Escalation Strategies IEP Special Ed Santa Cruz
Or Now What Do I Do?
You have worked hard to get an appropriate IEP in place for your child. It meets your student’s needs, and covers all the bases.You relax, ever so slightly, hoping the next school year goes as planned.
This can happen, sometimes many years in a row. Families feel their child’s needs are being met, the student is learning, and everyone is content.
When It Is Not Working
Other families have different experiences. Their child is denied services, the classroom teacher is a series of substitutes, or the school is not fully implementing their child’s IEP. Many parents become frustrated, ask the school for help resolving the problem, and are unsuccessful. After trying to work with their child’s school, parents then decide they need to escalate the discussion.
What escalation strategies can you use?
When you reach a point where the school has made a decision you cannot accept, or is not implementing the IEP (a legal contract), there are two routes open to you. They are due process and compliance complaint. Each has a specific purpose. More on that below.
Before pursuing either, try to work collaboratively with your child’s IEP team. Especially when the school is not implementing your child’s IEP, start with the teacher and work your way up the school team. See our blog post on how to do that here: http://aspireadvocacy.com/2017/08/08/iep-special-education-chain-of-command-san-jose/
When do I file due process, and when do I file a compliance complaint?
When things are not working, many parents wonder if they should sue the school. If you are unable to agree on IEP items including qualifying criteria, placement, supports, services, then due process is the appropriate route. It also means you need to consult with an attorney.
At the point where you or your child’s school district files due process, the school WILL have an attorney. When Susie and Leigh went through due process for their children,, they were surprised by how quickly things escalated. Be prepared.
We have heard a few advocates say they can file due process and argue on parents’ behalf. We do not recommend this. If you hire an attorney and win, the school is required to pay your attorney’s fees. If you hire an advocate and win, the school does not have to pay your advocate’s fees. Advocates have a valuable role in special education. Leigh and Susie do not believe that going to due process against a school district’s attorneys is one of them.
When your child has an IEP in place and the school is not implementing part or all of the IEP, then a compliance complaint is simple and effective. Here is a link to the California Department of Education’s compliance complaint process:http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/qa/cmplntproc.asp. Fill out their form or write up your own, and attach a copy of your student’s IEP. The state will call you, and will also speak to the school. If they agree with you, then the school must fix it, and often provide services that they missed during the time covered in your complaint. We have had many parents who were initially reluctant to file a complaint. Once they realized how easy and effective it was, they wondered why they had waited so long.
As parents, we understand, As experienced and trained advocates, we can help.
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