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Parental Rights In Illinois

Silence gtgt Welcome everyone. My name is Rebecca and I’m a parent consultant with the Utah Parent Center. I’m happy to have our parent audience here and I’m also happy for those at home who are using technology to view this training. I hope that you will find this information useful to you. And I hope that it may answer some of the questions that you may have. We’re gonna be discussing Procedural Safeguards today. But before I start, I want to let you know that I am parent of a child.

With several severe disabilities myself, and I really respect parents who take the time to learn about the special education laws. It’s very important as they try to navigate their way through the special system, and hopefully this will aid you in that process. Now Procedural Safeguards are sometimes referred to as Parent Rights, but really they are protections in the law designed to protect both the rights of the parent and the child with the disability. And as parents, it’s important that we have an understanding of these safeguards so that we can apply them to our child and make sure.

That the schools are following the procedures appropriately in their school settings. I want to show you this Procedural Safeguard Notice because I know many of you have received this when you go to your annual IEP meetings, and your Procedural Safeguards are contained in this booklet. But how many of you parents have actually taken the time to open up the cover and to read through these safeguards and to make a good faith effort to understand what’s contained in here. How about a raise of why don’t you raise your hands those in our audience here.

Parents Rights and Procedural Safeguards

Who have actually read through your Procedural Safeguards Everyone! We have a really great group of parents who have done their homework here. Now, those of you who have taken a look at the Procedural Safeguards, how many of you can name one of the Procedural Safeguards contained in this booklet Linda! gtgt The right to look at your child’s records. gtgt Very good. Thank you. Anyone else gtgt Louis gtgt And make information contained in those records are confidential. gtgt Confidentiality is very important. Good. Jodie gtgt The right to due process if something goes wrong and of course starting at the lowest level.

Where I would work with like my teachers and my school first, but knowing that there’s steps I can take in following the chain of command. gtgt It’s important that there is a dispute resolution process and that is all contained in this booklet as well. So we’re gonna discuss each of those issues and we’re also gonna talk about a few more than just that. So, let’s jump right in. What I would like to do is do a quick review of the guiding principles around the individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

This is where our special education laws come from and these are 6 guiding principles. One is the free appropriate public education, many times this is referred to as FAPE, and this is special education and related services that are available to eligible children ages 3 through 22 and are to be provided at no cost to parents. There’s also the appropriate evaluation. There needs to be a mechanism in the law to determine who is eligible for services. So that’s where the evaluation comes in. It is used to gather accurate information.

To determine eligibility and also continued eligibility. It also identifies the student’s strengths and weaknesses. Identifying those student’s strengths and weaknesses becomes important as our teams create an individualized education program. And this is a legally binding written document that outlines the Special Education Program services that are based on the child’s needs. Least restrictive environment referred to as LRE many times. This is the environment where the students can receive an appropriate education while still being educated with their nondisabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate. And then this is my favorite, of course, the parent.

And student participation in making decisions. I feel grateful to have the opportunity to go to my child’s IEP meetings and be part of that team and to play a central role in the planning and the decision making of my child’s education. And then the 6 guiding principle is the Procedural Safeguards. And this is what we’re gonna be focusing our time on today in this training. The safeguards protect the rights of the parent and the child with the disability, as well as give families and school a mechanism for resolving disputes.

So let’s go ahead and begin with the Procedural Safeguard Notice which is this notice here. The school is only required to give parents this notice one time per year and that’s usually done at your annual IEP meeting. There are a few exceptions. One exception would be on the initial referral to see if your child is eligible for special education services or if the school or the parent initiates an evaluation, then the schools need to provide this notice to the parents. The first occurrence of the filing of a complaint.

Now a complaint is one of your dispute resolution options for parents when they feel like a part of the special education law has been violated. They have the right to file a complaint. So if you are a parent that chooses this option, the school would then need to give you a copy of your Procedural Safeguard Notice. And also anytime you as a parent feel like you would like to review this information, you should be able to get a copy at your school. They should have enough on hand to where they can give you this notice.

