Parent Involvement in Placement Decisions

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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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84 Comments on "Parent Involvement in Placement Decisions"

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Kathleen
09/21/2016 1:16 pm

My child has a SLD and ADHD. The school wants his special ed. teacher to provide his services in the general ed. classroom. My child complains about other students watching him and the Sp. Ed. teacher mentions the difficulty she has keeping my son’s attention because he is more interested in the other children watching or my son wants to see what the other kids are doing. I’d like the Sp. Ed. teacher to work with him in a less distracting setting. Can I have his IEP changed to reflect this request?

Amy
09/25/2016 10:36 pm

Kathleen – you can request that he receive his services in a separate classroom, but be prepared for some resistance. Many school districts are moving toward an inclusion model as too many students are being removed from their Least Restrictive Environments…meaning we RSP teachers are in general ed classes for much of the day giving our students their minutes. There are many differing opinions about the effectiveness of this model, but nonetheless, this is the direction education is moving toward for students with learning disabilities.

Tanya
08/23/2016 12:05 am

I was recently contacted by my son’s school by phone that they wanted to discuss placement for the fall school year. In the first conversation I had with them they said that the evaluation reports are not complete and I have no copy of what is done. I am uncomfortable giving my permission for placement with out being able to read them and if I have questions being able to ask them. I feel as if I am being rushed to make a decision with out all the facts because they waited so long to start the process. He was in there pre k counts with an IEP. We had a meeting before school ended last year so things would be ready for this year.Yet here we are two weeks before school starts with incomplete reports and to go on the special education administrators recommendation. I don’t know what to do.

Adamaris
08/31/2016 7:10 pm

Dont sign. Anything unless u agree with it look it over they cant do anything with out u agreeing

Todd
08/17/2016 5:28 pm

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

Can you please provide some citations to applicable court decisions.

Xavier
08/10/2016 7:29 pm

My son has ASD and his needs was not being met in his current program. We ended up in a mediation in our district agreeing on NPS & ESY provided by this NPS. During the ESY . NPS informed me that in order to fully meet my son’s need, 1;1 aide, ABA and other services should also provided. The NPS says that they dont have the manpower to provide this services, that’s why they are declining to accept my son this coming SY. With the new SY starting , the district offered a different program more restrictive and we see not appropriate for my son. The director of the NPS informed me that they will accept my son,if support is provided. Should the district have the responsibility to provide this services in order to support my son’s education in NPS program? If now, whats the next move

Filomena
08/09/2016 2:01 pm

Hello,

My daughters school is proposing a placement at a different school in a transitional life skills program in a sub separate room with little to no inclusion other than “specials”. The vision we have for our daughter who was born with 9p duplication -global developmental delays is in a full inclusion GE classroom with her typical developing peers. She has had partial inclusion opportunities (with little support) and has thrived in her social development. Although she is behind academically we believe with a 1:1 and pullouts for ELA/MATH- reading specialist) would be the right placement to receive a FAPE in the LRE. If we decline the “teams” placement option (and we have already gone to mediation)…waiting now to discuss what we think of the placement…what can we do next?

Anthony
06/29/2016 11:30 am

My child has cerebral palsy spastic diplegia finally after a long battle we found a school completed all the five steps and and now my daughter is going to start attending school in September early intervention my daughters physician and school she is attending agrees on getting Para. Cpse administrator decided to tell us that my daughter will be better off in another school of his choice without a Para he then went ahead and forward all information to that school of his choice without any parental consent from us. He also insist that we go and visit the school but like i said ,my wife and i went through the steps and my duaghter is supposed to be starting school in September she has a legitimate spot can the cpse administrator forced my daughter in a school of his choice

Jessica
04/14/2016 6:07 pm

Hello. My 13 yr old son is severely autistic. I have recently filed a complaint that his IEP and bip are not being followed. His report card has f’s across the board. I have begged and pleaded that special day service needs should be placed in his IEP so he may find some value and success in life. Two days ago they have recommended that he is homebound because they are not equipped to handle him. Rather than putting what I have requested in his IEP. What do I do?

Theresa
12/30/2015 2:49 pm

My daughter has ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. She was placed in a classroom at school with other children with ADHD and other disorders. The classroom is very disruptive because all the students have problems focusing. Is this discriminating against her and all the other students because they are not mainstreamed with the other students? Instead of teaching, the teachers seem to be working hard just to keep the class under control until the period is over.

Shell
03/29/2016 9:33 pm

What was the out come of this. Your story sounds similar to mine. I am trying to find the steps I need to do to fight the proposed placement.

