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Hurley:  I moved to TX with my special needs child. she had a TBI and requires accommodations. I called in June and July asking about what needed to be done prior to enrollment. I was told I couldn’t register her until August 10 or 11. Told to bring ARD paperwork from prior school when enrolling her which I did. School is supposed to start this Monday 8/22/16. I was told today 8/18/16 they would not let her enroll in school until they can arrange an ARD at the new school with the various therapy disciplines etc. Is this even legal?

  1. I work for the TX parent training & information center. I hope that you contacted our staff & that the school is moving forward with services for your child. If you need help in contacting our staff & working with the school, you can contact me at cnoe59@hotmail.com

  2. Hurley: As a general rule, when a child with a disability moves to a new school district – in the same state or a different state – the new school district must provide services that are comparable to the services in the previous IEP.

    As Jill G. correctly notes, if you move in the summer, the situation is murkier. There is case law that supports providing comparable services and case law that goes in the opposite direction.
    The best plan is to contact your local parent information center for reliable info about IEPs when children move to Texas: http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/

    But you contacted the school in June and July and provided paperwork re: your child’s services from the prior school. The school was “On Notice” that they needed to prepare for your child. The fact that most schools have limited staff in the summer is not an acceptable excuse for failing to meet and develop a plan before the school year begins. Please contact your Parent Training and Information Center for assistance.

  3. Your child would simply have the status of a general education student until the school completed their process. Your child would also have certain IDEA protections related to behavior because the school “had knowledge” that your child may have a disability.

    If I was in your position, and my child could be safely enrolled in school for a short time without the supports an IEP provided, I would *insist* they be enrolled right away. For them to not allow your child to begin would be discrimination.

    I encourage you to contact your local parent center to better understand your rights here, including how they may differ from federal law in your state: http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/. They should also be able to help you respond if the school still disallows enrollment.

  4. Hurley –

    When you move to a new state before the start of the new school year, under IDEA the new district *can* treat your child like one who has not yet been determined eligible for special education – i.e. complete an initial evaluation, determine eligibility, then draft an IEP and determine placement.

    They could also choose to honor the old IEP until they develop a new one. But this choice is completely their’s to make (see here for where this was asked and answered recently: https://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/transfers-state-to-state-move/).

    Still, the district CANNOT deny your child enrollment in school, if your child otherwise meets enrollment qualifications (usually things like residency, inoculations, a health screening, etc.).

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