Your Family’s Rights and Special Education
Your child has the right to a free and appropriate education. If you have any concerns that your child’s educational needs are not being met (i.e., that his or her education is not “appropriate”), you should discuss these concerns with your child’s school.
Your child has the right to be tested to see if he or she would benefit from special education services. If you mention your concerns to the school and request to have you child evaluated for an individualized Education Plan, the law states that the school must have your child tested within 45 school days of your request.
You have the right to a second opinion. If you do not agree with the results of the testing conducted by the school, you may request to have your child re-evaluated by a qualified professional at the school’s expense.
You have the right to consent to the recommendations proposed in the IEP meeting. If you do not agree with anything suggested by the school, you do have to sign the IEP document. The IEP is a legally binding contract between you and the school. If you do not agree with it; do not sign it. You can request that changes be made or you can request to review the document for a short period of time prior to signing it. In order for your child to have services from the IEP, you will have to come to an agreement with the school and sign the IEP form.
If there is anything that you do not like about your child’s IEP or if you have a lot of questions about how your child is doing at school, you may request an IEP meeting at any time to discuss your concerns. You do not have to wait until your child is due for his or her yearly IEP meeting.
You may request a mediator to help resolve a conflict between your family and the school administration. The mediator is a person who does not work at your child’s school who can offer suggestions to resolve the conflict.
You have the right to due process. If there is anything about your child’s IEP that is a problem for you, and you have not been able to successfully resolve this issue with the school, you may start a due process proceeding.
When Should I Talk to My Child’s School?
We encourage you to talk to your child’s school any time you have concerns or questions in any area. Below are examples of common reasons that parents of children and adolescents with sickle cell disease might want to talk to their child’s school to request and Individualize Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 Plan.
-Difficulty with schoolwork
– Homework takes too long
– Having a hard time or spending too much time finishing make-up work from missed days
– Truancy complaints due to school missed for medical appointments or illness
– Physical accommodations not provided at school (e.g., access to drinking water, restroom breaks, avoiding cold)
– Problems focusing/concentrating on assignments
– You’ve noticed that your child seems to forget things more than usual
– Problems with peers; bullying
– School wont’ provide testing or says child is not eligible for Individualized Education Plan
– School suggests home-bound instruction
– School suggests retention in current grade level
– Teachers tell you about problems with your child’s behavior or academics
– If your child is receiving special education services and you do not feel like progress has been made toward the goals
– Any time you have any worries or concerns about your child or feel like you need an update about schoolwork or how well your child gets along with peers.