Sunday, November 11, 2012

Procedural Safeguards - What are they? What rights do you have?

Parents and legal guardians of a child with disabilities have certain rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act 2004 ("IDEA") as well as under Section 504.  These rights are embodied in the Procedural Safeguards notice (PSN) that all of you reading this Blog probably have received.  It is the booklet that is presented to you at almost every IEP meeting.  The IDEA requires school districts and charter schools to provide parents and legal guardians notice of the Procedural Safeguards once a year, and additionally:  upon initial referral, upon request for evaluation, upon the filing of a due process hearing complaint, and upon request by a parent or legal guardian.  You are urged to read the booklet.  Despite its seeming complexity, read it.  Knowledge is power.  You do everything to advocate for your child, and this is one more powerful tool to inform you of your rights to secure a Free and Appropriate Public Education for your child with a disability. The procedural safeguards informs you of  rights you have as a parent or legal guardian of a child with a disability, including:
  • your right to access your child's education records
  • your right to participate in groups and meetings where decisions are made about your child’s education
  • your right to receive prior written notice (PWN)
  • your right to independent educational evaluations (IEEs)
  • your right to resolve disputes, including the time period in which to file a complaint (one year for State complaints, two years for due process complaint, 180 days for OCR complaints)
  • your right to mediation
  • your child's placement during the pendency of any due process complaint
  • the procedures if your child is subject to placement in an interim alternative educational setting
  • your notice requirement if you intend to unilaterally place your child in a private school at public expense
  • your right to civil actions, including the time period in which to file those actions
  • your right to attorneys' fees.
This list is not inclusive of all your rights, and there are certain specific steps you must follow for relief in certain circumstances. 
Procedural Safeguards, 34 C.F.R. 300.504.

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