And if you have questions, they should be able to explain the contents to you. Now the content should include a full explanation of the Procedural Safeguards which this booklet does. It needs to be in the parent’s native language unless clearly not feasible to do so and it needs to be written in an easily understandable manner. Let’s talk about some key points that are included in the Procedural Safeguards. One is the confidentiality of information. The information in your child should remain confidential. Only the people that need to see your child’s records should have access to it, for example,.

Your special education teacher who might wanna do a review of your child’s records that might aid the teacher in educating your child, for example. Third parties, though, must have the parents’ permission before any kind of information can be released. It’s also important to for teachers and other service providers to maintain confidentiality in their conversations with other people at the school site as it pertains to your child. Another key point is discipline. And if you were a parent that has a child with behavior problems at school that perhaps happen frequently, perhaps you have a child that’s been suspended once.

Or twice already and is at a higher risk for suspension in the future, this is a section that you’ll want to pay particular attention to, and to understand the safeguards that are contained in your Procedural Safeguard Notice. And as a parent, make sure that your school is applying these Procedurals Safeguards in an appropriate way towards your child who maybe having difficulty at school. A child with a disability who violates a code of conduct can be suspended or placed in an alternate educational setting as long as it doesn’t exceed 10 school days.

And this can be done without any kind of violation of special education law or the Procedural Safeguards. Now, the school has discretion as to how these 10 days will be used. The school can suspend your child for 10 consecutive days, would be another option. Most of the time we hear that a child might be suspended for one day here and another day there, but the accumulation of those days should not exceed the 10 days. If for some reason it does and if the school chooses to remove your child for more.

Than the 10 days then that is considered a change of placements. This is when your Procedural Safeguards come into play and your child or the school, I should say, is required to give your child educational services during the time the child is suspended so that the child can make progress in their IEP goals and make progress in the general curriculum. Now, for serious codes of misconducts which could be bringing a weapon to school which I hope would never happen, could be drugs, could be serious bodily injury.

To another student, these are very, very serious things. The school does have the right to remove your child and place them in what’s called an interim alternative educational placement for not more than 45 days without regard to the child’s disability, so they do have that discretion. But the school needs to provide educational services and modifications that will enable the child to progress towards the goals on their IEP during that time. If the school staff is considering disciplinary action that involves changing your child’s placement, they must conduct to what’s called a manifestation hearing.

And this is a team of people that will consider the behavior in question and make a determination if that behavior was related to the student’s disability. If the team determines that the misconduct was due to the child’s disability. The following steps should be followed. For one thing, the school should go ahead and conduct a functional behavioral assessment. This is the type of assessment that looks at the child and the specific behavior and tries to determine why the child’s behave the way he or she did. They may look at what happened right before the behavior or the antecedent.

They may review the behavior. They may look at the consequence, how that situation was handled. And they may they need to get a handle on what maybe those triggers were so that they can create a behavioral intervention plan to try to extinguish that behavior. We want to prevent that behavior from reoccurring. And so that behavioral intervention plan can then be can become a part of the IEP and the staff will follow with. It needs to be monitored to make sure that those steps don’t need to be revised.

So these are the things that your school can do. If you have a child that has behavior issues, as a parent, you certainly don’t have to wait till your child has been suspended or place in an alternative setting. You can go ahead and ask for a functional behavioral assessment to be done or behavioral intervention plan and advocate that for your child as a parent. And get those helps in there early on to prevent behaviors from escalating to the point where they might be have to change to a different location for their education.

If the IEP team finds that the behavior was not related to the disability, then the child maybe transferred to an alternate educational placement. They would be disciplined like any other child without a disability who had committed the same kind of misconduct. Okay, so that I know that’s a lot having to do with discipline. If you’re listening to this and still confused, I will recommend that you contact the Utah Parent Center, talk to a parent consultant, and we can go through your individualized situation and we can let you know how the laws.

And the safeguards apply to you specifically. Other key points that we’re gonna be discussing are due process and your state complaint procedures. And we’re gonna focus in on those a little bit later in more detail. But just to let you know that those are part of the dispute resolution process that parents can choose to use. But don’t be afraid to ask for an explanation of your rights, okay. As you’re reading through your procedural safeguards, contact your schools, they should be able to explain that information, contact the Utah Parent Center,.

