Special Education Procedural Safeguards
Ok, finger-wagging time. Because I know that a very large percentage of parents are not reading your IEP Procedural Safeguards. I can tell by the questions you ask. Because many of the questions I am asked to answer (as an advocate) are very easily answered by looking at Procedural Safeguards. I’ve included a full copy at the end of this blog post.
Look, I get it. Generally, when we receive them is not the ideal time to read them. Read them. At least once a year. Make it your New Year’s Resolution every year to sit down and read them. The copy I am providing below is from the USDOE website. I highly recommend that you search for your state’s version of them because they can vary a bit.
But, if your state regs stray away from IDEA, it must be because that particular reg favors the student more. For example, PA evaluates Intellectually Disabled students every 2 years when IDEA calls for 3. That is better for the student, so it is allowed. But a state reg cannot change it to every 5 years. Make sense?
This blog post is in no way meant to act as a replacement for reading your Procedural Safeguards. That part about “I read them so you don’t have to” is a joke. But here are 5 things that I have a feeling many parents don’t know about Procedural Safeguards. Also, what I have screen-shotted below is just an excerpt on that issue.
5 Important Sections of IEP Procedural Safeguards
Your Rights as a Parent: The scenario usually goes like this. Parent is frustrated and unhappy with how things are going with their IEP and the process. So, they join our Facebook Group and their first question is, “So what are my rights?” This one really makes me want to facepalm. Because this is what the Procedural Safeguards is. A whole booklet solely dedicated to explaining parents’ rights. It even says so right on the first page.
Prior Written Notice/PWN: I’ve written extensively about this because it’s so super important. So important, in fact, that it’s actually the second item listed in Procedural Safeguards. So again, more finger-wagging. Because I would say that at least half the time I ask a parent, “Well, did you get that information on a PWN?” the response I get back is, “What’s a PWN?” Yep, you haven’t read your Procedural Safeguards. Parents cannot be passive participants in this process. You have to read everything that is given to you.
Even if you might be thinking, “Well, I struggle with reading myself” or “Well, English isn’t my first language.” Guess what? It says right in Procedural Safeguards that everything must be in a format that the parent can understand.
It explains IEEs and how to ask for one. Parent is unhappy with or disagrees with the evaluation. Most advocates will say, “Well, did you ask for an IEE?” And guess what? We’re often met with, “What’s an IEE?” All explained in Procedural Safeguards.
It explains Discipline and Suspension procedures for kids with IEPs. Unfortunately, another really common topic. And, another topic explained in Procedural Safeguards. There’s a good 5-10 pages devoted to it. Take a look in your copy, particularly if your child is being suspended.
Procedural Safeguards explains IEP Mediation and Due Process. I find that many parents don’t read these until they have actually filed for Due Process. Or they are in working on a Due Process Complaint. It also explains pendency or stay put.
This is really just the beginning. In PA Procedural Safeguards, we also have a listing of IEP Advocacy Agencies, our phone hotline to call with questions, and how/where to file a state complaint.
I know you have 50 copies of these. However, I also know that many of you just toss them on a pile when you get home. It’s not light reading. Nor fun reading. But it’s necessary reading.