Friday, December 13, 2019


Predetermination is a procedural violation that deprives a student of a FAPE in those instances in which the school has made decisions placement without parental involvement.  Under the IDEA, parents of a child with a disability must be afforded an opportunity to participate in meetings with respect to the identification, assessment, educational placement, and provision of a FAPE to their child.  The IDEA requires that parents be members of any group that makes decision about the educational placement of a child. 34 C.F.R. § 300.327 (“each public agency must ensure that the parents of each child with a disability are members of any group that makes decisions on the educational placement of their child.”) and 34 C.F.R. § 300.501(c)(1) (“Each public agency must ensure that a parent of each child with a disability is a member of any group that makes decisions on the educational placement of the parent's child.”). Thus, all decisions are to be decided at MET meetings (for eligibility) and IEP meetings (for goals, services and supports, accommodations, placement, etc.). That means, at an IEP team meeting, all members of the team must have an open-mind about all decisions. A school must fairly and honestly consider the views of parents expressed in an IEP meeting.  While school officials may discuss a child's programming in advance of the IEP meeting, they may not arrive at an IEP meeting with a "take it or leave it" attitude, having already decided on the program to be offered.  A school that predetermines the child's program and does not consider the parents' requests with an open mind has denied the parents' right to participate in the IEP process.
To fulfill the goal of parental participation in the IEP process, a school is required to conduct a meaningful IEP meeting.  A parent has meaningfully participated in the development of an IEP when he or she is informed of their child's problems, attends the IEP meeting, expresses their disagreement regarding the IEP team's conclusion, and requests revisions in the IEP.  A school violates IDEA procedures if it independently develops an IEP, without meaningful parental participation, and then simply presents the IEP to the parent for ratification. However, an IEP need not conform to a parent's wishes in order to be sufficient or appropriate.  Rather, the school must be able to show that it provided parents with the opportunity to participate and that it considered the parents requests with an open-mind.

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