Parent Involvement in Placement Decisions

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My child attends school ‘out of district’ because our district had no program for a multiple needs-high needs student. He has one year left of school (age 20).

Now the home school district wants to save money by making a new classroom for this program. My son will need to move and adjust to another change. No one feels it is in his best interests to be moved.

Decisions about placement are to be made after the child’s IEP is developed. Parents are members of any team that develops the IEP and decides on placement.

IDEA Section 1414(e) requires that the school “…ensure that the parents of each child with a disability are members of any group that makes decision on the educational placement of their child.”

If the school places a child in a private placement because they could not meet his/her unique and complex needs…

And then the school decides to return the child to the public school without holding an IEP meeting where this decision is made…

The school has predetermined the child’s placement.

Courts have held that schools may not predetermine placement. The placement decision must be made by the team.

If the parents, staff at the private placement, etc. disagree with a proposed placement, the school is required to provide them with written notice. Written notice (PWN) includes several requirements. See IDEA Section 1415(b)(3).

If a parent decides to fight this, and because the law is interpreted differently around the country, I would advise the parent to consult with an attorney who has expertise in special education law and litigation.

I doubt you actually need to retain an attorney. In this case, a parent does need advice about how to proceed so their child can remain in the current educational placement.

If there is litigation, the current placement becomes the “stay put” placement – the child must remain in that placement until litigation ends.

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I am a sp ed advocate representing a bright 4th grader (average cognitive ability) whose dyslexia has caused him to fall far behind in reading and written language.
The IEP team has made a predetermined “decision”, with no discussion with the very aware and involved parents. The conclusion they made was to change his placement from regular ed with resource to a self contained classroom!!!!

Two questions
Parents have refused placement in self contained. Can the Team follow through with the placement without parental consent?

Must the parents spend thousands of dollars in lawyers’ fees to rectify the inappropriate decision?


Yes, once a student is being served in special ed the school does not need the parent’s consent. But the parent can withdraw consent for any special ed services. The federal dispute resolution processes are provided for parents to fight decisions they agree with. A state complaint and mediation involve little if any cost. In due process parents do not have to have an attorney, but the state should have a list of low cost attorneys, and every state has a disability rights group that handle some cases for no cost.


Thank you


Please help- After years of fighting for help for my son with Dyslexia, i signed a settelment agreement and district was to provide tuition reimbursement within 60 days. They were very late forcing me to re-enroll after just 10 weeks- but the District said NO enrollment and my son has no school. The district breached their own contract. My son is being prevented from enrolling back in our public school although i have not received any $.
I filed with the CDE and they are investigating.
Someone help.


You should check with your state parent training & information center or disability rights project. They would know your state’s rules on this. In TX if a settlement agreement is not followed the parents can file a suit in state or federal court.


IEP team decided without me or my wife’s input the placement for our child. We feel that he needs to be educated with non-disabled peers. School does not care about the law or what we want they just do what they want. Our son was placed in a life skills room. We don’t like this and have asked in writing for an IEP meeting to resolve this issue. School refuses to meet. What should we do?


It’s good that you did this in writing, and hopefully they responded in writing. If not, you should ask for that.
There is a lot of great information on this site about the technicalities of the letter writing process (registered mail or not, hand delivered letter etc.) as well as letter content.
You have the right under IDEA to file for due process. The district probably have their own procedures for filing a grievance, but they cannot deny this. They may want to begin with mediation, but my guess is they would rather have the IEP meeting, because they know, that is your right. They should also know that placement decisions are made by the IEP TEAM, and that team includes the parents.


You should learn about the state dispute resolution processes that IDEA requires states to have. Your state parent training and information center can assist you.


I currently have a client who is placed in a theraputic day school based on district recommendation. The alternative placement notified parents they no longer could support this student and gave 30 days notice for change of placement. We are 15 days til this student will be without an educational placement. District sent packets to alternative placement options but have not heard back. Parents want to tour prior to agreeing to placement. My question is what happens if after 30 days we have no alternative placement ? What is the districts responsibility to this child regarding education? What is alternative placements responsibility to the child? Does he stay home until a placement is found? If the district home schools, what are they required to provide? This child has an IEP and BIP.


What if a child is doing well at school and making progress when there, but the parents continuously hospitalize him for behaviors outside of school, not allowing the child to access public education? When in the CBAT programs and able to attend current programming, the child thrives, and there are no issues. Issues only occur in the home setting, and now parent is requesting residential placement.


My daughter started highschool this year i am livid because #1 I was not involved in my childs placement or her program. #2 they are not accommodating my child appropriately #3 i asked if they had an extensive reading program their answer is no….#4 I have never received a BIP OR FBA but yet her IEP Says yes…#5my daughter’ s one on one is just an aide not a paraprofessional her ABA is just a special ed teacher not board certified#6 my daughter is in an adapted PE class and she shouldn’t be.


I suggest that you contact your state parent training & information center to assist you.


