The Back Bone of Special Education

The Education for all Handicapped Act and latter Individuals with Disabilities Education Act(IDEA) creates six federal rules governing school actions regarding special education.

These rules are also parent and child rights!

  • Zero reject
    kids have a right to be in school, suspension is a legal matter. If your special education child is suspended, there are specific guide lines for how often and the duration of suspensions. Too many suspensions and the school has functionally excluded the student from education and violated federal law. Zero reject means no student gets reject because of a disability.
    If your child is informally sent home in addition to suspensions, your child is being functionally excluded from school. Functionally excluding a child from school is not legal and we have cases where children are functionally excluded from school every year. All children have the right to be in school and have a meaningful education.
  • Non-discriminatory evaluations
    Court cases have proved schools guilty of racial biases when diagnosing children with disabilities. Therefore, parents have a right to have the child independently assessed for a disability by a non-public school doctor, at school expense. Also, parents can disagree with a school evaluation and demand an independent evaluation, even after the school has evaluated a child.
  • Special education students have the right to an appropriate and individualized education
    The education plan for a child must be based on that child's individual needs not district funding problems. If the child is placed in a class that the parent doesn't think that is educationally beneficial to the child, and the parent can justify why the class is not beneficial, the parent not only has a right but a legal avenue for disputing school placement.
    Often schools do not take parent concerns seriously because parents are not credentialed professionals but the federal law doesn't discriminate when establishing rights. Parents have the same participation rights in decision making as school officials.
  • A Special education placement must be in the least restrictive environment. A student can no be separated from the main stream environment without first trying to educate the child with non-disabled peers. The least restrictive environment is a tricky issue because sometimes a student with a behavior problem could benefit from a short-term placement in a restricted non-public school setting, at public school expense.
  • Parents and children have a right to procedural due process. If a parent does not agree with the school actions, the parent has a right to file a complain with the state against the district, a complaint with the district against any school site employee, and the parent has a right to due process. If the parent files a legal case against the school and wins, the school must pay the attorney fees.
    Some recent legal debates claim that parents can receive monetary damages for school imposed expenses and suffering.
  • Parental participation is a federal right. Parents are equal decision making partners with school officials. Federal law says that parents are deemed the best advocate for the child because schools are predisposed to make educational decisions for a child based upon organizational concerns and not based upon the individual needs of the school. Therefore, parents are the best people to make sure school act in accordance with federal law. 

Research shows that In practice, school officials treat parents as if they should be passive recipients of professional advise and do not adhere to the law. 

Parents must overcome intimidation from officials and resist the pressure to passively accept school offers made for the child that the parent deems offer unacceptable.
  • A NEW 2004 RIGHT FOR CHILDREN:PROHIBITION OF MANDATORY MEDICATION. Your child does not have to take Ritalin or other drugs to manage behavior in order to attend school. No school can deny your child entry to school because you refuse to medicate your child with psychostimulant or other behavioral control drugs.