Can the IEP team refuse to place a child in special education due to excessive absences, even though an evaluation points to the need for placement?
No, the opposite is true. “Excessive” absences should trigger the team’s Child Find legal responsibilities. The school district should be concerned about the reasons for the student’s absences and determine whether he has a permanent or temporary condition related to a disability that caused these absences.
There are many reasons why children miss school – children with disabilities often have medical problems, and feel demoralized at school.
Some courts have examined whether a district failed to explore the cause for a student’s excessive absences and the impact this would have on a student’s educational progress.
The law requires schools to locate, identify and evaluate all children with disabilities from birth through age 21.
The Child Find mandate applies to all children who reside within a State, including children who attend private schools and public schools, highly mobile children, migrant children, homeless children, and children who are wards of the state. (20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(3))
This includes all children who are suspected of having a disability, including children who receive passing grades and are “advancing from grade to grade.” (34 CFR 300.111(c))
The law does not require children to be “labeled” or classified by their disability. (20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(3)(B); 34 CFR 300.111(d)).
For more about the school’s Child Find responsibilities, go to https://www.wrightslaw.com/info/child.find.index.htm