Since When is a Parent Required to be “Present” for a Spec Ed Referral?

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I am a teacher in the district and feel like I’m being jerked around by our sped director. She says a parent has to be present for a teacher to formally refer a student for special education testing? I don’t mean “giving/denying” permission to test.

Does a parent have to be present simply for the teacher to refer a child for an evaluation?

If you feel like you are being “jerked around ” you need to learn what the law really says.  Look at what IDEA says about evaluations.

Turn to p. 93 and p. 240 in your law book (Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition.)

300.301(b)  Request for Initial Evaluation

“Consistent with the consent requirements in 300.300, either a parent of a child or a public agency may initiate a request for an initial evaluation to determine if the child is a child with a disability.”

Do you see anything in the law that says a parent must be “present” to request and evaluation or for a teacher to refer a child for an evaluation?

I’m not even sure what your director means about a parent being “present” for a referral. Ask her!

300.30o Parental Consent

Consent for the evaluation is another issue.  You’ll find the requirements on p. 92 and p. 238 of your law book.

Avoid Word of Mouth Advice

But do not rely on this post to give you an answer.  And you shouldn’t rely on other school people to tell you about the law.

School personnel’s knowledge of the law is often dependent on what they were told in some meeting – or by “word of mouth.” Few school staff read the law – but often dispense advice.

As a teacher, if you think you are getting inaccurate advice about the law, you need to find out what the law says.

Get your own copy of IDEA and the federal regulations – and look up answers to your questions.

Verify School Policies

Whether you are a teacher or a parent…

When the school says something must to be done (i.e., “parent has to be present”), you will want to be well-informed about the district’s policy.

Ask the administrator for the written school policy containing this information.

It is common for schools to say they have a “policy” but when you ask for a copy, you are told that it is an “unwritten policy” (which isn’t a policy at all).


Unwritten Policies = No Policy

Verifying Unwritten School Policies

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