All children get to go to school and get a fair chance to learn. All children means ALL CHILDREN-including children with disabilities. For many children with disabilities, getting a fair chance to learn means getting individualized school services to meet their particular needs. To meet children's individual needs, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that public schools provide specially designed instruction according to an individualized educational program (IEP). The Legal Center helps ensure that children with disabilities get appropriate school services.
The IEP is developed through a team of educators, including the student's parents and, when appropriate, the student. Obviously, there may be disagreements regarding how school services are to be provided. The student's parents may disagree with the educators, or the educators may disagree with each other. Everyone may not always see eye-to-eye on the IEP.
Parents have the right to a fair process to resolve these disagreements. There are informal and formal ways to resolve disagreements with school districts. For example, many disagreements can, and often should, be worked out at the IEP meeting. Most school districts also have informal dispute resolution procedures that involve meetings with school staff such as the student's teacher, the building principal, the director of special education, and the district superintendent.
Moreover, if both the student's parents and the school district agree to try mediation, the Colorado Department of Education will provide mediators to help resolve the disagreement. Parents may also file complaints with the Colorado Department of Education if they believe the school district is violating the IDEA.
If these informal methods to resolve disagreements aren't successful, or parents prefer to pursue a more formal process, the IDEA provides parents with the right to a due process hearing before an impartial hearing officer. Parents have the right to a hearing to resolve disagreements relating to the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or the provision of a free appropriate public education to their child.
The Legal Center offers a range of services to help ensure that students with disabilities receive a free, appropriate public education. Our services range from offering general information regarding special education law to providing technical assistance to help solve individual problems and directly representing parents at IEP meetings and dispute resolution procedures.
The Everyday Guide to Special Education Law, Second Edition
The second edition of The Everyday Guide to Special Education Law, by Randy Chapman, was published in 2008. It is an essential tool for parents to help them get the best education possible for their child with disabilities. This book is also a great resource for teachers and school administrators.
Preventing Litigation in Special Education Workbook
New Preventing Litigation in Special Education Workbook is now available! Click here to order.
Or, click here to order the e-book format.
Preventing Litigation in Special Education Workbook is a supplement to the award winning book, The Everyday Guide to Special Education Law. This Workbook combines practical information on special education law with actual case examples that are presented in a concise story format.