Contact the Utah State Department of Education and they can connect to you with someone who can also help you with that as well. Alright. Let’s move on to another important safeguard which is the written parental consent. Now the school is required to get your signature before certain things can happen. Now I would like to ask my audience here. How many of you can think of a time that the school needed your signature before they could initiate an action. Anyone remember as part of the IEP process when they had to get your signature.

Linda. gtgt Before the assessment or evaluation. gtgt Good. That is an important time. Did you have one as well, Ashley gtgt I’m actually gonna say when my child my children were up for reevaluation and so we had to do signature as well. gtgt Yeah, that is a very important time so that initial evaluation to determine eligibility is the time where they would need your written parental consent. And any kind of reevaluation that either the parent or the school might initiate, they would need your written parental consent as well.

Also, the initial provision of special education and related service services. This means that in order to initiate special education services, if the school finds your child eligible, they would need your signature in order to proceed. So it’s conceivable that you could go through the whole evaluation process, find out that your child is eligible. And at that point as a parent you could choose not to go ahead with services. If that were your choice, then your child would go back to the original placement and would be treated just like any other child without a disability.

So that is an option to think about as a parent as well. It is important to note that written consent is not required for review of existing data as part of evaluation or the reevaluation. So it’s okay, if someone whose gonna do an evaluation on your child to review existing data, these are the available ’cause that will aid them as they proceed and do their own evaluation. And that is fine. They don’t need your written consent as a parent for that. It’s also important to note that the consent for evaluation is not an agreement for placement.

In special education which we just went over. They would need your signature to go ahead and initiate those special education services. Okay, let’s talk about the independent educational evaluation which is an important right to consider that parents have especially if they disagree with an agencies evaluation. The parents have the right to ask for this information at public expense. A time that this might be use frequently would be let’s say a parent has their child evaluated for special education services and the school says, I’m sorry, your child is ineligible..

This is a very highstake decision, so the parent may disagree strongly with that, and feel like, you know, I would like a second opinion, I would this checked. So what they could do is ask the school for a reevaluation, for that independent educational evaluation done by someone privately but at public expense. So if they ask for that, then the agency must either do one of two things. They can either initiate a hearing to show that this evaluation is appropriate or they can pay for the independent educational evaluation.

If the public agency chooses the option of a hearing and it’s determined that their evaluation is appropriate, parents may still obtain an independent educational evaluation but not a public expense. Now it’s important to note that having those private evaluations done can be very, very useful whether the public agency pays for them or not. Bring those evaluations to your IEP team. The law states that the team must consider the evalua the information on those evaluations. The private evaluations cannot be used as a prescription for services. But the public agency must at least review that information and consider the contents.

If you are a parent who chooses though to initiate independent educational evaluation at public expense, best practice would state that you should put that request in writing and you should let the in your letter you should state that you disagree with the evaluation. You should also let the schools know why you disagree. This could be important ’cause it would give the schools the option to maybe do a couple extra evaluations. Maybe make those changes necessary so that you as a parent will be satisfied with their evaluation.

That would be one reason. And the other reason would be that every district is a little bit different. They may have a different procedure available for initiating that independent educational evaluation. When district may provide you with a list of professionals that meet their criteria of what they’re looking for, so that the evaluation would be a valid one that they could use. So find out from your schools what their procedure is. Let them know in advance that you intend to do this and work with them so that it’s done appropriately and so everything will go smoothly as you request this.

School records and meeting. Parents must have the opportunity to examine their records in their child’s file. Now this should be an easy thing for parents to do. You should be able to go and make an appointment at the office of your child’s school, ask to see the records. They can provide you with that information. As you’re looking through there, if you see information that you’d like a copy of, great, just go ahead and request that copies be made. The schools can charge a nominal fee for those copies, it could be 10 cents a copy,.

Something that a regular copy place might charge, and they have the right to do that. As you were looking through your child’s file, if you happen to see something that looks misleading. You feel like something should be taken out of your child’s file, you do have the right to request that. Now, the school would have the prerogative to refuse to do that. And if they chose to refuse to make those changes, the parent could certainly type up a letter explaining why they believe the information is misleading or incorrect,.

