My child is diagnosed with Autism. She recently switched electives and needed help in the class. I asked the case manager to look into providing additional support in this particular class. I was told they were going to switch my child to Art because it was a "better fit." Can the school make decisions about placement without first consulting the parent?
Employment / Labor Attorney
The Learning Rights Law Center in Los Angeles represents families with children with disabilities in education matters. It has an informative web site: http://www.learningrights.org/ that may provide you with guidance.
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Education Law Attorney
There is not enough information to provide a meaningful answer.
How old is your child?
Who is the education rights holder?
Is this a public or private school?
Is there an IEP in place?
Please re-post and I will attempt to point you in the right direction with either a consultation or a referral.
If you haven't already become familiar with wrightslaw.com, I would suggest perusing their site. It has a wealth of information for families and friends of children with special needs.
While I am an attorney and I practice in the area of special education the answers that I provide in this forum should not (should never) be construed as "legal advice." If you wish to receive "legal advice" I suggest that you contact me at The Law Office of Janina Botchis. Website: www.speakforyourchild.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Free Consultation: (818)253-9444 Blog: SpecialNeedsRights.wordpress.com
Education Law Attorney
If your child has an IEP, then no, the school cannot change placement without prior written notice. If your child does not have an IEP, then yes, the school can change placement. Please consult a special education advocate or attorney. I recommend Amy Langerman in the San Diego area.
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This response assumes that your child has an IEP. Under the procedural safeguards of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a school district must provide for meaningful parental participation and prior written notice whenever it initiates or proposes to change the "educational placement" of a child. (20 U.S.C. Section 1414(b)(1), (3) and 20 U.S.C. Section 1414(e).) In California, "educational placement" means that unique combination of facilities, personnel, location or equipment necessary to provide instructional services to an individual with exceptional needs. (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 5, section 3042.) The IDEA does not define "educational placement." In DeLeon v. Susquehanna Cmty. School District., 747 F.2d 149, 153 (3d Cir. 1984), the Third Circuit interpreted the meaning of "educational placement," stating that "given the remedial purposes of the [IDEA], the term . . . should be given an expansive reading." In DeLeon, a key factor in determining whether a modification in a child's school day should be considered a change in his or her educational placement is "whether the decision is likely to affect in some significant way the child's learning experience."
Decisions regarding educational placements are necessarily fact specific, including whether a particular placement, including a course schedule, requires additional or different supports and certain accommodations or modifications.
The general rule is that decisions regarding "educational placement" must be made within the context of an IEP Meeting with input from the parent and, at times, from the student.
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