Parents, have you scheduled your child’s annual Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting?
One of the most important rights the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) gives parents the right to be a part of the team. Remember what it was like growing up? Some kids and maybe yourself were picked last for a team. Others were left out completely never part of a team. When it comes to your child’s IEP team, Federal law is on your side saying you cannot be left out.
A recent case out of Hawaii, Doug C. v. State of Hawaii Dept of Educ., held that a child was denied a free appropriate public education (FAPE) because the IEP team held the child’s annual IEP meeting without the parent.
In this case, the child’s father, Doug C., asked to reschedule the IEP meeting because he was ill and unable to attend. The meeting had been rescheduled twice, and the deadline for the meeting was fast approaching. The IEP team held a meeting without Doug C. and voted to change the child’s school placement. Doug C. challenged the IEP team’s failure to include him in the meeting. In its opinion, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals focused on the IDEA’s emphasis on parental participation.
The court quoted a Supreme Court case, saying “’parental participation safeguards are among the MOST important procedural safeguards’ in the IDEA and ‘violations that interfere with parental participation in the IEP formulation process undermine the very essence of the IDEA.”
Parents must take an active role in your child’s IEP. Be proactive in scheduling the IEP meeting with the school. Come to the table with input and ideas about how to improve your child’s education. The IDEA places parents in a position of high regard and assumes the parents, are most knowledgeable about the child’s needs.
Parents have tremendous influence in reference to the contents of the IEP. Take advantage of this fact, don’t sit back and let the “professionals” tell you what and how your child should be doing in school. You understand your child’s disability best; use that understanding to make your child’s education better.
Working with the professional members of your child’s IEP team can often be emotional and difficult. Our firm works with parents and children in these situations. Your child deserves to benefit from his or her education; we can help. Contact us for more information regarding special education law advocacy. Please call us at 303-837-9284 or Email Us
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