Cynthia, I am an Adapted PE Specialist; you mentioned that your daughter is in an APE class and she shouldn’t be. Does she attend a general ed PE class as well?


My son is 3 years old. I had an evaluation through public school in my county and they are saying he is ASD. They state they cannot accommodate the services he needs in my local district, so they want to place him in a school about 45 minutes from my house. My biggest issue is the school is in a terrible neighborhood. There is another comparable school which would fit his needs 15 minutes closer to me and in a way better neighborhood . The school accepts IEP students, but the school district will not open a contract with them and they will not tell me why. What can I do?


What if the psychiatrist feels it is in the best interest to remain on Home Instruction rather than attend a special needs school? As the parent I wholeheartedly agree with the doctor, but at the CSE meeting I was told that is not an option. Is that true?


Did you provide documentation from the psychiatrist stating the medical necessity of home based instruction?


Legally it should be considered as an option. However, IEP teams only have to consider a doctor’s recommendations. The team must develop an IEP reasonably calculated to provide FAPE, & with appropriately ambitious goals. If you do not believe that the IEP does this, especially if it is the same or very similar to what has been tried in the past, you can use the dispute resolution processes provided under IDEA. You can propose that home instruction be provided while an appropriate IEP is being developed. Your state parent training & information center can be of assistance to you.

Remain Calm

I’m parent advocate. Child w/Intellectual Disabilities was placed by LEA in state-approved non-public school 3 yrs ago as part of mediation ag’ment pursuant to state admin complaint filed by parent re: FAPE. LEA wants to return student to LEA. During IEP meeting, parent asked, “What’s in place now in LEA to meet my student’s needs?” The SpEd Dir, new in her position replied, “Me.” IEP mtg started with draft IEP, which parent did not have a copy of prior to mtg. Under PLAAFP, Student Interests/Prefs, first line read, “‘Student’ is transferring from ‘non-public’ school to ‘LEA.'” Parent, I & attorneys agree this appears to be predetermination of placement prior to IEP development. Does anybody know of written OSEP guidance or Case Law that will be helpful. We’re invoking stay put.

R Gaiffe

Can a parent tell the IEP team they do not care if a child makes academic progress as long as they are in a setting that will improve their social skills. Parent says academic progress is not important


Yes, but the law requires that schools teach students the state academic curriculum. The school is also to address all of the student’s needs which includes social skills. So the IEP team needs to reach a balance between these requirements..


I’m reading this thread on placement issues and I have a question too. My ASD mainstreamed daughter started a new school last March after a year of homeschooling, which we did due to intense (and ignored) bullying. We pulled her when she started to decompemsate, one battle after another with principal. IEP got botched. We never signed it. Big mess. New school: principal seems to have bias. Followed old, outdated IEP (the one we never signed), which we objected to (too restrictive), THEN principal moved our daughter UP a grade level without testing or data (minus her math class, which was grade level). It’s led to countless problems. We have advocate. Is this move legal under FAPE?


We are having similar problems with our son, had to be moved due to bullying by principle, new principle seemed pre-biased by administration. The school district unable/unwilling to meet needs of child-stand firm-have to get education lawyer/for special needs child ASD & ADD and take them to court, also get media involved, this seems to be the only way to get results. We moved to SC from NY. The school system down here is 20 years behind the rest of the country. But through this we will get private school placement that will meet his needs: willingly, with transportation’ at the school systems expense. If the school system cannot meet your child’s needs then this option. Keep all communication records, emails, notes, records. The bullying can be grounds for lawsuit.


What was the findings?


Can a child be put into a “controlled classroom” some children call them “Fundies classes” or a smaller classroom, a classroom for children with A.D.H.D issues, disruptive children or children with learning disabilities, Just based only on his or her personal, home and family life ? And not because they are disruptive and have no learning disabilities what so ever ? would this or wouldn’t it be discriminatory towards the child especially if this child does not have any of the above issues. This specific child had said that he received bullying and shamming for the fact that he was put into these classes who does not have any of the above issues! SO may some one on this thread please give me some answers if school can put child into one of these classes because of this reason ?!?!


I am having the same issues with my child, I am looking for this information too. Have you recieved any answers?


Hi James,

No they cannot be put into in Fundies class based on a home life. It sounds like the teacher can’t deal with the student and won’t help at all. Even if the student had issues like you mentioned they have to work with the parents to decide his placement.


My 7yo son was in a 15:1:1 class with a classification of ED. We ended the school year with the school district recommending a therapeutic school the only way to look at the school was to sign an Out of Placement form which we did so. After visiting the school we felt that it is not the right placement for him and told them so. They said that since the class he was in was unable to meet his needs and that there is only one SpEd class in the district for his grade he cannot go back. Their concern is that he is cognitively brighter than the other kids in the class that combined with the lack of impulse control and behaviors he has shown in the school setting last year will make it difficult to find any placement for him. Is it possible to not have a placement for him-What do we do next?


State & federal law gives parents the right to request help from the state in getting appropriate services for their child. Your state parent training and information center can assist you in your rights, and how to contact the state.


