My principal is requiring that I have meetings to change students’ IEPs to correct the location of services under the direct service hours part of their IEPs. All of their current IEPs state the location as “Special Education Setting.” Presently, a non-certified assistant is fulfilling direct service hours in an inclusive setting in the morning.
In the IEP, for location of services, could the “Special Education Setting” be interpreted as a setting where a special education teacher is present, such as in an inclusion classroom?
Good questions. It sounds like your principal is asking you to take actions about IEPs that are improper and illegal.
The law requires placement decisions to be made by a team – usually the team that developed the child’s IEP. Parents are required members of that team. Schools are required to offer a continuum of placements from regular ed class with supplementary services and supports to a special ed class, special ed school, home, hospital etc.
I expect you may have to deal with more requests to do things that are not legal.
Legal references are useful when you are dealing with an administrator who is not familiar with the legal requirements for placement, paraprofessionals, etc.
The following text is from Chapter 10 – Placement in our book, Wrightslaw: All About IEPs. The book includes over 200 questions and answers about IEPs. Each answer includes endnotes that reference the law or regulation that we relied on in the answer.
After the IEP team makes decisions about your child’s needs and the special education program, a team will decide your child’s placement — where the services will be provided. Placement decisions must be individualized and based on your child’s unique needs as described in the IEP.[i]
Who decides where my child will be placed?
In some states, the IEP team makes the placement decision. In other states, the decision may be made by another group of people who are knowledgeable about the child.
Do I have a say in decisions about my child’s placement?
Yes. Parents are members of any group that decides their child’s educational placement.[ii] The team must include people who know:
- The child
- What the evaluation results mean
- What types of placements are appropriate
How does the team decide on a child’s placement?
The first option the team must consider is placement in the general education classroom at the school your child would attend if not disabled.[iii] The team needs to answer these questions:
- Can this child be educated satisfactorily in the general education classroom?
- What supplementary aids, services, and supports does the child need to be educated in the general education classroom?[iv]
Are there any rules about placement decisions?
Yes. Your child’s placement must be:
- Based on your child’s unique needs as documented in the IEP
- Determined at least once a year
- As close to your child’s home as possible so your child can be educated in the school he would attend if he was not disabled.[v]
Your child’s placement may not be based on:
- Your child’s disability category or label or severity of the disability (i.e., children with autism are placed in a class with other children with autism)
- The school’s service delivery model (i.e., all children with learning disabilities receive “pull out’ or resource services)
- The availability of special education and related services, staff location, or school district convenience. [vi]
Continuum of Alternative Placements
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that schools provide a continuum of alternative placements for children with disabilities.[vii]
What is the “continuum of alternative placements?”
The continuum of alternative placements refers to places where children receive special education services. Placements are on a continuum, from least to most restrictive. Your child’s placement may be in:
- A regular classes, with needed supplementary aids and services
- A special class where all children in the class receive special education services for some or all of the day
- A special school
- A hospital or other institution
- Another setting
In making a placement decision, the team must look at the full continuum of placement options.[viii] . . . .
[i] Commentary in 71 FR at 46588
[ii] 20 U.S.C. § 1414(e); 34 C.F.R. § 300.327; also Guide to the IEP: Deciding Placements from the U.S. Department of Education. URL: www.ed.gov/parents/needs/speced/iepguide/index.html#deciding
[iii] 34 C.F.R. § 300.116
[iv] 34 C.F.R. § 300.42; 34 C.F.R. § 300.114 – 300.116
[v] 20 U.S.C. § 1412(a)(5); 34 C.F.R § 300.314 – 300.317
[vi] Commentary in 71 FR at 46588
[vii] 20 U.S.C. § 1412(a)(5); 34 C.F.R. § 300.115
[viii] 34 C.F.R. § 300.115
Can a student not receive services over the year for up to 10 days and it not have to be made up? I was told we have 10 days and this is something new to me. I was also told to change a students placement for resource to full inclusion and we had 10 days for a trial period is that correct?
