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Deborah: Can a retired special education teacher serve now as a parental advocate in the district in which she worked and retired?

  1. I totally agree with Jane. There are valuable insights that one brings to the table if you have worked in the district you are representing your client. Also, if the educator had a good reputation, etc. then I have seen both parties, the school and the advocate with the parents; forge relationships where they are working collaboratively towards desired outcomes for the student.

  2. Amy gives good advice. I wonder if this person may be serving as a surrogate parent. It is not uncommon for schools to use retired special ed staff for this.

  3. While I doubt there being any kind of “rule” that disallows this, I would caution parent advocacy agencies to avoid assigning retired special educators to serve as parent advocates in the same district they were previously employed. By allowing this, an unnecessary dynamic is brought into the process. It might be worth connecting with your parent advocacy organization to find out their thoughts in making their decision. When I retire in a few years (I’m a school psychologist) I may consider signing up to be a parent advocate, but would not do so for either of the two districts I’ve worked in.

    • I actually think that the retired teacher/professional is more aware of the particular district’s process since they are familiar with that district. Although federal laws are the same regardless of the location, each school district has their own way of handling their own process. Someone steeped in that information would be valuable to have on your side.

      A retired person is no longer under the employment of any school district. There is no conflict of interest.

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