VivianaB
12/29/2015 2:19 am

We live in one city, but commute to another one for work everyday. My husband, myself, and my 3 y.o. who has CP and is in the spectrum. He is taken care by his grandma who lives in the same city where we work. However, that district denied assessment and IEP because we reside in another city. The District we live in did grant an IEP and is offering our son special ed preschool from 8 to 11, but since we work, that wouldnt work for us. Is there a way to transfer the IEP and have the District where we work provide services since that is the city where my son is the whole day?

Faith
10/15/2015 9:51 am

What do you do if the IEP IS GREAT its the placement thats the problem. And the school says you have to max out in special eds in ordor to be placed in all day EC classes… Red tape

Tina
08/18/2015 1:52 pm

Does this apply to public school placement as well? Can the team have input on the placement of the student prior to the next school year?

Sarah
07/28/2015 1:52 am

Can a private school, listed as part of the school boards schools, transfer my child back into the public school system because they tell me do not think “I” am happy with their program? Even though I have stated in email and in verbal contact with director that I am. What parent isnt fully happy with a program? I am willing to understand their fears but they made this decision without me or my husband over summer. Now they want ME to contact the school board, stating they are “waiting for my call” about where they will place him next. I feel this is very inappropriate.

tishia
07/21/2015 3:33 pm

I need some help on how to get my special needs six year old to attend a different school from the one in our district. I was very unhappy with that school and the things that took place there. How can i get my son enrolled in a better school that may or may not be in our district as well as provided transportation back and forth?

Carol
02/24/2016 10:48 pm

I have the same problem. My son is hard of hearing he was mainstreaming but recently decided to put him in deaf school.
Not working out for him, he has been there two months. The bullying at the school is making him sick and depressed. He has changed and is no longer enthusiastic about going. What do I do?

cynthia
04/26/2015 10:05 pm

my sons sdc is being moved without any parents input. all 15 kids are so upset over this. we as parents went to the last school board meeting and spoke to them about the move. of course they had no response, nor did i expect one. the reason given for class move was so they could make room for more general ed. kids that are projected to attend the school next year. can they do this? i keep asking myself why they would do this, these kids have a hard enough time with school. let alone moving to another location and having to adjust to new teacher, students, ect. but then i remember oh yeah its a school they are just there to make money! does anyone know of anything we can do?

Cyndi
04/25/2016 11:29 am

Going through something very similar. Do you mind sharing your outcome?

If anyone else has any insight it would be greatly appreciated.

Cari
04/24/2015 9:36 pm

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.

Jenny
03/21/2015 6:12 pm

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?

Marty
03/23/2016 11:31 am

Jenny – Don’t worry or waste emotion. Take action. Request a copy of ALL of her school records. Reference IDEA-20 U.S.C. ss 1415 (b) (1). After careful review, request in WRITING that any misleading / inaccurate info be removed or add an addendum letter to reference the record and correct/ clarify the issue. Reference 34 C.F.R. ss 300.610. Keep it short, factual, free of emotion/blame, have a cool-headed friend review it & bring it to the school in person to add to the file. If possible, casually ask the teacher about it. Last, observe child & teach tricks for staying clean. She might leave your house clean but may arrive messy/dirty. When younger, my son would rub hands on car windows, play in dirt /rocks & wipe his hands on shirt & coat before boarding AM bus. Wipes.

Lisa
02/25/2015 9:48 pm

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!

CindyC
09/15/2014 4:00 pm

My daughter is ID with severe cognitive disabilities, her Neuro-Psych testing showed she has the mental age of 3-5 year old. She has ED just recently was diagnosed with Schizo-Effective disorder. I had to pull her out of her freshman year in highschool because school had become a trigger for the ED and SE. Since Junior High I have been fighting with them for a proper placement. Will doctors and the Neuoro Psych results be enough to get her into the right program? Advocates and Attorneys cost a fortune!!

Jacque
06/30/2014 12:38 am

My nephews district changed their ESY placement from self contained special ed to co-taught general ed, since this is what the district offers. I did not agree to the change but did agree to observe the program as the district stated it would meet their needs. I later received an IEP with the ESY placement changed. I observed the placement and it does not meet their needs, but the district says they don’t offer anything else. What to do?

Marie
03/30/2014 10:15 pm

Our son is a out of district transfer student to a small rural school. Over all he has been accepted by the kids and likes most of the teachers and staff. We have had on going issues with one para’s attitude and lack of following the IEP and the sped teacher off and on. We’ve tried to just get a long but have meet with the administration 2 times. After the second meeting the sped teacher met with one of our sons coaches and told him the school might not let him return next yr is he didn’t get along with them. Further they were no longer going to help him.
Under what grounds can they refuse to allow him to return next yr? He makes a’s and b’s and the only discipline problem was when he was frustrated and needed a break, as allowed in his IEP, and they refused.