Betty, these sound like state or district specific rules. I suggest you contact your state parent training & information project for information. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center
Betty, If I understand your question, you were told to change a child’s placement from resource to full inclusion for a trial period. When I hear that services are being reduced or changed, a red flag goes up. You don’t mention an IEP meeting or whether the parents were involved in making these decisions.
If the TEAM in Connecticut- parent, administrator, general education teacher, special education teacher, social worker all agree that the placement of a child is not the correct setting with 10 hours of resource. Can the district refuse that decision and reverse the teams decision back to resource?
I assume this is what the state calls the required IEP team. So what you describe would not be legal. Your state parent training & information project or disability rights project should be able to assist you. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center
There is an LEA assigned for my school. Students with an IEP are assigned Case Managers to complete their IEP. Does the LEA have the right to make changes to the IEP without informing the case manager of the changes?
I have a preschool student that resides in our district and was found eligible for special education services. The student currently attends a preschool in the community and the parents do not want to take the student out of the community preschool to attend the district’s preschool, but would like to be provided with the special education services the student is eligible for. What is the district’s obligation to provide these services when the student will not be enrolling with the district?
In some cases like this a district has a responsibility to provide some services. I suggest contacting the state parent training, & information project to learn about this possibility. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center
Basically, the parents have declined special education services. The district is not responsible for providing services in the private sector. Sometimes, students come to the public school specifically for the service time and then spend the rest of the time in the community school.
Question on last minute change of school placement with less than 20hours notice. Incoming 11th grade student in CA registered to return to their comprehensive highschool. Day before school starts parent contacted by highschool informing that student is being transferred to the local continuation school and needs to go register there. This was not discussed or agreed on at end of year IEP in June. Student failed a few classes during 1st semester of 10th grade related to absences/impairments of their disability. What rights does student/parent have in this situation? Seems like district has violated rights and not followed legal procedures here.
This seems like a change of placement to me which would trigger an IEP meeting to make the decision. I suggest contacting the parent training, & information that serves your part of CA. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center
Can the district decide to transfer a child to a different school solely based on his/her need for nursing services? Placement (special ed classroom) can be met at current neighborhood school, but child needs a nurse for tube-feeding. Instead of providing a nurse at his current school, parents were told that all students with any skilled nursing needs are transferred to a designated school in the complex (medically fragile school) as they always have a building nurse present on campus.
The answer to this question depends on many issues – where the child lives, if the parent gave consent to the change, did the child’s educational program change – read Jill G’s answer to a similar question here: https://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/change-in-placement/
You need to educate yourself about your child’s rights and your rights as a parent. Check the post, “Changing a Child’s Placement – Legal Resources –
Contact your state Parent Information and Training Center (PTI) for help and accurate info about how the law is interpreted in your state: https://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/
Can a student have a change of placement without a ARD? Example from Regular Ed to resource. I was told you could change services for up to ten days to see if it is appropriate.
No. Trying something for a period of time is allowed, if the ARD committee decides this. IDEA rules allow amending parts of an IEP. But TX does not allow amendments for change of placement. I work for the TX parent training & information project, Partners Resource Network. You can find our staff person who works with your area on the website. or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a teacher in an FLS class. I have a student that will be placed in an SLD classroom for “academic data collection”. I am the case manager and had no knowledge of this change. The parent agreed to the change of placement, but there was not an IEP meeting. Is this legal?
That would be a question for the special ed department of your state education agency. Your state parent training & information center might know. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center
A child is living in another state but enrolled in our online program. Can we as a team decide that the student enroll in the school where they are living?
I think that would depend on your state rules, & district policies. It is possible that the state would not allow funding for this student. Hope you can find the answer.
Is placing a student in a 4th/5th grade mix from an all 5th grade class (both are self contained) considered a change in placement? No information from school is forthcoming.