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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Working Around School District “Policies” That Disrupt the IEP Process

From Moor Law's Special Education Blog

By Michelle Moor, Esq.
May 16, 2013

"... if a student needs a particular type of service, accommodation, support, or even another type of placement, in order to receive a free appropriate public education, then the school district must provide it regardless of their 'policy'.”

I frequently hear from parents who are unsure whether their child’s school district can legally have a “policy” against providing certain kinds of services, supports, or accommodations to kids with special needs.

Usually this question arises after a parent has attended a Team meeting and requested that their child receive a specific type of support (e.g., a 1:1 aide, ABA services, specialized reading instruction, access to sensory tools, use of a laptop, etc.).

In response to the request, the parent is told by the school district that the student is not entitled to receive the requested support because:
  • “We don’t do that here.” 
  • “It’s against district policy.”
  • “No student in the district gets that kind of support.”
  • “If your child gets this service, we’ll have to provide it to other students too.”

The problem with this kind of blanket denial approach by a school district is that it contravenes one of the most important aspects of the IDEA – namely that the Team is supposed to build an IEP around each student’s unique learning needs, not around the resources of the district.

IEP planning should be a highly individualized process that is designed to address each student’s particular needs.

So, the bottom line is that if a student needs a particular type of service, accommodation, support, or even another type of placement, in order to receive a free appropriate public education, then the school district must provide it regardless of what their “policy” may be.

.......................................................................

Michelle Moor is a special education attorney in private practice in Massachusetts.

1 comment:

  1. thank you so much for this article. i will keep sharing it with all as the school many times over has said exactly what their policies are which have not included a specialized plan yet! i am in iowa. my son is 16 and suffers from closed head injury symptoms. everyone was more than willing to suggest meds such as prozac to mask the problem and i am now appealing a denial of care complaint for not drugging my child with "medication" after school didnt know where they would find funds for rehab counseling or therapies and recommended assistive technology programs were not accepted as part of their education program. just thought i would share a bit of the horrors that take place when families attempt to get these services. please keep fighting for kids rights to education. my son after injury with their plan earned just a quarter credit, this year zero credits using their plan so far. we are still attempting to get a plan that meets his needs

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