IEP Special Education Chain of Command San Jose
Or, how to request the school implement your child’s IEP, or to complain when needed.
Our parental roles change when schools do not implement our child’s individualized education plan (IEP)>
When your child’s individualized education plan is going well, your role is a bit more limited than when it does not.
While being a parent is rarely easy, sometimes we can almost relax, knowing things are running smoothly. Your child’s education can be going along as it should be. Life is good, the student has a great teacher, and seems to be making progress. Suddenly, there is a bump. Whether it is some aspect of the IEP that is not being followed, staffing problems, a challenge with the child’s teacher, or something else, there are some steps to follow in working to get it resolved.
Chain of Command
Like any organization, there is a hierarchy. The teacher is the person who works the most closely with your child, and where you should start (with a few exceptions listed below).
If you have read our previous blog posts, you know Special Education Rule Number 1 is always write it down. We recommend emailing the teacher, laying out the problem clearly. Always write the email as though the teacher has the best of intentions toward your student. If there is no response, email again 2 days later,, asking about the first email.
If the matter is urgent, ask them to acknowledge receipt of the email. Include a sentence telling them you will be following up at a specific date and time if you do not hear back from them before that date and time, email again. Include the original email and asking the teacher (still nicely) if they have seen the previous email.
This advice does not apply when the problem is a series of substitute teachers, or you suspect your child is being harmed. Bypass the teacher and go directly to the next step. Again, do it in writing, indicate urgency, copy several people listed below, and set a very short timeline for a response.
The Next Step
If that does not work, we then escalate to the student’s case manager and/or the school Principal. You will know who are the appropriate choices from the IEP meetings you have attended. If only the case manager usually attends, start there. If they both regularly attend, email both of them.
When that has not been effective, email the Superintendent. Many parents consider contacting the School Board. They are typically an advisory committee, and will often not be able to do much to helpful.
If going through the school’s chain of command has not worked, the next step is a compliance complaint with the State of California.
As parents, we understand, As experienced and trained advocates, we can help.
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