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Emily:  My school district regularly states that they will not test students for special education needs because they have a negative attendance pattern missing more than 10% of school yearly. They state that until the attendance issue is addressed they will not test. Is this a violation of CHILD FIND regulations.

  1. What are the regulations in the state of Ohio regarding attendance and testing? In my school district they are stating that absences exceeding 10% of the school year automatically stops the testing process. The student is then automatically advanced to the next grade, because they can’t retain them due to a possible disability. The cycle repeats the next year.

  2. Emily –

    If your district has a reasonable suspicion that any of these students has a disability and fails to act on it, yes, this is a dereliction of their child find duty. It would be particularly egregious if the excess absences were related to the students’ disabilities (as is often the case).

    If you are the parent of such a student, you can request a due process hearing to push the district to evaluate. Your local parent center can help you understand this and other rights and options you have (

    If you are a concerned individual, you may considering filing a state complaint on behalf of such students.

  3. I see this as a complex legal issue that would be best for Wrightslaw to address. On the surface it appears that they are violating Child Find regs. They are also using a blanket policy, & not looking at each student individually. They are using the IDEA “special rule for eligibility determination” as the basis for their policy. (300.306(b)) It says that a child is not eligible if the “determinant factor” is a lack of appropriate instruction in reading or math. So they seem to be taking the position that because of the absences the child has not received appropriate instruction. I am not sure what strategy or approach can be used to deal with their position. Involving the state agency could help.

    • Join the discussion…I’m getting conflicting answer on child find and section 504 (hidden disabilities- food allergy). Does a school system have the legal requirement to identify these students, evaluate, and offer reasonable accommodations?

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