When a Parent Makes Threats or Refuses to Sign an IEP
by Pat Howey, Special Education Advocate
I wrote an e-mail to my childs teacher saying that I will not
sign the next IEP if they do not give my child extra services.
not require parents to "sign" an IEP. Threatening to not sign
an IEP does not really mean much. Also, if you do not sign the IEP,
others may think you agree to it.
You have an absolute right to disagree with the IEP. Do not sit on that
right. If you disagree with the IEP, go ahead and sign it, but put a
note below or to the side of your name saying that your signature does
not mean that you agree with the IEP.
Read my article, Why
Do Schools Draw Lines in the Sand? Understanding the Playing Field,
Power Struggles, Schools Meetings & Follow Up Letters.
recommend that you take good notes.
If taking notes is hard for you,
take a tape recorder. Do NOT surprise the school. Send a note to the
IEP team coordinator advising that you will be taping the meeting. Offer
to provide a copy of the tape to the school.
leave the meeting, write a summary of all the things you asked for at
your childs IEP meeting. Write down the things that the school
agreed to do and the things the school did not agree to do. Sign and
date the note. Keep a copy for your file.
Meet Pat Howey
After the meeting, send a polite note to the person who chairs your
childs IEP meeting. Thank the team for meeting with you. Attach
your summary of what the school agreed to and did not agree to. If important
issues were not resolved, request another meeting.
to Advocacy has tips about how to prepare for meetings, how to use
a Parent Agenda and IEP Meeting Worksheet (see Chapters 25 and 26) and
how to write a letter to the IEP team about issues that were not resolved
(see Chapters 24 and 25) - these chapters include many sample letters
that you can tailor to your circumstances.
Read more Ask
the Advocate articles by Pat Howey.
Patricia Howey has supported families of children with disabilities since 1985. She has a specific learning disability and became involved in special education when her youngest child entered kindergarten. Pat has children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who have a variety of disabilities and she has used her experience to advocate for better special education services for several of them.
Pat is a charter member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), serving on its Board of Directors from 2000 through 2003. She has been a Commissioner on the Tippecanoe (County) Human Relations Committee, a graduate of Leadership Lafayette and Partners in Policymaking, and a member of the Wrightslaw Speakers Bureau. She has been on the faculty of the College of William and Mary Law School’s Institute of Special Education Advocacy since its inception in 2011.
Pat has an A.S. and a B.A. in Paralegal Studies from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, where she graduated magna cum laude. She is an Indiana Registered Paralegal and an affiliate member of the Indiana Bar and the American Bar Associations.
Pat began her advocacy career as a volunteer for the Task Force on Education for the Handicapped (now InSource), Indiana’s Parent Training and Information Center. In 1990, she opened her advocacy practice and served families throughout Indiana by representing them at IEP meetings, mediation, and due process hearings.
In 2017, Pat closed her advocacy practice and began working on a contract basis as a special education paralegal. Attorneys in Indiana, Texas, and California contracted with her to review documents, spot issues, draft due process complaints, prepare for hearings, and assist at hearings. In January 2019, she became an employee of the Connell Michael Kerr law firm, owned by Erin Connell, Catherine Michael, and Sonja Kerr. Her duties have now expanded to assisting with federal court cases.
the World -- One Child at at Time."
Patricia L. Howey, B.A., IRP
West Point, Indiana 47992-0117