Bobby
03/27/2014 2:59 pm

My stepson has trisomy 9q, nonverbal, doesn’t walk, fed through g tube. School district has failed him in regards to IEP . No general education. Denied placement at special school. Do step parents count as a vote in placement process?

A
10/18/2015 9:01 pm

There is no vote in IEP meetings to determine placement. See this blog post: http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=6765

Sue
01/08/2014 1:10 pm

Placed son in specialized private school after public refused to provide accommodations to meet his needs. First year of private went well until end very end of the year. Son developed huge anxiety this year (I have shown both schools that he has a very severe executive function deficit-dx. with ADHD-combinded type. School wants to place him in a therapeutic LD school or deem him an emotional or behavioral problem. Evidence is clear as to diagnosis. School may try to change eligibility to meet their needs, not his. Private school asked us to withdraw him before his annual IEP meeting. Current IEP is NOT appropriate to meet his needs.
He is now at home on medical leave. Local attorney told us she couldn’t help us.

A
10/18/2015 9:04 pm

If student has behavior difficulties, there should be a behavior plan, or behavior intervention plan in place which outlines behaviors and strategies for resolving issues that may occur.

Jessica
09/01/2013 11:19 am

I have a question. The school place my son in a self contained class without even consulting me. I had no part to the decision. They made the decision without including me and the IEP is not even set. Can they do that?

Abby
06/04/2013 7:40 pm

My son will be receiving ESY beginning on July 15. He is Deaf and currently has a deaf ed certified teacher. His IEP states this as well. My question/concern is that the school is saying they can not find a deaf ed teacher for my sons one month of ESY in the summer.
What can I do as a parent to make sure that they have a qualified teacher in place and are following his IEP.

Bridget
05/31/2013 1:04 pm

PLEASE HELP – MY 9yr old son had just been diagnosed with PDD-NOS and SPD!His current IEP Disablity label is OHI/ SEVERE SPEECH IMPAIREMENT – he also has ADHD,severe anxiety disorder, as well as other medical problems. The school are saying that they will not change his diagnosis on his IEP and are going to leave it as OHI! Are they allowed to do this?? PLEASE HELP

Tiffany
04/15/2013 2:24 pm

My daughter is in a first grade inclusion classroom with SPED and IA support. She has made progress and/or met all of her IEP goals this year. Her IEP team has decided that she needs to receive pullout special ed services next year for 60 min. of math and 75 min. of reading. It is my understanding that if she is making progress toward her IEP goals that we should not have to change her placement, I’m I correct? The school’s argument is that my daught is further behind everyone else acdemically and she will need specialized instruction that cannot be delievered in the classroom. We feel if she is making progress both academically and socially she is in the correct placement?

ruth
03/06/2013 2:34 pm

tengo un hijo de 18 anos con autismo el distrito quierecortar la terapia de habla en grupos de 3 y dar a todo el grupo de una sola vez. ellos le llaman terapia programada, No aparecera en IEP como mandatorio . Si no en los comentarios de IEP. mi hijo califica para recivir educacion hasta que cumpla 21. Por ahora no firme. Debido a los recortes economicos, hay demasiados problemas .Tenemos que luchar para que el reciva por lo menos 3 secciones de terapia de habla en grupo de 2 0 3. esta situacion es muy dificil como madre quisiera dar a mi hijo la mejor educacion.

Michelle
10/31/2012 12:58 pm

I am currently trying to have my daughter placed in the school district in a local area public school due to ongoing harassment and bullying by a large group of her peers. Can this be achieved through an iep meeting with her iep following her to the new district?

Sharon L.
01/08/2012 10:15 am

Monica – My son has dyslexia and I was told that the laws are changing to allow students to be read to that qualify for it. In other words the student has to be diagnosed as having dyslexia or some other impairment that qualifies for him or her to have tests read to them. My other two sons used to get the tests read to them but do not qualify now because they are ADHD and ADD/SLD only. I don’t agree but that is what they are doing in our state (ohio).

Lou
01/05/2012 1:14 pm

The IEP team is refusing to move my daughter (she does not speak) to an established school that communicates in sign because she is not deaf. There are two other children that are not deaf in that classroom. They made an exception for the one boy after a long battle with the school board. They will not do the same for my daughter. We are on the fence with filing a “due process” application. They do not sign at her present school. Signing is her main means of communication. Any suggestions for convincing this IEP team to agree with placing my daughter at this other location ? thank you. Lou

monica
01/03/2012 11:25 pm

I was wondering, does anyone have any information of the laws that are changing in Kentukcy for trying to get an IEP for your child? I was informed that the laws are changing in Kentucky that will not allow children to have certain stuff read to them when they have a reading disability, or an iep for that. I was also told that your kentucky school system was okay with the law as that they were trying to change. Can someone help me with this to get it stopped to help the kids….Thanks….

