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What Are Your Rights in the IEP Process?

By Andrew M.I. Lee, JD

Does your child have an Individualized Education Program (), or is your child being evaluated for one? If so, federal law gives you some important rights. Find out what your rights are in the IEP process.

The Right to Participate in IEP Meetings

You have the right to participate in IEP meetings that discuss your child’s educational needs. You also have the right to ask for an IEP meeting at any time. You can join meetings by phone if necessary.

The Right to an Independent Evaluation

You can have your child evaluated by outside professionals—but in most cases, you’ll have to pay for the private evaluation. The school must consider the evaluation but doesn’t have to accept the results.

The Right to Give (or Deny) Consent

A school must obtain your written permission (called “informed consent”) before evaluating your child or providing special education services. You can agree to all, some, or none of the services offered.

The Right to Disagree With a School’s Decision

You can ask to meet with the school to reach an agreement with the help of a third party (called “mediation”). You can ask for a due process hearing in which a hearing officer makes a decision.

The Right to Private Education Paid by the Public School (in some cases)

If you transfer your child to a private school, the school district usually doesn’t have to reimburse you. However, if your child needed services and the public school failed to provide them, it might have to pay for the tuition. You’ll have to ask for this in a due process hearing.

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