Parent Rights: SURROGATE PARENTS

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Shannon:  I am a Program Specialist. I have several students that live with family members. Family members have been given guardianship by the courts but ed rights have not been removed from parents. Our district legal counsel states that we need JV-535 in order for guardians to sign off for assessments and make educational decisions. However, the more I research it appears the the legal guardians ( both relatives) should meet the definition of “parent” and the district should be able to proceed without providing an outside surrogate. My SELPA agrees that we should be able to proceed with the current guardians…however, district personnel is in disagreement. They are stating that JV-535 should be provided or an outside surrogate is necessary. Do you have any clear, concise information that you can provide.

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Samantha

I have a quick question…If a child was involved in an altercation in school and the child is 18, and is charged and placed in jail…The district is wanting to conduct a manifestation meeting, and the district later finds out that the child’s father is also incarcerated. Do the district continue with the manifestation meeting, and does the district surrogate parent step in the manifestation meeting.

Wrightslaw

Shannon, Congratulations, your research paid off.

The IDEA includes the legal definition of “parent.” (20 U.S.C. 1401(23)), see page 54 in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law.)
(23) Parent. The term ‘parent’ means
(A) a natural, adoptive, or foster parent of a child (unless a foster parent is prohibited by State law from serving as a parent);
(B) a guardian (but not the State if the child is a ward of the State);
(C) an individual acting in the place of a natural or adoptive parent (including a grandparent, stepparent, or other relative) with whom the child lives, or an individual who is legally responsible for the child’s welfare(emphasis added); or
(D) except as used in Sections 45(b)(2) and 439(a)(5), an individual assigned under either of those sections to be a surrogate parent.