Private Schools: SPECIAL EDUCATION EVALUATION IN A PAROCHIAL SCHOOL

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Jamie: I am the resource teacher at a private school. As part of my job, I work on referrals for any student that we may believe may need a special ed evaluation. We are talking maybe 2 children a year. Our LEA always denies the initial evaluation, stating because they make small gains in RTI the eval is not warranted etc. however sometimes the whole picture of the child is not considered. Can anyone give a list of the reasons a LEA can deny an initial evaluation for a student in a private school? Thank you!

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Jamie: Are you familiar with the Child Find mandate in the IDEA (federal special ed law)?
Child Find requires all school districts to identify, locate and evaluate all children with disabilities, regardless of the severity of their disabilities. This obligation to identify all children who may need special education services exists even if the school does not provide special education services to the child. http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/child.find.index.htm

We wrote a post about Child Find for children who attend private and parochial schools – it should help: https://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/identifying-children-in-parochial-schools/

In a nutshell, the LEA should not refuse to evaluate any child who may have a disability and may need special ed services.

Morning

Do you think some school districts push back a bit with doing evaluation because the students are in private schools? I am hearing mixed reactions from those in the field. Some parents (those who can afford it) just pay for a evaluation through a private provider. I was told by one private school psychologist that one school district he worked with dragged their feet, the evals were not as extensive –and he encouraged parents to use private resources if possible. Yes, the law is clear — but dealing with the reality of trying to navigate through all of this is hard for a parent. Thus, that is why Wrighslaw’s website is important and a wonderful resource.