ESE603: Law and Ethics in Special Education
When students have a disability they have the right to receive an appropriate education as well as receive an IEP if their evaluation deems necessary. Sometimes we focus solely on the student’s needs, but the parent’s needs are equally as important. Learning that their child has a disability can be quite overwhelming and it is essential that they understand their rights under the IDEA. “In order to help achieve the main goal of the IDEA, providing a free appropriate public education to all students with disabilities, Congress included significant parental rights in the statue so that parents could advocate on behalf of their children” (Osborne & Russo, 2014, Chapter 4.1, para. 1). Parents should know that the document that contains their rights is called the Parent’s Bill of Rights. They should be provided with a copy and it should be explained to them in detail what the document means. The Parent’s Bill of Rights contain ten rights and we are here to explain them to Mr. and Mrs. Marrow to better help them understand the purpose, how it impacts her and her husband, and how it will influence Destini’s education.
Parents’ Bill of Rights
Parents often do not understand notices provided by the school regarding their child’s Individualized Education Plan, meeting, or purpose of the required documents. It is the teachers job to explain to the parents their rights in detail. There are ten rights listed under the Parents’ Bill of Rights. I will go over each one so that Mr. and Mrs. Marrow will have a better understanding. The first right that you as parents have is the right to attend Destini’s IEP and support her interests. You know your child the best and can provide valuable information about how your child learns best. The second right is that parents can have an expert present at the IEP meeting so that they can explain anything that you may not understand. The expert has both Destini and the parents interest at heart. They attend the meeting to ensure that Destini is provided with the best services that gives her the opportunity to be successful in the classroom alongside her non-disabled peers. Third right is you have the right as parents to receive a copy of Destini’s evaluation, disagree, or request another evaluation from an outside source of your choice at the public’s expense. The fourth right is you are allowed to have a written report as part of Destini’s evaluation process. Another right as a parent is that you can have access to review Destini’s records and be provided with a copy of the IEP. The sixth right gives you the opportunity to disagree with the IEP, file a complaint with the school, request mediation or due process hearing. The seventh right allows you to participate in the review of the IEP and lets you change any part of the IEP. You will also have the right to receive a written notice before any change can be made to Destini’s IEP. The eighth right allows your child to be placed in the least restrictive environment in the general education classroom. The ninth right you have as a parent is to request any accommodations needed to effectively communicate when you speak a non-English language. The tenth and last right as a parent is to have a free appropriate public education for your child that will be provided with an IEP that is focused toward meeting her individual needs (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 2010). If you are still unsure of what your rights as parents are the website provided lists the ten rights in more detail: https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/your-childs-rights/basics-about-childs-rights/10-key-procedural-safeguards-in-idea.
Parents Right to Participate in IEP
According to Logsdon (2018), “under the IDEA a child’s parents hold the child’s educational rights. Parents keep those rights until the child reaches the age of majority based on state’s regulations, parents’ or guardians are terminated through a court proceeding such as parent mental incompetence, child abuse, neglect, and abandonment, or one parent is awarded educational decision-making rights in a divorce” (para. 3). Parents also have the right to request an evaluation if they suspect their child has a disability, they must provide the school with a written notice requesting an evaluation be made (New Jersey Department of Education, 2016, para. 3). It is the school who is held responsible for making sure that parents understand their rights. Parents play a major role in the IEP meeting. They know their child and knows how she learns best. They know their interests and strengths and weaknesses. You are encouraged to be active participants in the meetings. “IDEA lists parents first on the list of required IEP team members” (Stanberry, 2019). As Stanberry states, “You may not be an expert in special education, but you are an expert about your child” (2019, para 5). You have the right to be involved in her education. Changes cannot be made with making you aware and you have the right to dispute any changes being made. Working in collaboration with the rest of the team is crucial to Destini’s success. You are the best advocate for Destini’s education and IDEA allows you to have those rights that will help her reach her full potential.
Destini has a disability that affects her reading comprehension; however, under IDEA she has the right to a free appropriate public education that allows her to be placed in the least restrictive environment among her non-disabled peers. FAPE also provides Destini with the appropriate services needed to help her reach her goals. The services are based on her IEP and are tailored to her specific needs. Accommodations may need to be made in order for Destini to receive the appropriate education possible. She may require having extra time to complete classwork or tests, need assistive technology that will help her better grasp reading comprehension, or she may need one-on-one assistance. These rights are also available to you Mr. and Mrs. Marrow, so you can confirm that Destini is receiving the appropriate services needed.
There are multiple timelines for certain requests. If you request to evaluate or review any educational documents “the participating agency must comply with your request without unnecessary delay and before any meeting regarding an individualized education program (IEP), or any impartial due process hearing (including a resolution meeting or a hearing regarding discipline), and in no case more than 45 calendar days after you have made a request” (MDESE, 2009, p. 7). If you file a complaint, the school has 60 days to follow up (MDESE, 2009, p.10). Your school district must obtain your informed consent before providing special education and related services to your child for the ﬁrst time (MDESE, 2009, p. 3). If a referral is made and you agree then within 20 calendar days, the school must hold a meeting to discuss evaluation proceedings (NJDOE, 2016, p.1).
In conclusion, under IDEA parents have rights to their child’s education. The Parent’s Bill of Rights entails ten rights that allow them to be involved, make changes, and voice their concerns so that they ensure that their child is receiving the appropriate services needed. The rights are beneficial for all members of the team. Our main goal is make sure that Destini reaches her goals in her IEP and is successful in and outside the classroom.
Logsdon, A. (2018). Learn About Special Education IDEA Parent Rights. In VeryWellFamily. Retrieved from https://www.verywellfamily.com/what-are-special-education-parent-rights-2162063.
New Jersey Department of Education. (2016). Parental rights in special education. Retrieved from http://www.state.nj.us/education/specialed/form/prise/prise.pdf.
Osborne, A. G., & Russo, C. J. (2014). Special education and the law: A guide for practitioners (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Parents’ Bill of Rights. (2010). In Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Retrieved from https://dese.mo.gov/sites/default/files/PBR-English.pdf.
Partners for Student Success. (2009). Procedural safeguards for children and parents. Retrieved from https://www.ssdmo.org/public_notices/safeguards.html.
Stanberry, K. (2019). Playing a Role in the IEP Process. In Understood. Retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/special-services/ieps/playing-a-role-in-the-iep-process.