to Disagree with the IEP Team
Without Starting World War III
parents have questions about what to do when they are presented with
an IEP that is not appropriate for their child.
You should advise the IEP team that you don’t think the IEP is appropriate,
that it does not provide your child with enough help or the right kind
of help. You should use facts to support your position (i.e.,
facts from an evaluation of your child from a private sector evaluator,
graphs of your child's test scores).
Be polite but firm.
Tip: Think how Miss Manners handles difficult situations and
use this idea to guide you.
Consent to Implement Inappropriate IEP
the team asks you to sign consent to the IEP, pick up a ball point pen
and put the IEP on a hard table top. Write this statement on the IEP:
"I consent to this IEP being implemented but I object to it for the
reasons stated during the meeting."
Sign your name.
be surprised if someone gets upset and claims that you are not allowed
to write on the IEP because it is a legal document. This is not true
- you can write on your child's IEP (although the person who objects
may not know this).
You are a member of the team and a participant in the IEP process. The
law requires you to make your objections clear. The IEP is the best
document to use when you need to make your objections clear.
tries to stop you, continue to write. If someone tries to pull the IEP
out of your hands, press down hard with your ballpoint pen and continue
to write. If someone yanks the document away from you, continue to write
as the IEP tears.
Stay calm. Take your copy of the IEP (whatever is left), stand, say
"Thank you. I guess this meeting is over." Extend your hand to shake
theirs. Pick up your tape recorder and leave.
The IEP team has a problem. You have advised them in writing that their
proposed program is not appropriate for your child. You also consented
to their implementing the program so they should implement it.
to Tape-record Meetings - and Why
expect a dispute or disagreement, you should tape record meetings. The
recorder should be out in the open. For advice about how to tape-record
meetings, read the chapter about "Surviving School Meetings"
in From Emotions
to Advocacy, 2nd Edition.
Thank You Letter
When you get home, write a nice thank you letter to the head or leader
of the IEP team. (See chapters about Letter Writing in From
Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition Re-state your position: You consented to the school implementing the
IEP because something is better than nothing. You believe that an inadequate
program is better than no program. However, you believe the proposed
program is not appropriate for your child. Because something is better
than nothing, you expect the district to implement the program -- even
though Mr. Jones ripped the IEP document.
After you mail this letter, transcribe your tape of the IEP meeting.
circumstances, the district will want to avoid a due process hearing.
of Adverse Assumptions
Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition, you learn the Rules of Adverse Assumptions.
You should assume that:
* A hearing
will be necessary to resolve a problem,
* All school
staff will testify against you,
* School staff's recollections of the facts will be completely different
from yours; and, most important,
* You cannot testify!
If you cannot testify, how can you tell your story? You tell your story
with the tape, transcript of the meeting, your letter, and the ripped
IEP. Good evidence.
This happened in
more than one of my cases. In one case, the special ed supervisor yelled
that the IEP was a "legal document," the parent was not allowed
to write on it, then ripped the IEP when the parent tried to write her
objections on the IEP document.
That case settled quickly.
These are good strategies to use if you disagree with an IEP team and
are dealing with a bully.