Peggy
01/03/2012 12:59 pm

Does stay-put last through ALL appeals all the way to the Supreme Court?

Julie
01/03/2012 12:00 pm

I am finding that is not always the case even though it should be. I have a couple of families that I am working with that their child’s placement was changed with in the school with out the parent’s approval. I have the parents requesting an IEP meeting and showed them your website along with the IDEA regs you gave us in your books to reference so when they go into the next meeting they can be prepared and get her into the correct placement. The child was moved from secluded classroom settings to mainstreamed and the parents did not feel they were ready.

Jodi
01/03/2012 11:55 am

Our daughter has a classification of EBD. She has bipolar disorder and is 13. She has been in a point/level system for 5 years which basically has meant that she has to “earn” her way into regular ed classes and priveleges such as eating lunch with reg ed peers. She is placed in an alternative high school and spends half of her day with other EBD kids, all boys. We want to unilaterally remove her from this placement and place her in a nearby charter school. We will want our home district to pay for transportation. Besides giving 10 day notice, is there anything else we need to do? Thank you.

Adrianna
05/16/2011 11:43 am

What does it mean when the IEP is written in DRAFT, by the Spec Ed Teacher and copies of the draft are sent home to the parent, not to the rest of the IEP Team; AND on the LRE/Placement, they already have it marked as to placement (80% in Reg Ed Class, 40%, etc) AND Justification for said placement, then in the notes, (the child is in a Senior Class, but is Cognitively Impaired and has had trouble in the High School Environment) the teacher indicates “SO AND SO, IS ELIGIBLE TO ATTEND BRIDGE PROGRAM AFTER THEIR SENIOR YEAR. It is their Senior Year, and this has been noted each year since 9th grade, but now the School Administration instructed me to “see this program” and they are PUSHING IT HARD, The IEP was done in Jan 2011, now they are talking PLACEMENT, without a transition plan; it is a vocational type school.

Jennifer
05/05/2011 4:58 pm

Angela—

At my school, we have had such an inclusion class. Our special education teacher was required to be in the regular classroomdouble the number of pull-out minutes indicated on the IEP. So they may be correct that the IEP has not been violated, if they are using this practice.

However, you should have been contacted for a meeting to review the records from the previous school, which was likely when this decision was made. It is mandated that the new school review the records from the other one.

On a positive note, if your son can function in a co-teaching atmosphere, I think that’s great. These kids need to be around their non-disabled peers as much as possible.

The principal has to follow the law, just like everyone else.

angela
05/03/2011 5:15 pm

My son has an IEP plan and his IEP plan says that he is in a regular class but will be pulled out for reading and math and writing and he was in a regular class but when he changed schools in the middle of october he was changed to an inclusion class. I was told this consists of a regular teacher and a special ed teacher. They did not have his IEP meeting before doing so. I feel his IEP was violated but they keep telling me no. The principle has told me that it was his school and he can do what ever he wanted to do because it was his school.. Is that true?

Adrianna
04/25/2011 12:10 pm

A parent has the right to ask for a “meeting of the IEP team” and can attempt to amend the IEP, especially when it comes to placement. Ask for an evaluation or a reevaluation and then after the results, talk about placement. it is the IEP team who determines placement, not the district.

Also, research the law, because very few parents realize that an IEP “must be done and/or completed by the time school starts!

If you have a child whose IEP is done in the middle of a school year, then request another meetings. There is nothing (that I have found in my research of 20 USC 1414) that says the IEP must be done by the end of the school year, only the beginning of a new school year.

Get help from one of the many non-profits out there, this site has a list for each state. http://www.yellowpagesforkids.com That is what I did and am doing.

Flor
03/28/2011 10:59 pm

This year my daughter received services in the districts new “learning center” RSP room. Before my IEP meeting I biefly talked with the special education teacher. My daughter had only met 2 goals (occupational theraphy related goals). He also informed me that the school was planning on placing my daughter in “an intensive intervention program” with a special curriculum (specific to that classroom only) for the 4th grade. They claim this is not a SDC. At the IEP meeting I requested placement in a Non-Public School based on the fact that she had made little progress, had only partially met her goals and that they planned on placing her in another “new” program that the district would be implementing in the coming year. My request was denied in a PWN. What can I do? What are my chances if I file for due process.

Stephene
03/07/2011 9:11 pm

Sharron, I was reading your response to Lisa, I have the same question as her. What kind of evaluation do you need to ask for in order for a residential placement? I have asked the school about placement before and was told that they would not pay for such services because they were medical issues. I have recently requested an autism evaluation because my son has been diagnosed with AS, but the school fails to recognize this, saying he does not meet the requirements for the autism spectrum in the school setting.

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