Wrightslaw l No Child Left Behind l IDEA 2004 l Fetaweb l Yellow Pages for Kids l Harbor House Law Press

 Home > Due Process Hearing > Advice About 10-Day Notice Letters to the School by Pete Wright


The Special Ed Advocate
It's Unique ... and Free!

Enter your email address below:

 

2014 - 2015 Training Programs

Oct 23 - Wilton, CT

Oct 25 - Olympia, WA

Oct 30 - Phoenix, AZ

Nov 6 - McAllen, TX

Nov 18 - DesMoines, IA

Nov 21 - Temecula, CA

Dec 4 - OKC, OK

Full Schedule

Be a Hero ...

 Jason at Ft. Benning
... to a Hero
Learn more

Wrightslaw

Home
Topics from A-Z
Free Newsletter
Seminars & Training
Consultations
Yellow Pages for Kids
Press Room
FAQs
Sitemap

Books & Training

Wrightslaw Books & DVDs
Wrightslaw Storesecure store lock
  Advocate's Store
  Student Bookstore
  Exam Copies
Training Center
Bulk Discounts
New! Military Discounts
Mail & Fax Orders

Advocacy Library

Articles
Doing Your Homework
Ask the Advocate
FAQs
Newsletter Archives
Summer School Series
Success Stories
Tips

Law Library

Articles
Caselaw
IDEA 2004
No Child Left Behind
McKinney-Vento Homeless
FERPA
Section 504
Fed Court Complaints

Topics

Advocacy
ADD/ADHD
Allergy/Anaphylaxis
Assistive Technology
Autism Spectrum
Behavior & Discipline
Bullying
College/Continuing Ed
Damages
Discrimination
Due Process
Early Intervention (Part C)
Eligibility
ESY
Evaluations
FAPE
Flyers
Future Planning
Harassment
High-Stakes Tests
Homeless Children
IDEA 2004
Identification & Child Find
IEPs
ISEA
Juvenile Justice
Law School & Clinics
Letters & Paper Trails
LRE/Inclusion
Mediation
Military / DOD
No Child Left Behind
NCLB Directories
NCLB Law & Regs
Parental Protections
PE and Adapted PE
Privacy & Records
Procedural Safeguards
Progress Monitoring
Reading
Related Services
Research Based Instruction
Response to Intervention (RTI)
Restraints/Abuse
Retention
Retaliation
School Report Cards
Section 504
Self-Advocacy
Teachers & Principals
Transition
Twice Exceptional (2e)
VA Special Education

Resources & Directories

Advocate's Bookstore
Advocacy Resources
Directories
  Disability Groups
  International
  State DOEs
  State PTIs
Free Flyers
Free Pubs
Free Newsletters
Legal & Advocacy
Glossaries
   Legal Terms
   Assessment Terms
Best School Websites

 
Advice About 10-Day Notice Letters to the School

"Do you have any advice about the '10 day notice letter' to the school that parent are required to send if they plan to place their child in a private school at public expense? What should be included?"

Pete Wright's Answer

The 10-day notice letter can easily be one of your most important evidentiary exhibits, helping or hurting your case. The 10-day notice letter, written by the parents, lays out the theme of the case.

The letter should be written with the following thoughts in mind. If the letter is lost, then found and read by a stranger, the stranger (who knows nothing about special ed law or disability issues) will understand the nature of the case, the child's disability, what has been done, what needs to be done - and wants to right the wrong. If the stranger had the power, he or she would want the school to pay tuition for the private placement.

Case Preparation: "Letter to the Stranger"

The "Letter to the Stranger" is an important step in preparing a case for trial. I tell parents that they must use letters to prepare their case, as though they will not be able to testify at their due process hearing.

I use the parents' 10-day letter and the due process request letter as my outline for direct exam of the parent and for cross-examination of school district employees at the due process hearing.

It is hard for the school board attorney to cross-examine a letter.

If I use the parents' letter often enough on direct and cross during the trial, the Hearing Officer will usually go back and re-read it. In many cases, the factual history of a successful ruling tracks the content of the parents' letter.

The original "Letter to the Stranger" concept involved letters written by a parent who was in crisis.
After writing two letters to the school (one in anger, one to explain their position), the parent lost the letters. Later, the letters were picked up by a stranger who read them and . . . read original Letter to the Stranger.

On the Wrightslaw site, we have a Letter Writing page with links to articles about letter-writing and two due process request letters (Letters to a Stranger) written by my clients. (NC James Brody; OH Joe James).

Both cases had successful outcomes.

Our book, Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2d Edition includes 16 sample letters (pages 235-240 and pages 249-260). These letters tell a story from the parent's first request for information at the beginning of the school year to the parent's 10-day notice letter to the school district (pages 257-260).

Writing & Revising

In my cases, the parents write the early drafts of the letter. I ask them to tell their child's story, in chronological sequence. Before they begin, I have them read similar letters, such as the letters in Brody and James (above).

After they finish the first draft of their letter, the letter must be edited and revised extensively so it is clear and compelling - so the reader know what the parents want and why.

Editing Tip

When you think the letter is finished, there is one more step you should take. Copy the file, rename it, open it, select all (Control-A), then reformat it in Courier font, 14 point, double-spaced.

Print the letter again and revise it.

The results of this simple trick may surprise you - it will force you to shift perspective, as if you are editing a letter you have not read before. You will see redundancies and confusing sentences.

Good luck!

About the Authors

Peter W. D. Wright, Esq., and his wife, Pamela Darr Wright are the authors of Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition , From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition , and Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind.

The Wrights built the wrightslaw.com and fetaweb.com sites and publish The Special Ed Advocate, the free online newsletter about special education law and advocacy.

Pete and Pam also do training programs about special education law and advocacy. To see if they are coming to your area soon, visit their speaking schedule page.

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon The Special Ed Advocate: It's Free!

 

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
About the Book

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board
About the DVD Video

 

Copyright 1998-2014, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved.

Contact Us | Press Mission l Our Awards l Privacy Policy l Disclaimer l Site Map

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon The Special Ed Advocate: It's Free!

 

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
About the Book

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board
About the DVD Video

 

Copyright 1998-2014, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved.

Contact Us | Press Mission l Our Awards l Privacy Policy l Disclaimer l Site Map

Revised 08/02/11

What's New!

Now Shipping!

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
About the Book

Check it out!

Wrightslaw Store

The Advocate's Store

Get Help!

Blog the Wrightslaw

Wrightslaw on Facebook

Find us on Facebook

Wrightslaw Books

Student Discounts

Military Discounts


Wrightslaw: All About IEPs

About the Book
To Order

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
About the Book
To Order


About the Book

To Order


Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board

About the DVD Video
To Order


To Order


Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind

About the Book
To Order

Wrightslaw Multimedia Training


Understanding Your Child's
Test Scores (1.5 hrs)

Understanding Your Child's Test Scores

Learn More
To Order
Retail Price: $
24.95
Wrightslaw Special: $14.95

Special Education Law & Advocacy Training
(6.5 hrs)


Wrightslaw WebEx Special Education Law & Training Program (6.5 hrs)


Learn More
To Order
Retail Price: $99.95
Wrightslaw Special: $49.95