There are common issues that arise during certain stages of the Special Education process. The problem can occur as early as the evaluation process, during the IEP process, or during the course of the education process. These conflicts generally occur between parents and the school district/team. Parents who knowledgeably and diligently advocate for their children should be able to work with the school district to resolve these issues. However, at times when the parties simply cannot come to an acceptable agreement, further legal action may be necessary. Some common areas of contention in the special education process are the following:
1) Eligibility- you or your child’s doctor suspects a disability is causing educational problems, but after evaluations the school does not find the child eligible for special education. Your child doesn’t meet the minimum formulaic requirements.
What can you do? Plan additional evaluations of your child by independent evaluators.
2) Inappropriate IEP- the school agrees an IEP is necessary, but does not personalize the plan to meet all of your child’s needs.
What can you do? Provide data and evidence based on test scores, evaluations, benchmarks, and studies to advocate for the appropriate services. Or consider an attorney to advocate on your child’s behalf at IEP meetings.
3) IEP Ignored- the school has an IEP in place outlining exactly what is needed and what services are to be provided, but the school consistently fails to provide these agreed upon services.
What can you do? Bring it to the attention of the district, in writing. If the issue is not addressed or resolved, consider filing a complaint investigation online with the NJ Department of Education. Or consider an attorney to file the complaint on your behalf.
4) Discipline- your child has behavior problems, perhaps caused by the disability. But the school disciplines your child’s behavior by withholding school- suspension, expulsion.
What can you do? Request a meeting with the district to address your concerns. Express that the school is in violation of their IEP and educational requirements by denying the child of a free appropriate public education. If no resolution, consider an attorney to advocate on your child’s behalf.