Teacher: Writing IEPs for Kids I Don’t Teach

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My school did not hire a second-grade Special Education teacher for this academic year. The eight special education students in second grade have a long-term substitute who is not a certified teacher.

I have been asked to write the IEP for a student whose IEP is up for review. I didn’t provide any instruction to this student. All the data comes from the regular education teacher and the long-term substitute

I don’t feel comfortable signing off on an IEP when I provided no academic instruction.

What are my rights?

  1. Uncomfortable, lets understand the IEP is a legal document. There is Federal funding involved for each learning disabled student. Teacher must be trained and at times have a mentor. In my opinion how can you write a IEP and do not know the student, sounds like fraud ! QUESTION : Does anyone have specific laws on teachers writing an IEP ? It seems to me as long as the funding is coming in and no one says anything about the fraud taking place then it is OK. This is my opinion on this topic. I work in ASD and write IEP’s, working out of field, no training on writing IEP’s and write the whole IEP by myself till the meeting comes and then everyone has input. There has to be something we can do to stop this type of harassment at work and still not be threatened in being targeted. Keep up.

    • Jeff, the concept, and intent is that the IEP is written or finalized at the IEP meeting. Draft copies can be brought, but it is to be a group effort for the reasons you mention. There is nothing to prevent the campus from having a “pre-IEP meeting” with or without the parents to discuss issues, and develop a draft. The basic issue is that general and special ed administrators do not provide staff with the support and training they need.

  2. Basically, what I’m trying to say is because I’m a certified special education teacher, am I responsible for writing IEP’s of the students whom I don’t know because their teachers resigned? Because the school district will not hire teachers to replace them but prefer to use me instead when I have my own caseload to maintain.

    • Uncomfortable, As I think you know, the child’s special ed and general ed teachers are only two of several required members of the IEP team.

      That may not stop the admins from telling you to write IEPs for students you don’t know, instead of leaning on a different member of the team.

      This puts you out on a shaky limb with no net.

      You need to document what you are being told to do. There are several ways to do this.

      You can send an email or letter to the person who is requesting /requiring you to do this. Or you can document what you were told to do in a journal or in an email to a friend or fellow teacher.

      Assume the family of the student files a Complaint or requests a due process hearing. If you don’t document what you were told to do, you have no proof to protect yourself.

  3. Kathleen, can you please answer Sophie’s question? I am a special education teacher as well, and I am being asked to do IEPs for other special education students because their teachers resided several months ago. The school district has not replaced the teachers; however, the new special education supervisor is requesting I write the IEP’s because I’m a special ed teacher. I feel uncomfortable writing the IEP’s of students whom I don’t know. What are my right???

    • This situation is caused by administrative decisions or lack of dealing with problems. Sometimes a special ed director may have the willingness, & ability to get things changed. If administrators or a school board do not address such situations, and teachers are not part of a union, I am not sure what rights, or recourse they have.

  4. I’m having trouble understanding your question. Could you proofread it, clarify your role and the cast of characters? Thank you.

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