And they could staple that letter to the page and question in their file. That parent could also choose to even go as far as filing for due process and having a hearing officer decide whether or not that information should be removed, and that would also be another option. Now parents also have the right to participate in all meetings related to the evaluation, identification, and educational placement and the provision of FAPE for their child. So that pretty much encompasses everything you might run into. You know, anything where a decision is being made, you as a parent are right there,.

Can be there to add input and to be a participant in that process. Private schools, is important to understand now we have a lot of educational options in Utah. We have our public schools, charter schools are available, private schools. And I think it’s a great idea as a parent to go ahead and see all the things that are available to your child, to make sure you’re comfortable with the type of placement that your child is placed in. If you do choose a private school, usually the issue that comes.

Up is well who’s gonna pay the tuition of that private school. I mean so in your safeguard or some guidelines that are that directly relate to these issues. If a parent elects to place their child in a private school, the public agency is not required to pay the cost if FAPE was made available. So in other words, this says that if the public school has an appropriate education for your child and it’s there and they’re willing to provide it. If you as a parent decide otherwise that you would, in your opinion,.

Just like to place your child in a private setting, the public agency is not required to pay that private school tuition. The parents would be paying that. If a parent considers rejecting the free appropriate public education offered by the public agency and enrolls their child in a private school seeking reimbursement from the public agency, the parent must inform the public agency of their concerns. So this is another scenario that could happen. For example, a child is in their public school and the parents just feel like things are not going well.

They feel like in their opinion that their child is not receiving an appropriate education. So they go to their IEP team in which they should especially if they want the public school to pay for that private school tuition. And from their point of view, they are saying that, I don’t believe the school has provided my child with a free appropriate public education. I’m rejecting the FAPE that you think that you’re offering. Now the school could agree with that and say, Look, we’ve tried a lot of different things, and we agree.

You know, we just don’t have the support necessary to help your child in this public setting. And if everyone agrees and they place it on the IEP then this public school can pay for that private school tuition. But it’s gets a little trickier if the school believes that, Hey, we have provided an appropriate education for your child. I’m sorry that you disagree with that, but we’re not gonna pay for your private school education. This is where a dispute resolution process might come into play, where the parent may have.

To build the case showing that the school did not provide in an appropriate education. Someone may have to make that decision for the group as to who is actually gonna pay for that private tuition. Now it’s important to note that even though the public school may not pay for the private school tuition, they will still give some monetary support to the private school. It may not be a lot of money but it’s in allotment of money made available to which child with a disability. The private schools, as they receive this money,.

Are not mandated to spend that money for that child alone. So, it’s a little tricky how that’s work but your child will be spent to the private school no matter who’s paying for tuition with some monetary support. Pause gtgt Okay. Let’s talk about written prior notice. This is an important safeguard. This says that the school is required to give written notice to parents when certain actions occur. For example, when the public agency either proposes or refuses to initiate or change certain actions in the area of identification, evaluation,.

Educational placement or the provision of FAPE. An example of how this could be used in the area of identification would be let’s say the school refuses to identify your child as having a disability. This would be one example where they should give the parent a written notice explaining that the reasons why they’re refusing to identify the child. Another example under the category of evaluation might be, let’s say, the parent would like their child evaluated and the school refuses to evaluate. There again, the school would be required to give a written notice.

To the parents telling them that they’re refusing to evaluate and explaining the rational why. When it comes to educational placement, this is another area. Well, let’s say the school proposes to change the child from one school to another school or even maybe proposes a more restrictive environment for the child, a different classroom environment. Again, the school would need to provide the parent written notice before such a change could take place. The provision of FAPE, free appropriate public education, this encompasses a very large area. But some examples for that would be, let’s say, the school wanted to decrease speech.

And language services from one hour to half hour per week. Okay that would be a provision of the free appropriate public education. They would need to let the parents know in writing prior to such an action. Let’s say the school decided to exit your child from special education services. Again, you know that’s a very high stakes decision where a parent would need to know when they have that protection in the law to receive that information in writing from the school. Now in this prior written notice, there are certain things.

