What you need to know about the law and your rights when seeking special education for your child.
Ultimately, if you are unable to come to an agreement in the IEP meeting, you can request mediation, additional testing by an independent evaluator or due process. You can also file a complaint with the state education agency and the Office of Civil Rights.
Many parents feel intimidated by this process and if the school is not cooperative tend to easily back down. That is what the school hopes for if they are not willing to provide the necessary support for your child. It is up to you to hold them accountable and the law will support you if you do it correctly. Each state also has a federally funded agency that provides education and advocacy for parents. If you need additional information or support, look up your local state agency and contact them.
Remember that information is power; as a parent, you must know the laws and what your rights are. A great resource for this is www.wrightslaw.com. This website is packed full of information that can assist you through the process.
Ultimately, as a result of the battle our family went through, I assisted in the writing and advocacy of legislation in the state of NC that allows school choice for special needs children. This piece of legislation was started in 2006 and was finally signed into law the summer of 2011. House Bill 344 provides options for families who have a child with special needs. If you are interested in learning more or to see if such legislation exists in your state, you can go to the The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. In the state of NC, the Freidman Foundation, along with Parents for Educational Freedom, worked tirelessly until this legislation passed. They continue to advocate for a free and appropriate public education for every child.
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