needs with their IEPs. Doreen & her husband adopted two daughters; both are special needs. Doreen homeschooled their older daughter and tutors children privately.

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