Public school districts are responsible for identifying all students with disabilities within their districts, regardless of whether they are attending public schools, since private institutions may not be funded for providing accommodations under IDEA.
IDEA includes a set of procedural safeguards designed to protect the rights of children with disabilities and their families, and to ensure that children with disabilities receive a FAPE. The procedural safeguards include the opportunity for parents to review their child's full educational records; full parent participation in identification and IEP team meetings; parent involvement in placement decisions; Prior Written Notice; the right of parents to request independent educational evaluations at public expense; Notice of Procedural Safeguards; Resolution Process; and objective mediation funded by the state education agency and impartial Due Process Hearings. IDEA guarantees the following rights to parents:
- Right to be informed in writing of the Procedural Safeguards (There is a booklet)
- Right to review all educational records
- To be equal partners on the IEP team, along with the school staff
- To participate in all aspects of planning their child’s education
- To file complaints with the state education agency
- Request mediation, or a due process hearing
- At this time, parents may present an alternative IEP and their witnesses (experts and others), to support their case.
- These hearings are Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) hearings and can be appealed. This is not a trial.