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Parent Involvement in Placement Decisions

by Wrightslaw

My child attends school ‘out of district’ because our district had no program for a multiple needs-high needs student. He has one year left of school (age 20).

Now the home school district wants to save money by making a new classroom for this program. My son will need to move and adjust to another change. No one feels it is in his best interests to be moved.

Decisions about placement are to be made after the child’s IEP is developed. Parents are members of any team that develops the IEP and decides on placement.

IDEA Section 1414(e) requires that the school “…ensure that the parents of each child with a disability are members of any group that makes decision on the educational placement of their child.”

If the school places a child in a private placement because they could not meet his/her unique and complex needs…

And then the school decides to return the child to the public school without holding an IEP meeting where this decision is made…

The school has predetermined the child’s placement.

Courts have held that schools may not predetermine placement. The placement decision must be made by the team.

If the parents, staff at the private placement, etc. disagree with a proposed placement, the school is required to provide them with written notice. Written notice (PWN) includes several requirements. See IDEA Section 1415(b)(3).

If a parent decides to fight this, and because the law is interpreted differently around the country, I would advise the parent to consult with an attorney who has expertise in special education law and litigation.

I doubt you actually need to retain an attorney. In this case, a parent does need advice about how to proceed so their child can remain in the current educational placement.

If there is litigation, the current placement becomes the “stay put” placement – the child must remain in that placement until litigation ends.

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61 Comments on "Parent Involvement in Placement Decisions"


I just want to know if parents have the right to refuse private placement once the child’s emotional disability has been corrected and the child could thrive in a regular classroom setting.


I requested an Independent evaluation for my child because I didn’t agree with the county’s evaluation or placement. When the psychologist gave me back the report she stated that one of the teachers wrote that my child “only sometimes goes to school clean.” When I asked the principal about this he reported that the teacher said that on one occasion my child asked the teacher to change her shirt because it was dirty. Even if this was true the report that my child only sometimes goes to school clean will stay in her record forever. The school will not change this and the report is inaccurate. It is very disturbing to us because it seems that the teachers lied and marked our child low on every possible option so that they would send her to a self-contained autism class. The teacher lied. Is there anything else we could do?


My daughters special ed teacher decided to give us the same IEP from last year??? Is this legal, she didn’t even make out a new one!


Lisa: Get out your Special Education Law book and get up to speed on your rights and your child’s rights. You are part of the IEP Team that develops and reviews your child’s IEP. IDEA requires the IEP be reviewed “not less frequently than annually” – to determine whether your child’s goal are being met and if he is making/not making progress.

Did the IEP team determine this before “the teacher gave” you the IEP?

Who’s on the team: 20 U.S.C. 1414(d)(1)(B) Parents are listed first in the law as a member of the team. Your child’s teacher is also “one” of the members.

How the IEP is developed: 20 U.S.C. 1414(d)(3)

Requirements for review and revision (during the year, or at least once a year): 20 U.S.C. 1414(d)(4)

Wrightslaw: All About IEPs, Chapter 3, Parent Participation and Consent and Chapter 11, Reviewing and Revising the IEP will be a big help.

Another good article to read: How Can I Get My Child’s IEP Changed?