If you agree with an IEP except for one service/section, there should be a place on the signature page of the document that states the following: "I give consent for special education and related service specified in the IEP except for_____________." Or, at least something similar to that statement. That blank allows you to fill in what you do not agree with...and, thus, the rest of services should continue. For the portion that is missing, you can file due process. I live in Ohio, and we are required to have this kind of statement on the signature page so that the parents can keep the IEP in effect - but "mediate" something that they disagree about if they believe it to be necessary.
An IEP is only active for one academic calendar year - unless the entire team agrees to extend it for other reasons. For a school to continue an IEP from the previous year - after a parent disagrees with the newly written IEP - it would be considered "out-of-compliance." I have read about the "stay put" clause - and, although it appears to hold the previous years goals - it still does not appear to be a benefit to the child or parents. All the new goals you do agree with and are appropriate for your child's needs are not implemented with "stay put". It is rather convoluted and I need to read and study it further myself because I do not fully understand it, or the implications it would have on the you, your son, and the school.
Also, you might want to take note of this statement:
"Document any failure to implement the IEP once the meeting has occurred. In the case of disagreement, the placement/eligibility may be frozen for 14 days to allow the parents time to request a due process hearing." I found this statement when I googled IEPs being "fozen" as you stated. It was for the state of Tennessee, but that made me suspicious that other states may have this clause as well. It did not seem advantageous to the child or the parents to have services "frozen" while they seek due process/mediation. My inclination would be to contact your state board of education to get specifics on this matter. In Ohio we simply go to Ohio.gov... and, there are links to education - then special education. Try typing in the name of your state.gov... and, take a look at the site.
However, you should have been given a Parental Rights packet at the IEP meeting, or had it mailed to you prior to the meeting. That should have a form in it that you can fill out to file for due process... mediation is the first step in due process. It would likely be in the back of the booklet.
Specifially in regard to the "freezing" of an IEP, your best bet would be to contact the board of education in your state. You could look on your mediation/due process form...there should be a contact number and address for you to actually speak to someone about your rights regarding your son's IEP on that form.
I live in Ohio... so, there may be some differences in my state versus yours... but, for the most part...these are Federal Laws that have to be implemented by the states.
I hope this is of help to you. Please try to be cool headed... if you do go to mediation. It would be difficult on your relationship with some or all members of the team if they have legitimate reasons educationally for discontinuing the services you stated that are a part of your son's needs. School systems are only required to provide services that help a student access curriculum at a passing level...
There are legal cases on the books about this kind of thing...
In one case...(I cannot recall the name of the case) a deaf student was able to perform on an average-to-above average level without the use of an interpreter. Her parents insisted that she get the services (whether she really needed them or not) and took it to court. The judge ruled in favor of the school, and stated it was not the school's responsibility to help that child achieve to his/her maximum ability. Because the girl was still able to keep her grades at average levels without it.
In addition, a recent case: Schaeffer vs. Weast - was a disappointment to parents - because parents are now required to show evidence (burden of proof) to prove that an IEP would not be effective for a child. See: www.autismspeaks.org/inthenews...
If I were you I would be very careful to try to keep what services you can for your son and mediate what you disagree with on the IEP. Especially since your son has Autism - and routine is so important for him - disrupting him as little as possible is best for you and your child.
Take a look at this site: wrightslaw.com
That site is excellent in helping parents to understand their rights in the IEP process... I really like it. If they have reps at this site that can advise you... I would recommend you speak with them.
You have many rights as parent of a child with a disability... you are a member of the IEP team...and, your vote counts!
That's probably not legal for them to freeze services- they should follow the previously signed IEP- but different states may operate differently and it may depend on your son's particular condition.
I suggest that you get a copy of your parental rights and read them, cover to cover, so you know exactly what you're dealing with. Make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to be in the IEP that is missing or what you want to be removed and why. Make reference to the parental rights if you can. You may need to go to arbitration to resolve your differences. If so, be well-informed and confident!
You casn call your son's case manager and request a meeting, then ask him to work together with you on a new IEP that you all can agree to. Often, the funding for something gets cut and teh regulations change, a case manager can explain this to you and any alternatives. Help the case manager help you.
No, they cannot freeze services. Call the school's principal/superintendent (or both is better!) and request a mediator. Legally, the school system MUST provide an unbiased (CANNOT be employed by the school system) mediator at THEIR expense. The mediator will meet with both sides and help you reach an agreement regarding services and what is to be written in the IEP. When you call to request a mediator, follow this up in writing. Documentation is essential.
