Notice of Due Process Rights & Procedural Safeguards
Parents of students entitled to special education services should receive a copy of the Procedural Safeguards Manual for Parents at least once each school year, during Individualized Education Program (IEP) reviews or reevaluations. Parents must also receive a copy of the Procedural Safeguards Manual upon initial referral or request for evaluation, upon filing of an initial yearly due process complaint or state complaint, and/or whenever a decision is made to take a disciplinary action that constitutes a change in their child’s placement. Parents must also receive a copy of the Procedural Safeguards Manual upon request. The following is a brief summary of special education procedural safeguards. It is not not intended to take the place of the Procedural Safeguards Manual for Parents. Complete copies of the manual, in multiple languages, are available at the bottom of this page.
Summary of Procedural Safeguards
For each child with a disability who requires special education, your public school district and area education agency have the responsibility to provide a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.
Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
Free means that special education services are provided at no cost to the parents. You may be charged the same general education fees that are charged to other parents, such as fees for extracurricular activities or lab fees. Appropriate means that your child’s program must provide the right kind of services based on your child’s needs and enough services to make it likely for your child to receive educational benefit. Educational benefit is a broad term that includes access to the general education curriculum used for all children, access to the same activities and settings as children who do not have disabilities, and services and supports that are reasonably calculated to allow your child to make progress that is appropriate in light of your child’s circumstances.
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
Your child will attend classes, participate in nonacademic and extracurricular activities and receive services with children who are not disabled to the maximum extent appropriate.
FAPE and LRE for your child are protected by rights you have as parents. These parental rights are referred to as procedural safeguards and they assure that you have an important role in planning and decision-making for your child. These safeguards include:
- Parents have the right to provide information for their child’s evaluation,
- Parents have the right to be a member of any group that makes decisions regarding the educational placement of their child, and
- Parents have the right to participate in meetings related to their child’s identification, evaluation, educational placement and the provision of FAPE.
- Parents have the right to be informed in a timely manner of meetings related to their child’s identification, evaluation, educational placement and the provision of FAPE,
- Parents have the right to be informed of any proposed changes in their child’s identification, evaluation, educational placement and the provision of FAPE,
- Parents have the right to be informed of any refusal by the school or AEA to make changes that you have requested in their child’s identification, evaluation, educational placement, and the provision of FAPE, and
- Parents have the right to receive notices in a manner and language they can understand.
- Parents have the right to give, withhold or withdraw their consent to an evaluation to determine if their child is eligible for special education services. Consent to an evaluation may be withdrawn before the evaluation is completed.
- Parents have the right to give, withhold or withdraw their consent to reevaluations of their child. Consent to a reevaluation may be withdrawn before the reevaluation is completed.
- Parents have the right to give, withhold or withdraw their consent for their child’s initial placement in special education. Consent to an initial placement may be withdrawn before the placement is made.
- Parents have the right to give, withhold or withdraw their consent for billing insurance providers (e.g., Medicaid) to pay for special education and related services. Consent for insurance billing may be withdrawn at any time.
- Parents have the right to withdraw their consent for continued special education and related services for their child. Revocation of consent must be done in writing.
- Parents have the right to review educational records,
- Parents have the right to ask that records be changed if they believe the records are incorrect or misleading, and
- In many circumstances, parents have the right to give their consent before records are disclosed to other agencies or persons. Disclosing records without parent consent is allowed by the law only under certain circumstances, such as to another school to which the student is transferring, to respond to a health or safety emergency, to auditors, or to comply with a court order or subpoena.
Independent Educational Evaluation Right:
Parents have the right to request an independent evaluation at no cost to them if they disagree with the evaluation done by the school and AEA.
Dispute Resolution Rights:
Parents have the right to request mediation of a dispute. Iowa’s AEAs have trained resolution facilitators who can assist with dispute resolution for any issue. The Iowa Department of Education can also provide a mediator for special education issues. Mediation conferences provide the opportunity for parents and the school or area education agency to resolve disagreements cooperatively with the assistance of a trained mediator.
Due Process Hearing
Parents have the right to request a due process hearing if a disagreement about their child’s evaluation, educational placement or provision of FAPE is not successfully resolved in other ways. Requests must be made within two years of the action by the school or AEA that led to the disagreement. If parents request a hearing, they will be offered a resolution session by their child’s school or AEA and they will be offered a mediation conference by the Iowa Department of Education. A mediation conference or a resolution session provides the opportunity for parents and the school district or area education agency to resolve the disagreement.
A due process hearing is presided over by an impartial administrative law judge who hears both sides, reviews evidence, and makes a ruling. The parties will be required to disclose evaluations and recommendations that they seek to use in a due process hearing. Due process hearing decisions can be appealed to state or federal courts.
In most circumstances, once parents have requested a mediation conference or due process hearing, their child’s placement cannot be changed without their agreement until the dispute is resolved. There is an exception to this “stay put” rule when a code of conduct violation involves a weapon, drugs or serious bodily injury. In that case, the student’s placement may be changed in the interim for safety reasons.
You have the right to file a state complaint if you believe that a special education law, rule or regulation has been violated. Complaints must be made within one year of the alleged violation. Complaints are investigated by the Iowa Department of Education and a written report is issued.
Procedural Safeguards Manuals for Parents