I am the Assistant Coordinator of an Adult Learner Services program that assists adults who left high school before graduation. These students are now seeking a GED and often discuss the difficulty they had in school and their previous IEPs.
The program’s new Special Education Director stated that I should not ask about the IEP. It is against policy and rules of the Special Education Dept.
Is it “breaking the rules” to ask students about their concerns and what was included in the previous IEP?
There is no law that prohibits you from asking if a child has/had an IEP… or requesting a copy of the child’s file that includes evaluations and IEPs. You need this information to help your clients.
Many school administrators are woefully ignorant about confidentiality, often advising staff that IEPs should locked away so no one can see them. This is NOT legally correct.
The special education law specifically states that teachers, related services providers, and others who work with the child must have easy access to the child’s IEP. This is the only way the adults will know the student’s needs and what the adults need to do to meet the child’s needs.
When you work with administrators, you try to be diplomatic.
I’d write a polite letter, perhaps with a short summary of how you work with kids, and request the written policy that prohibits people in the helping professions from asking if a student has an IEP. You may find that the policy is “unwritten” or made up on the fly.
I recently went to a school meeting to discuss the law that began in July of 09 where no child can exit high school before the age of 18 (currently the age is 16).
I was surprised to hear this. There is no federal law about this so it must be a state law.
- Have you seen and read it?
- What is the purpose of such a law?
- Will schools actually provide additional services that they didn’t provide for the first 10-11 years of the child’s school career?
As you probably know, schools can be cruel, unfriendly places for some students, especially children who “underachieve.” Many governors are moving to allow students to leave high school earlier, while providing more effective options to prepare kids for life after school.
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act
FERPA is a federal statute. The purposes of FERPA are twofold: to ensure that parents have access to their children’s educational records and to protect the privacy rights of parents and children by limiting access to these records without parental consent.
FERPA deals with access to educational records, parental right to inspect and review records, amendment of records, and destruction of records.