Here are some other ways to require enforcement of IDEA within your school. And, some tips about what to do.
1. Find out if your school has a chapter of SEPTA (Special Education Parent Teacher Association). If so, start attending.
- Do not be confrontational or argumentative.
- Do listen to find who may be an ally, either parent or teacher.
If your school does not have SEPTA, find out how to get one started. This gives immediate credibility.
2. Attend School Board meetings.
It may take several times before you start to follow what is happening. Once you have a feeling for the general flow, try to get some time on the agenda. Then you can present data to the Board members.
- Use data that you can confirm.
- Do not make accusations or threats. Avoid confrontation.
- Explain that you are there to let the Board know of a situation in their school that may cost the school money and damage student achievement.
- Be specific about law that the school is ignoring.
- Do not name teachers or students by name, but let the Board know you will share the names with them if requested.
This approach can take a full year or more, but top down changes tend to stick. Connect with other parents and bring them with you to the meetings.
3. In individual situations, it may become necessary to contact the Office for Civil Rights.
It is simple to file an OCR complaint and OCR is usually quick to respond. Again, have as much concrete information as you can. It will certainly get the attention of a School Superintendent if s/he gets a phone call from an attorney from the Office for Civil Rights.
4. Arrange for advocacy training.
There are other organizations that will provide training. Start with the groups listed below, call the contact number, and check about training opportunities in your area.
Your state Parent Training and Information Center.
Local Disability Organizations. (i.e. local chapters of the Learning Disabilities Association, International Dyslexia Association, CHADD, etc.)
A Consultant, Psychologist, or Advocate in your state.
Spread the word and get as many parents as possible to attend. You will be able to network and start to establish an advocacy group within your community. The more people you have to address the problems, the higher your chances of making changes.
Have you ever considered starting a parent advocacy group? How to Start an Educational Advocacy Group.
It takes patience and persistence to make systemic changes within a school. These changes will benefit not just your child, but other children who attend the school, perhaps for many years.