Topic:
JUVENILES; SPECIAL EDUCATION;
Location:
EDUCATION - SPECIAL;

OLR Research Report


January 9, 2003

 

2003-R-0019

SPECIAL EDUCATION PROCEDURES

By: Jennifer Gelb, Research Attorney

You asked about the procedure for a parent to challenge a decision regarding a student receiving special education. You also wanted to know if a special education student could remain in school after age 18.

PROTECTING A CHILD'S RIGHT TO SPECIAL EDUCATION

State and federal laws give children the right to special education. Schools must take certain steps to protect this right, and must give parents a copy of the steps when (1) a child is first referred for evaluation or testing, (2) a parent is invited to a planning and placement team meeting to talk about the child's individualized education plan, (3) a child is to be reevaluated, (4) a hearing is requested, or (5) a change is being made to the child's program because a school rule was broken.

A State Department of Education (SDE) document (attached) outlines the procedural safeguards involved in protecting a child's right to special education. The document is also available on SDE's website. The procedural safeguards tell about:

1. the independent educational evaluation,

2. providing the parent with a written copy of what the school is offering or refusing to do about a child's program,

3. obtaining the parent's permission before the school gives a child tests or special education services,

4. seeing and getting a copy of the child's school record,

5. going to a hearing when the parent and the school disagree,

6. asking for an advisory opinion,

7. the child's school program during a hearing or court review,

8. steps that the school must follow before putting a child in a different school program because he broke a school rule,

9. steps a parent must follow if the parent places a child in a private school and expects the public school to pay,

10. settling a dispute through mediation when the parent and the school do not agree,

11. the procedure for a due process or expedited due process hearing,

12. bringing a case to court,

13. attorneys' fees, and

14. filing a complaint with SDE.

SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENTS OVER 18

Connecticut law requires local and regional boards of education to provide special education services for eligible students until they graduate from high school or reach age 21 (CGS 10-76d).

JG:eh