That need to be included in the content. So let’s go over what needs to be a part of that notice to you as a parent. For one thing, the school needs to let you know what the proposed or refused action was why the action is proposed or refused where parents may obtain their procedurals safeguards. Again they need this document and need to be notified where they can receive it and who they can contact about understanding their rights. What options were considered or rejected making in this decision, and all records used.

By the district in reaching a decision. Also, the factors relevant to either the proposal or refuse refusal should be contained in this written prior notice as well. Now this gives the parents the opportunity especially if they disagree strongly with what the school is proposing or refusing to have the school’s position in writing, and therefore you know, with that documentation, if they were to pursue a due process resolution, they would have that permission or that position statement in writing in which they could use as they’re building their case and trying to negotiate a settlement.

Let’s talk about some of our options when it just doesn’t work. The first thing that you should do would be to follow the chain of command. Let others know what you are doing. Now following the chain of command, should always start at the most direct level, who is working directly with your child, that would be a teacher or for example a special education teacher. This is typically where you would start. You might want to have another IEP meeting. You might wanna write a letter of concern and have those be your talking points at the IEP meeting.

And you can use that to facilitate the communication and to try to work through some of the problems. If this is unsuccessful, always talk with your principal. Your principal can be an advocate to you as well, can attend the IEP meetings, and the principal is the local educational agent in charged of distributing funds, and can be an important member of the team. If this is unsuccessful and you have exhausted the options at the school level, you might want to consider contacting a special ed. director and letting this person know what your issues are.

And they can be of assistance too as well. But most concerns are handled by going up the chain of command. There are maybe times when communications becomes so impaired that an issue remains unresolved and early dispute resolution should be tried first if this is the case. Let’s talk a little bit about the importance of team and partnerships with those who work with our children. I’d like to ask a question to our group of parents here. Why is it important for parents and schools to work together as a team or as partners.

What benefit does everyone receive from this partnership Any ideas Linda! gtgt It’s easier to resolve an issue at the lowest level. It’s easier to talk to your classroom teacher and get the issue resolve right there than it is to go all the way to the state office of education with the special education director. gtgt Good. You get a quicker result that way, would you say Good. Any other ideas Yes. gtgt I think many times working as a team, each party, each the parent and the school would more strongly consider the child’s need first instead.

Of their own needs or their own wants. They would make the child be the focus of trying to plan what’s best in the IEP. gtgt Good, Thank you. Yes, Jodie did you have a comment gtgt I was just gonna say I feel that any time a group of people works toward a common goal, that goal is more easily achieved and the outcome is better. And in the instance of an IEP, the common goal would be the child’s need and so gtgt Yeah. gtgt everybody, the family, the school, the friends, the child,.

Everybody would benefit greater, one or the other. gtgt Good. I agree with that 100 percent. I feel like when the school and the team work together, it serves the child’s best interests which was stated by our parents here. Each member of the team has a valuable perspective and a unique perspective to offer and we need that input. Be open to the abuse and experiences of others. This is very important. And as a parent, don’t be afraid to bring your own experience, your own experience is very valuable as well.

Try to build on common interest that you have with everybody in the team. Be mindful not to belittle or to blame others because this can damage future relationships. Work as partners to solve problems. And by doing so, many of the following dispute resolution options that we’re going to be going over will become unnecessary. Okay. There are informal resolution options as well as formal options as well when we talk about dispute resolution. Let’s go over the informal options first. The first one being the negotiation in the chain of command which is what we just went over.

So, it’s important to remember that most concerns can be resolved at the school level by using good communication skills in both sides working together in that team relationship. An IEP coach, if you’re interested in this option, contact the Utah Parent Cente. This is a new program offered through our Center. This is where volunteer parents who also have children with disabilities receive a training about special education and how to work together as a team. And the IEP coaches support parents in the IEP meetings by offering suggestions and explaining how the IEP process works.

Parents ultimately remain the decision makers and the voice for the child. So the IEP coach is merely a support network for the parent. The parent still has the voice for the child and continues to be the advocate for the child, but it’s nice to have an extra level of support. An IEP facilitator is another option that parents have. It’s an informal option and it’s a free program offered through the State of Utah. Both the parent and the school must agree to have an IEP facilitator out there meeting.

