parents must advise the IEP team that they are rejecting the proposed
IEP and state “their concerns and their intent to enroll their
child in a private school at public expense.”
BUSINESS DAYS before removing the child from the public school,
the parent must give the school WRITTEN NOTICE of “their intent
to enroll the child in a private school at public expense.”
parents don’t take these steps, they may lose their right to
reimbursement for the private placement – even if the public
school placement was inappropriate. School districts are using
this new requirement as a tactic to avoid reimbursing parents
for private placements. Do you know the answers to these questions?
does the clock begin to run on the parental notice requirement?
What triggers the 10-day notice requirement? Does the clock begin
to run when parents apply to a private school? Or when parents
investigate private schools? Does the clock begin to run when
parents submit an application to a private school? Or, when parents
pay a deposit? Does the clock begin to run when the child is accepted
at the private school? Does the clock begin to run when the child
is removed or withdrawn from the public school program?
happens when a state statute conflicts with a federal statute
like the IDEA? Which statute controls? Why? What is the supremacy
clause? A new case from Maryland gives answers to these questions.
New Case! Sarah M. V. Weast
(S. D. MD. 2000)
July 28, a Maryland court issued a decision in Sarah
M. v. Weast. Here is a summary of the facts in this
In SARAH M., the parents of a child with multiple disabilities
were dissatisfied with their daughter’s lack of progress in her
special education program. Results of an independent evaluation
convinced the parents that Sarah needed more intensive services
than she was receiving in the public school program. The evaluator
suggested two courses of action. The parents should continue to
work with the IEP team in an effort to get an appropriate program
for Sarah. The parents should also look into placing Sarah in
a private school for children with disabilities. The parents followed
May, after investigating private schools in their area, the parents
reserved a spot for the following school year. To keep their options
open, the parents continued to negotiate for more intensive services
with the IEP team. On July 8, after the school year ended, the
parents wrote a letter and advised the school of their “intention
to enroll Sarah in a private school at public expense beginning
The school’s position was that the parents “removed” Sarah from
school in May, when they reserved a spot for her at the private
school. The school claimed that they were “off the hook” because
the parents didn’t give notice 10 days before they applied to
the private school.
parents’ position was that since Sarah attended public school
until the school year ended in June, she was obviously not “removed”
from the public school program in May. The parents claimed that
their July 8 letter satisfied the 10-day parent notice requirement.
Maryland law, the Administrative Law Judge sided with the school
district. On July 28, Judge Messitte reversed the Administrative
Law Judge. Why? For answers to these questions, read this
new decision in the Law Library.
To read this decision, you must have Adobe Reader software on your
computer. You can download free Adobe Reader software at http://www.adobe.com/)
Procedural Safeguards: Resources
are some resources that will help you learn about the Procedural
Safeguards designed to protect your child’s right to a free appropriate
public education (FAPE).
Special Education Law
(ISBN: (ISBN: 1-892320-03-7) will help you answer to questions
about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section
504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Family Educational Rights
and Privacy Act; extensive commentary by Pete about legal rights
and responsibilities, and how to use tactics and strategies. Download
four free chapters from Wrightslaw:
Special Education Law.
Join Pete & Pam Wright At New England Conference
on September 8 & 9 2000
join Pete and Pam Wright on SEPTEMBER 8-9, 2000 for “Special
Education Law: Understanding IDEA-97, Evaluations and the Law, ADD/ADHD”
in Bedford, New Hampshire.
Peter W. D. Wright, Pamela Darr Wright, John O. Willis, and Thom
print out the agenda to share with friends and colleagues.
Fax Registration: 603-434-0371