Meanwhile, don't bother with the principal. Make a call directly to the school system's superintendent and explain they have froze services as well as you want a mediator. The schools hate the "M word" and will usually scramble to avoid the cost.
Best wishes and keep the faith!
In my state, if you don't sign the current IEP,the previous one must be followed. I would call your Special Ed. Director.If you know the name of a good education lawyer in your area, let the Director know you are prepared to get him/her involved.
Demand a review. And fight like hell.
What does freeze his services mean? What is suppose to legally take place is the services from the last agreed upon IEP are in effect this is called "stay put". Legally you should make formal request for stay put. However in stay put the school is only responsible for goals etc. from the previous IEP so if in the new IEP the team presented new goals or any kind of services those will not go into effect either. You can also initial parts of the IEP.. if there are services offered you wanted to begin for example, mainstreaming or APE was offered at the current IEP you can start those services by initialing only the parts you agree with otherwise in stay put you only get services, goals etc. from the last signed IEP. As mentioned if the school will usually try to contact you to come up with a compromise, if none is reached at that point someone should (yourself or the district) file for due process. This should be explained in your copy of your rights. A great resource is www.wrightslaw.com
You are correct in that the existing IEP should be in place. What I would do is get an advocate and go to the state. We did this with my son (also autistic) because they were not following his IEP. They sent someone in to investigate. So, stick to your guns you are in the right.
In my state the parent has the finale say. The school must follow what you say. I would contact the Sp. Ed. Director at the Central Office and if that didn't help I'd contact someone at the state department. You can always get a lawyer and I wouldn't hesitate if my child wasn't receiving needed services.
The school can not deny services to your son while an IEP is undergoing reveiw. Generally, the old IEP will stand until the new one is in place, but there is a definite time limit within witch resolution must occur. Check your copy of your parent rights to get the time line worked out. Contact the special ed office of your district and file a complaint immediately. Demand another meeting with the district supervisor present, as well as a mediator. Many districts have offices that provide parents with support and assitance in situations like this by providing a parent advocate...look into that as well.
Budget is often a reason for changes in IEPs. Parents hate hearing it...we want our kids to get all the services they possibly can. Unfortunately, more and more schools are working with less and less money and the only options left are to cut services. If this is the case, blaming the school or the prinicpal is misplaced...the district made these decisions and that is where to focus your complaints and efforts.
In my state signing an IEP mearly says "I attended" not I agree...copy of parent's rights should have names and numbers. Follow up as other writers suggest.
'prior written notice' is a VERY important part of the special ed process. Write to district sped director requesting prior written notice for taking his services away. They have to have LEGAL reasons for doing this, and just one person not seeing the need for it is NOT a legal reason.
WHen you write and ask for this PWN, they should backpeddle and give services back.
THEY are supose to pay for ALL services, not have SARC to do it.
His services are NOT frozen. What happens is, the whatever is on the last agreed on IEP plan is what is to be done.
Since you disagree with and not sign this IEP plan, it is NOT to be implemented. But, the previous IEP before this meeting took place IS suppose to be done.
Write and request a copy of the policy that states the services are frozen when parent doesnt agree and/or sign.
THere is none!
Also write and request PWN on 'freezing' services. I would LOVE to see their LEGAL reason for this one!! LOL
Please go to www.schwablearning.org and sign up for free to post on their parent to parent message board. You'll get lots of help there!!
Oh yea, PLEASE write a 'letter of understanding' stating everything that has happened. Send it to principal, district sped director and superintendent. Keep a copy for your self.
All this needs to be put in writing so they can't come back and say 'we didn't do that' or 'we didn't say that'.
Let's make this simple. You are but one member of the team. Whether or not you sign makes no difference. All you have to do is call them and say you want to start a due process proceeding. They hate that. Your parent's rights booklet will tell you how to do it.
Once you do this, there is a "Stay Put" clause that allows your child to continue receiving their services. You may want to have your child privately tested in the area they have denied. You must have some evidence to bring to the hearing.
Look for "Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child" by Nolo press (ISBN:1413305105), it has all the laws explained in plain english and all the necessary forms in the back of the book. The best thing you can do now is follow the advice in the previos entries and keep at it! Your son deserves all the services you think he needs, and you are his best advocate. Keep fighting for his rights!
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