To come and try to resolve issues. Typically this is used when the communication process has broken down and a facilitator attempts to open up those lines of communication by finding common interest between both parties. If you are interested in this option, you can contact the Utah Parent Center. We have access to the forms to initiate this process. You can also get a form from the Utah State Department of Education website. If you click on Special Education and Dispute Resolution, you’ll see the forms there available. You can print out the form.

You can also contact us and we can help you in filling out the form appropriately. So that’s another option to try and let’s go through some of the more formal options as well. There is mediation, the state complaint, due process hearing which includes a resolution meeting and also civil action. We’re gonna go through each of those individually. Let’s talk about the characteristics of mediation. Mediation is used to resolve disputes involving a written request for due process hearing. It is voluntary. It may not deny or delay parent rights to a due process hearing,.

And mediation can create a legally binding agreement if parties resolved the dispute. So this is when an impartial third party is used to facilitate communication between the parties and seeks again to define those common interests. This method works best when both parties are willing to compromise. The form to initiate a mediation can be found on the Utah State Office of Education website or by contacting the Utah Parent Center. It’s also important to know that mediation can also be used earlier on in the process currently. You don’t have to wait to file a due process hearing.

It can also be used when the a communication breakdown happen even earlier on in the process. So this was a recent change in the law. So mediation is made available pretty much whenever a parent feels like they would like to participate in this option and the school as well, you would need both the school and the parents to agree for this type of service. The state complaint, let’s go over the characteristics there. This is when an allegation that the federal or state law is not being followed.

A complaint must be filed in writing. It must allege a violation that occurred not more than one year prior to the date the complaint is received by the local educational agency. It must be investigated and resolved within 30 days, and that parties must receive a written decision. So an investigation would happen and then whoever is investigating would come up with the written decision on the matter. Now, there this is typically used again when there is a violation of the special education law. And some common reasons for filing a complaint could be the school would not assess.

Or refer a child to special education. The school does not follow a timeline for an assessment and a referral. The school doesn’t inform the parents of an IEP meeting, could be another reason or the school fails to implement the IEP. So these are all areas where there would be a violation of the procedural safeguards and the parents would have the option of a complaint. A due process hearing. This is a formal process where parties are generally represented by attorneys. The parent or the local educational agency may file a due process complaint.

On any matter related to the identification, evaluation or educational placement of a child with the disability or the provision of FAPE. The complaint must not have occurred more than 2 years ago. So those are the characteristics. But basically, a due process happens when there is a disagreement about some part of a child’s assessment, program or service. Due process should only be used as a last resort and typically is used only as a last resort. A parent or the school district may feel very strongly about an issue and the negotiation.

Or resolution has not been achieved. Some possible areas of disagreement between the school and the parent might be the assessment results and the eligibility could be a related services. They feel like they’re not getting enough speech therapy or something to that effect could be the placement of the child. So there are all areas where parents and school could disagree. Let’s talk about the resolution meeting in I’m sorry I’ve got to start over. Laughter That tricked me up. Let’s talk about the resolution meeting involved in a due process hearing.

Once a complaint is filed, both parties have 30 days to try and resolve issues either through mediation or a resolution meeting. If an agreement does not reach or both parties agree in writing to waive a resolution meeting and or mediation, a 45day timeline will begin for an impartial due process hearing with the hearing officer. So special education law gives parents and schools many opportunities to discuss concerns and to resolve issues. So these are all the different array of options available to parents to try to work through their differences together.

Now, this concludes our discussion on procedural safeguards. But if you’re still left with questions or concerns, please contact the Utah Parent Center for an individualized consultation with you and your child and we can, again, go over the procedural safeguards and talk about how they apply to your child in their individualized situations. Now, those of you parents who are here, what does IEP stand for Anyone know gtgt Individualized Education Program. gtgt That’s right, it does. But now that you’ve gone through this training, I hope that you are informed effective parents.

And I want to remind you that the IEP is not etched in stone, it can be changed at any time. You don’t have to wait till that annual review. If you’re having problems, try to solve them early on in the process. Don’t wait, let them escalate. Where there are problems with communication, develop those communication skills and work together with your teachers as a team to try to work through problems before they escalate. Please contact us at the Utah Parent Center. This is our contact information, our phone number, our website.

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