Home > Ask the Advocate > When a Parent Makes Threats or Refuses to Sign an IEP

The Special Ed Advocate newsletter
It's Unique ... and Free!

Enter your email address below:

Training Programs

Aug. 22 - TRT-CLE

Sept. 24 - MD via ZOOM

Full Schedule


Topics from A-Z
Free Newsletter
Seminars & Training
Yellow Pages for Kids
Press Room

Books & Training

Wrightslaw Storesecure store lock
  Advocate's Store
  Student Bookstore
  Exam Copies
Training Center
Mail & Fax Orders

Advocacy Library

Cool Tools
Doing Your Homework
Ask the Advocate
Newsletter Archives
Short Course Series
Success Stories

Law Library

Fed Court Complaints
IDEA 2004
McKinney-Vento Homeless
Section 504


American Indian
Assistive Technology
Autism Spectrum
Behavior & Discipline
College/Continuing Ed
Due Process
Early Intervention
  (Part C)

Episodic, such as
   Allergies, Asthma,
   Diabetes, Epilepsy, etc

Future Planning
High-Stakes Tests
Homeless Children
IDEA 2004
Identification & Child Find
Juvenile Justice
Law School & Clinics
Letters & Paper Trails
LRE / Inclusion
Military / DOD
Parental Protections
PE and Adapted PE
Privacy & Records
Procedural Safeguards
Progress Monitoring
Related Services
Research Based

Response to Intervention

Restraints / Seclusion
   and Abuse

School Report Cards
Section 504
Teachers & Principals
Twice Exceptional (2e)
VA Special Education

Resources & Directories

Advocate's Bookstore
Advocacy Resources
  Disability Groups
  State DOEs
  State PTIs
Free Flyers
Free Pubs
Free Newsletters
Legal & Advocacy
   Legal Terms
   Assessment Terms
Best School Websites


Print this page

When a Parent Makes Threats or Refuses to Sign an IEP
by Pat Howey, Special Education Advocate

I wrote an e-mail to my child’s teacher saying that I will not sign the next IEP if they do not give my child extra services.

IDEA does 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.

I also 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.

After you leave the meeting, write a summary of all the things you asked for at your child’s 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.

After the meeting, send a polite note to the person who chairs your child’s 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.

From Emotions 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.

Meet Pat Howey

Pat HoweyPatricia 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.

"Changing the World -- One Child at at Time.

Contact Information

Patricia L. Howey, B.A., IRP
POB 117
West Point, Indiana 47992-0117
E-mail: specialedconsulting@gmail.com
Webpage: https://cmklawfirm.com/

Revised: 07/20/19

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon The Special Ed Advocate: It's Free!