As a parent of an exceptional child, there are many rights you have as part of this process. You should be aware of what these are, so that you can ensure that your rights are met.
Consent for Initial Evaluation , Consent for Services, Consent for Reevaluation, Withdraw Consent, Consent to change services or placement: Before anything can happen, you must have consented to the evaluation, services. Before you move forward, you are given the right to consent to reevaluate your child (though there are timelines for this). You can also withdraw consent at any time.
Confidentiality of records: You have the right to examine, request something changed/added to your child’s records.
Prior Written Notice: You have the right to written notice for any and everything that happens related to your child.
Disciplinary Procedures: If your child has an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), there are certain rules around discipline that the school must follow.
Manifestation Determination: If your child has a behavior problem at school, the school must determine if it has to do with your child’s diagnosis before disciplining. Learn more about this process here.
Independent Educational Evaluation: If you would like different or more information than what the school’s testing/evaluation provides, or if your school does not agree with you that your child needs services, you are entitled to an independent educational evaluation for your child.
Mediation: You have the right to get an unbiased mediator to help you and the school resolve your differences should you have any.
File a Due Process Complaint: If mediation does not work, you have the right to file a due process complaint. The process is explained here. If you are unhappy following mediation, you can file with the EC division of North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI). DPI will review the complaint and launch an investigation, which may lead to necessary changes for the LEA.
Private Schools: The Local Educational Agency (LEA) is not required to pay for private school if the LEA offered Free and Public Education (FAPE) to the student. However, the LEA may have to pay if they failed to provide FAPE and the placement is appropriate. The LEA may still provide some services.
Due Process and Hearings: Filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings, this is a due process petition that brings legal proceedings before a judge. Disability Rights may provide free assistance if you cannot afford a lawyer for this process, but it is not guaranteed. The child remains in their current placement until this is completed.
State Level Appeals: If the determination by the judge still does not meet your criteria, you may appeal to the state level.
Civil Action: Can be filed with state or federal court if you are still unhappy with the determination.
Attorney’s Fees: If you win your case at any point, you may request attorneys’ fees from the LEA. Again, this is not a guarantee. Unreasonable petitions may lead to you needing to pay the LEA/NCDPI’s costs.