My son who has Ds is scheduled to start K in our new district/state. They are pushing for placement at the cluster program school for intellectual disabilities. We would like him to be educated with his siblings and neighborhood peers at the closest school to our house which has a spec. ed teacher, PT/OT/Speech and adaptive phy ed already in place and serves other children with specific learning disabilities, speech/language and sig developmental delay. They say they don’t have the resources at that school therefore he must attend the program school. It seems because he has a diagnosis of Ds, they have predetermined his need to be at the program school. Any thoughts or advice, school starts next Tues.


The home campus may not have the resources now, but the question is what resources are needed there to be able to serve your child. On this site’s homepage find LRE/Inclusion to find good resources to assist you in working with the school. Work with the special ed director, not just the campus staff. Your state parent training & information center can assist you also.


My daughter is blind and hearing impaired she has a hearing aid . She’s an amazing 13 year old and has always been mainstreamed, she just started middle school. Last year before the end of school we had a IEP put in place for the beginning of the year the principal at this school has made it clear that she’s not going to work with us . She has called her own IEP to determine if they are going to try to move her to another school in a closed classroom. Madison has her own parapro that stays with her through out the day and we can’t understand why this is happening. They lied to us about the resource class they have her in now , it turns out it’s a class for students with behavioral problems. We have every IEP since she was about 3 years old and nothing like this has ever been in place .


If you have not done so, involve the special ed director. They might have some influence with the principal. Your state parent training & information project will be able to assist you.


1. Hire an advocate or an attorney to attend this meeting with you – you have a lot of different issues at play, and the school sounds like it’s going to fight dirty.
2. Check your IEP carefully. Where does it say she will be educated? Is she to be educated in a regular classroom for any percentage of time? Remember, they are required to educate her in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). If she kept up in mainstream classrooms before, then that’s her LRE.
3. Invite her para to the meeting. She could provide insight into what’s going on, but remember, as an employee of the district, she’ll be under pressure to keep her mouth shut and toe the line.
4. If the principal refuses to work with you, file a state complaint. They can’t do that. Good luck!


My son is 5 and got accepted to an out of district school over a month ago now it’s 3 weeks away from the start of the school year and we received a email saying : We regret to inform you that your transfer request for your child to attend has been denied for the 2017-18 school year due to space
How should I go about this???


If the district followed their policy on accepting out of district transfers, there is probably little that you can do. Your state parent training & information can be a source to assist you with your options.


I am working on a Masters in Special Education and I am trying to understand when it would be ok to have the student share their insight when there needs to be a change in their placement. I understand that the special education teacher and general education teacher have opinions on when the student needs a change in placement, whether it is less restrictive, or more restrictive. Mostly it is always the parents deciding the placement and the student is left out of the dialogue. At what grade/age is it important to bring the student’s insight into the discussion? Why is it important to include the student’s opinion into the discussion?
Is there a link I can go to to read about this information?
Thank you for your help,


On this home page click on self-advocacy, & you will find a start on info on this issue.


FYI, the student MUST be given the opportunity to participate in his/her IEP meetings at age 14. However, if they’d are able to meaningfully contribute before that, the parent can “invite” them when they sign the Prior Parent Notification.


Our school is requesting an out of district placement for our 6 year old son and we support this decision. He has a very rare disease and a complex medical profile. He can also have behavioral issues.
We found a private special education school that would accommodate his learning style and behavioral needs. We offered to send him out of district with his own 1:1 nurse. The school said that academically he would be a perfect fit but because of his medical needs they are not comfortable with him there. They reported they would not have enough room for his 1:1 nurse in the classroom setting. Is it legal to deny him admittance due to his need for a nurse? Does this violate ADA?


My 6 year old son with high functioning autism was diagnosed this year. We have been highly involved in the IEP process and goals. The problem is that I have moved and am now considered “out of district” for his current school. The school system states that he must be moves to his in district school next year. However, I along with his teachers and therapists believe this will cause undue set backs in his learning when I am willing and able to provide transportation. The district says they will not make accommodations for him and autism is more common now than uncommon. So shouldn’t they know how important structure and consistency are? Is this a fight worth taking on? Is there any chance I will win what I believe is in the best interest of my son?


My 11 year old have adhd /ODD he have an IEP and also in special education room. His is taking medication. He insisting he doesn’t want to be in special education room with more than 10 children. I want to move him in LRE and I ask for a meeting to change him in Regular classroom but still qualifies for his service. They seems arguing with me that my son will not success there. but for the last couple weeks he seems good and improving in regular classroom. What do to? Please I need some advice.


Your state parent training & information project can assist you.


I was just given a letter since our child is out of district he is being denied to continue going to school he has been going to for 4 years to be in a special autism classroom program…now they want to deny him to come back because he is a out of district child…what do we do..


Study the district policy that they are using to make their decision. It may give you some options. If your child is out of district they have the right to refuse service, if they choose to or charge a tuition.