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When a Parent Makes Threats or Refuses to Sign an IEP
by Pat Howey, Special Education Advocate

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I wrote an e-mail to my child’s teacher saying that I will not sign the next IEP if they do not give my child extra services.

IDEA does not require parents to "sign" an IEP. Threatening to not sign an IEP does not really mean much. Also, if you do not sign the IEP, others may think you agree to it.

You have an absolute right to disagree with the IEP. Do not sit on that right. If you disagree with the IEP, go ahead and sign it, but put a note below or to the side of your name saying that your signature does not mean that you agree with the IEP.

Read my article, Why Do Schools Draw Lines in the Sand? Understanding the Playing Field, Power Struggles, Schools Meetings & Follow Up Letters.

I also recommend that you take good notes.

If taking notes is hard for you, take a tape recorder. Do NOT surprise the school. Send a note to the IEP team coordinator advising that you will be taping the meeting. Offer to provide a copy of the tape to the school.

After you leave the meeting, write a summary of all the things you asked for at your child’s IEP meeting. Write down the things that the school agreed to do and the things the school did not agree to do. Sign and date the note. Keep a copy for your file.

After the meeting, send a polite note to the person who chairs your child’s IEP meeting. Thank the team for meeting with you. Attach your summary of what the school agreed to and did not agree to. If important issues were not resolved, request another meeting.

From Emotions to Advocacy has tips about how to prepare for meetings, how to use a Parent Agenda and IEP Meeting Worksheet (see Chapters 25 and 26) and how to write a letter to the IEP team about issues that were not resolved (see Chapters 24 and 25) - these chapters include many sample letters that you can tailor to your circumstances.

Read more Ask the Advocate articles by Pat Howey.

Meet Pat Howey

Pat HoweyPat Howey is an advocate who has helped parents obtain special education services and resolve special education disputes.

As a member of the Wrightslaw Speakers Bureau, Pat provides training for parents, educators, and others who want to
ensure that children receive quality special education services.

Read more of Pat's answers to questions submitted by people just like you in Wrightslaw's Ask the Advocate section.

Contact Information
Pat Howey
Special Education Consulting
POB 117
West Point, Indiana 47992-0117
Website: patriciahowey.com
Email: specialedconsulting@gmail.com

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Revised: 03/22/12

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Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
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Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
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Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
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Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board
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