The parents rights handbook received is the responsibility of the parents to know and understand what it means so that the child receives the care he/she is entitled too. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) is the federal law and Article 9, Section 115C of the North Carolina General Statutes is the State law concerning the education of students with disabilities. Part B of the IDEA refers to the part of the law for children with disabilities who are ages three (3) through 21.
Children with disabilities include those with autism, deaf-blindness, deafness, developmental delay, serious emotional disability, hearing impairment, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, health impairment, orthopedic impairment, specific learning disabilities, speech and/or language impairment, traumatic brain injury and visual impairment as stated in the parents rights handbook.
The 13 legal rights(procedural safeguards) for the parents of children with disabilities are as followed;
- Parental Consent – Informed about the action you are giving consent for, in your native language so that is is understood by the parent with a signed written consent describing the action that has taken place. The consent is voluntary and can be withdrawn at anytime unless the action has already taken place then you can not change what happened before consent was given. Before providing special education services the consent of parent must be received. Reevaluations can be performed without consent if parent does not respond to consent notice or IEP meeting with documentation to back up efforts of contacting parent.
Prior Written Notice– Notice is to be given in native language of parent. A description of actions to be taken or refused is to be noted stating the reasons why including contacts if questions should arise.
- Independent Educational Evaluation – If you disagree with the school systems evaluation an outside provider not employed by the school can evaluate your child with fee paid for by the local education agency. They must inform parent’s where they can receive an independent evaluation that meets the educational criteria set forth.
- Confidentiality and Access to Records – Parent’s have the right to be told how The NC Department of Public Instruction will keep their child’s information confidential by the state to include destruction of information, educational records and personal information such as child’s name and address. Parent’s have the right to inspect and review any records without delay up to 45 days of request. A fee may be charged for copies of child’s records.
- Unilateral Placement of Children with Disabilities by Parents in Private Schools at Public Expense – A private school for the child will not be paid at the public’s expense if the child has been give a free appropriate education in public school within a timely manner. Limitations or denial for reimbursement may occur if the public school the child is attending was not told at the last IEP meeting that the child will be attending a private school or written notice 10 business days prior to leaving public school was not given.
- Availability of Mediation – A neutral third party may be hired free of charge to parent and voluntarily agreed upon as a mediator to help the parents and school resolve issues concerning the child’s identification, evaluation, program, or placement.
- State Complaint Procedures – A written and signed complaint that a school is not abiding by the special education law and regulations found in IDEA, Article 9 of Section 115C in the NC General Statutes. The complaint must not exceed 1 year from the date the incident occurred. It takes up to 60 days to investigate a complaint an extension may be offered only if there are unusual circumstances.
- Filing a Due Process Petition – A state complaint filed within one year of incident requiring a hearing. It takes 30 days for resolution and 45 days for hearing and decision to be made. The final outcome is made by impartial Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Due process petition are filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings and the Superintendent or EC Director of the local LEA. A due process petition cannot be filed for promotion, retention, personnel issues, and discrimination. While waiting for the hearing the child must remain in their current educational placement unless otherwise agreed upon by local education agency and parent.
- Hearings on Due Process Petitions – When a due process petition is filed a hearing must occur. Neither the parent or local education agency can bring up issues at the hearing that were not in your due process petition. Within 5 business days of the hearing the parent and local education agency must show each of the parties the information that will be used in the hearing. Usually within 45 days after hearing the decision will be mailed to parent and local education agency.
- State Level Appeals – If the parent disagrees with the judge’s decision in a due process hearing, an appeal may be filed to the Exception Children’s Division within 30 days of receiving the decision.
- Civil Actions – The parent has a right to file civil action within 30 days if he/she does not agree with the findings and decision by a State review officer.
- Attorney’s Fees – In any action or proceeding brought under IDEA, if the parent prevails, the court may award reasonable attorneys fees to parent. The attorney may have to pay all court cost if the attorney filed a petition or court case that the court finds is frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation or continued to litigate after the litigation clearly became frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation. The court could may decide for he parent, local education agency or parent to pay any fee’s.
- Disciplinary Procedures – All rulings are made on a case by case basis.
When the legal rights are given (a minimum of once per year);
- When your child is first referred for evaluation or when you request an evaluation;
- When you request a copy of the Procedural Safeguards;
- When your child is removed for disciplinary reasons with a change in placement
- Upon receipt of the first State complaint and/or the first due process petition in a school year, if you file a State complaint or request a due process hearing
- Upon each revision to the Procedural Safeguards.
Understanding the parents rights handbook takes a bit of patience to read through, be sure to read it at least once if you have a child with disabilities in Wake County.