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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 Comments on "School Resistance to Parent Letters of Request for Evaluations"


Jason
01/15/2013

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.

Kim J
02/14/2012

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.

Mike the Psych
01/30/2012

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.