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School Resistance to Parent Letters of Request for Evaluations

01/16/12
by Pete Wright

I submitted a written request for an evaluation that included my parental consent for the eval. They would not accept my letter of request including a statement of written parental consent as “legal consent”.

I received this response from the director of spec. ed.

“As you may know, the IDEA contains certain requirements related to parent consent, therefore we need you to sign the forms that we are sending, so that we have proper, legal consent. (See IDEA Regulations 34 CFR 300.9; 34 CFR 300.300(c); and 34 CFR 300.300(a)(1).) You are welcome to scan/email or fax the forms back to us, or return the hard copy.”

Written consent is just that.

The federal statute and regulations do not mandate that a specific form must be used.

Check Your State Regulations

You will want to check your own state regulation to see if it tracks the federal regulation.  I suspect that it does.

If there was subsequent litigation in your case about date of consent, I suspect that a Judge would say the critical date was the date consent was first provided.  This would be the date of your initial request letter, not the subsequent school “form”.

Contact Your State Department of Education

You might want to contact your state Department of Education by phone.  Run the facts by them.

Then follow-up the phone call with a nice thank you letter to that Dept of Ed official.  Confirm that the state does not mandate the use of a particular form and that the consent timeline runs from the date consent is received and not the date that it is received on the school district’s form.

With your thank you letter, copy the local director of special ed (or the person in the local department who first gave you the information).

Use the Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities to find your state Department of Education.  You will find a website link to search for your state regulations and a contact name and number to call.

Important Note: Do sign and return the school form when you receive it. Note that consent was initially provided on xyz date per the parent’s request and consent letter.

Do not let a battle over their procedures slow/stop the timeline.

Read more about “Starting the Clock on Evaluations” in How Many Days is 60 Days? at  http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=130

State Timelines

If you are willing to scroll back to October 5, 2011 you will find an interesting discussion on Wrightslaw on Facebook about Evaluation Timelines. We heard from many states about the number of days in the timeline and the legal authority in those state regulations.

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7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jason 01/15/13 at 4:18 pm

    In California it is true evaulation is required only every 3 years, but consider annual evaluations to ensure IEP goal baselines are based on objective data rather than teacher observation. Consider also teacher observation is most likely to include observations from non-credentialed staff passed along to the teacher. Evaluations provide a sturdy basis to create a meaningful and appropriate IEP document.

  • 2 Kim J 02/14/12 at 1:33 pm

    My district agreed to independent evaluations, then cancelled them the day before they were to begin because they did not want to pay the cost. That was in July, after months of agreeing on an evaluator. Today, Febuary 14, almost a year later, the school districts attorney contacted my attorney to notify us that they do not want my daughter to come to school because they feel it is insafe for her to eat at school after I provided tham with a swallow study. When I brought my daughter to school, after agreeing that she did not have to eat there, they refused to let her come in. We are home because the teacher’s father is ill and they had no trained substitutes. They blame their inability to provide her with FAPE on her.

  • 3 Mike the Psych 01/30/12 at 3:38 pm

    David – It is true that the IDEA only notes reevaluation being required at least every 3 years, but there are always possibilities for early reevaluation. Considering your mobility as a military family I would say you are more likely to have early reevaluations.

    Although parent and school district can decide no additional data is needed to complete the reevaluation it does require mutual agreement. If the school is hassling you your best bet is to put your request in writing, the school must respond in writing to parent evaluation requests if they are reevals or inital requests. Just make sure relevant domains are covered and what you are requesting is more than just progress updates/instructional planning which could be completed outside of a formal reevaluation.

  • 4 Sharon L. 01/29/12 at 8:02 pm

    David – The law allows the school and parent to decide every 3 years if a evaluation is needed or not. In some cases it may not be needed if everyone agrees that the child still qualifies for services & the services provided are adequate. But if you believe that your child needs to be retested then they must do that at your request in writing and you must sign the school’s consent form. After that they have 60 days to complete the evaluation. You can get a copy of this evaluation to review ahead of time with a professional if you want and you don’t have to sign anything if you do not agree with the results. You also have the right to an outside evaluation at the school’s expense if you do not agree with it.

  • 5 David 01/25/12 at 10:36 am

    Good Morning,

    We currently reside in Colorado, we are a military family so we are faced with the challenge of learning new state regulations and requirements every time we move. My comment today was regarding the Colorado evaluation guidelines. We moved here from TX almost 2 yrs ago, We had current assestments when we arrived here but as of last year I feel a new assesment is in order. The district tells us that normally “TRIENNIAL” evals are conducted and they are not required to do anymore. Is this true? or partially true?, I’ve asked for reference from the Colorado Education Department but have not received on yet, my other question was regarding the evaluations I feel that would best benefit our son. The District has offered to do a reading and math tests, no other tests have been mentioned. I need an unbiased resource for evals

  • 6 Mike the Psych 01/17/12 at 3:20 pm

    The school’s response is really not all to shocking.

    When you send a school a written request for evaluation it is just that, a request. The school can then accept or deny the request for evaluation, which they must do so in writing explaining their reasoning. Naturally their request should include an explanation and copy of your procedural safeguards.

    You could not provide consent for an evaluation prior to it being accepted. What makes up the evaluation is a team decision where domains are reviewed and your consent is specifically for what is decided to be part of the evaluation, nothing more and nothing less. Providing “blanket” consent prior does not constitute informed consent and would not be legal to accept.

    It is true that specific forms are likely not mandated but the info contained is, so often states have model forms.

  • 7 Suzanne 01/16/12 at 10:50 pm

    I just found your site…WOOT WOOT. OMG, I am here in RI and I am gearing up with another experienced mom to bring the school system to their knees with what they have been doing! I am going to start a blog (fingers crossed) and I am THRILLED to have found your site. As time goes on and I can pay forward…I do.

    I am a single mom who has, will continue to be an advocate for causes. My cause is now my dyslexic sweet creative son and I am overwhelmed. I just completed a Timeline based on my States RIDE – The Referral Program and I have crammed so much in the last few months because he’s in the 4.5 grade reading 1st and they are bucking me. I just released a long moment of tears which I haven’t in years. Thank you for all that you do! ~Be well, Suzanne