Safeguards for disabilities
A Summary of Procedural Safeguards For Students with Disabilities
- All educational and public agencies are required by law to establish, maintain, and implement a procedural safeguard policy, which meets or exceeds the minimum standards of the Federal Government. Parents must be informed of all identifying activities relevant to their child and must give their informed consent for evaluations and services provided.
Opportunity to examine records:
- Parents have the right to examine all records of their child with respect to identification, evaluation, placement, and FAPE (Free and Appropriate Public Education). Parents must be given an opportunity to be a member of the IEP team. Decisions pertaining to the child may be made without the participation or input from the parent if a record of attempts to involve the parent has proven unsuccessful.
Independent educational evaluation:
- A parent has a right to an independent evaluation at public expense if the parent disagrees with an evaluation obtained by the public agency. The public agency must provide parents with information on how and where an independent evaluation may be obtained. Results from the independent evaluation may be considered, but are not binding with the LEA. A public agency may initiate a due process hearing to protest the findings of an independent evaluation under sec. 300.507 if the evaluation obtained by the parent does not meet the agency criteria.
- Parents must be given written advance prior notice before an agency can initiate or change identification, evaluation or educational placement of a child or the provision of FAPE. The agency must state the purpose of the meeting and must do so in the native language, which is understandable to all parties concerned. An interpreter may be needed for the parents to understand the content of the notice.
- Parental consent must be given before conducting initial evaluation, reevaluation, provision of special education and related services, change of placement, review of records by an outside agency. Refusal by the parent for evaluation or services may result in due process or mediation procedures initiated by the public agency.
Mediation: (Conflict Resolution)
- Each public agency shall ensure that procedures are established and implemented which allow parties to resolve disputes through mediation. The procedures must insure that mediation is voluntary, does not deny or delay a parent’s right to due process, is conducted in a location convenient to all parties, is confidential, timely, and involves a qualified and impartial mediator.
Impartial due process hearing:
- A parent or public agency may initiate a hearing on matters relating to identification, evaluation or educational placement of a child with a disability. The public agency shall inform the parent of any low-cost or free legal services. The State Educational Agency shall conduct the hearing. An impartial hearing officer will be appointed who does not have a vested interest in the student or agency. A hearing must be open to the public. Findings of a hearing are final unless either party, in which case the LEA will review the hearing and make recommendations, makes an appeal. Hearings will be held in a timely manner giving consideration for convenience of those involved. Either party may take civil action if the due process hearing is not satisfactorily resolved. Attorney’s fees may be awarded to parents who prevail. The child involved in the complaint must remain in his/her current placement until completion of the proceedings.
- Each public agency shall ensure that the rights of a child are protected if no parent can be identified, located, or if the child is a ward of the state. The agency shall appoint a surrogate parent if it is determined that one is needed. A surrogate parent must not be employed by the agency, LEA or any other agency involved with the education or care of the child, or has interests which conflict with the child being represented. The surrogate parent may represent the child in all matters, which relate to identification, evaluation and educational placement of the child.
Transfer of parental rights at age of majority:
- A state may provide that, when a child with a disability reaches the age of majority, all rights transfer to the child unless the child has been determined incompetent under state law.
- A child with a disability can be suspended from school up to a cumulative total of 45 days if criteria of sec. 300.520 are met. All efforts should be taken to reduce and plan for school violations in dealing with students with disabilities. An appointed hearing officer may determine an alternative educational setting during a disciplinary action.
- If disciplinary action is taken that will result in a change of placement for the student, a manifestation determination will be conducted within 10 days of the action. The review must be conducted to consider the relationship between the child’s disability and the action taken. Appropriate planning and instructional settings should be considered when educating students with disabilities. Parents may appeal the determination in accordance with sec.300.525. The child will remain in the interim alternative educational setting pending results of the appeal.
Protection for children not yet eligible for special education and related services:
- If a child has not been determined eligible for special education services, or related services and has violated a rule or code of conduct of the LEA, parents may request an evaluation for special education services. Until the evaluation is completed the child will remain in the educational setting determined by the school authorities. The evaluation must be conducted in a timely manner as well as due process consideration.
Referral to and action by law enforcement and judicial authorities:
- Students with disabilities who commit a crime can be referred to the appropriate authorities. The agency reporting the crime shall ensure that a copy of the special education and disciplinary records are transmitted to the appropriate authorities.
Placement of children by parents if FAPE is at issue:
- If a parent chooses to place their child in a private setting, the LEA
is not responsible for costs. If a disagreement about FAPE and financial
responsibility are in question, due process procedures of sec. 300.500-300.515
must be followed. Parents must give the LEA a minimum of 10 days notice
before removing their child from the public facility. Parents must inform
the LEA of their concerns of FAPE in the most recent IEP meeting and
state their intent to enroll their child in a private school at public
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
THE DIRECTOR OF SPECIAL PROGRAMS
IRON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT