As a parent, one of your most important priorities is ensuring that your child receives the education they are entitled to. This is especially important when the child has certain disabilities. Special education programs in the state of Pennsylvania are designed to meet the needs of children with disabilities at no cost to parents. State and federal laws provide special protections for these students to receive the support they need.
When a child needs these services, the school district must go through a screening process to decide if the child should be evaluated for special education. A school can decide to evaluate a child, but parents can begin the process themselves. Once the evaluation is finished, parents will be provided with the results and ultimate decision regarding their child’s education. However, some parents do not always agree with the findings of an evaluation. When this happens, it is important to know that there are steps that can be taken to address this disagreement.
Disagreeing With School Evaluations
When parents disagree with the evaluation of their child that is done by the school, there are certain ways these situations can be handled. One effective way that a parent’s concerns can be addressed is informally through writing a letter. This allows them to inform the evaluation team of the specific areas that were missed in the evaluation.
However, sometimes this has already been done or a parent does not feel comfortable in doing so. When this happens, the next step can be to have a child reevaluated by an independent evaluator. An Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) uses a professional outside of the child’s school to determine whether or not they are eligible for special education.
Independent Educational Evaluations
When a parent wants to obtain an IEE, there are two different ways to do this:
- Asking the school district to pay for the evaluation
- Pay for the evaluation on your own
It is important to know that parents have a lawful right to request an IEE at public expense. In doing so, they are required to notify the district that they are in disagreement with the evaluation and request that it pay for an IEE. However, it is crucial to understand that the school can file a due process complaint claiming their evaluation was appropriate. This can lead to a hearing in which a hearing officer determines if the evaluation was appropriate or not. If the district agrees to pay for the IEE, parents are not required to choose from its list of evaluators. If the selected evaluator does not meet the criteria, parents can argue why they believe this evaluator is necessary to conduct the IEE. The school district cannot impose any other deadlines or conditions for the IEE.
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Anderson, Converse & Fennick is an experienced law firm in York County, Pennsylvania focusing on Education Law, Family Law, Estate Planning, and Civil Litigation matters. If you need a knowledgeable attorney that will effectively represent your interests, contact Anderson, Converse & Fennick today.