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Special Education/siblings going to same school


I have a son in a regular school in a mixed class. My district refused to allow him to attend our home school with an aide. The school he is in now we are not zoned for but its a district school, close by.  I was not given any choice but the program my son was placed in. Now my other son is going into school and my district refuses to let him attend with my older. I can't handle having them split not just psychologically as they are close but my older son has issues and I cannot see juggling this awful routine.  I am shocked that my school board denied our request given how they forced my older son out of attending our zoned school. I felt they couldve crafted a program for him, thats what they claim to do. Is there somewhere I can appeal?

Hi Jess,  I am so sorry for my brief delay in responding!  Thanks so much for reaching out to me and for using this site!  I am going to give you some ideas here but in this case, would encourage you to consider hiring me or someone like me to analyze the situation through review of the evidence (documents) you may need to present during an appeal.

A parent can use mediation, due process hearing, state complaint, or other local administrative review processes to appeal or dispute a decision by the school district, for issues related to the IEP and free appropriate public education.  Also, for the school assignment change, there are appeal processes when your first request is declined.  

While I am not sure what 'mixed class' means in your question, I would think that a child attending mostly general education with an aide should be able to attend his neighborhood school. You seem to indicate that the distict is not providing transportation for your older son as well, since you indicate that the routine would be a hardship on your family.  

Also, there is an option to revoke all special education for your older son.  While it is a drastic option, it will place him back at his neighborhood school and he would be known to have a condition or disability where the school district would have to meet his needs as a non-special education student.  The district may put into place an aide under another type of plan called a 504 plan, or the district may re-evaluate his needs and re-evaluate his placement. I have only had a few parents do this, but it can be an effective way to assure the child attends the neighborhood school.  If you revoke consent, the child goes to the neighborhood school as a general education  child with no determined disability, and no IEP.  However, through accommodations, services, and special instruction, the school will need to meet your son's needs, as if he is a child suspected of needing an IEP.

The district would meet with you as if the child had not had the IEP, to determine if evaluations are needed , and to go through the process to determine his needs.  Then it may present you with another IEP or it may not.  Either way, this can be stressful and intensive and it would be important for you to know your and your child's rights.  But it may accomplish the goal of allowing the district to try harder to program for your child at the home school.

What are the services at the current school that are not available at the home school?  Why did the district place him there, over your objection?  The answer to these questions should be clear in your child's records.  There is a legal notice required where the school district tells you why it made its decision and what reports it relied on to do so.  (Prior written notice).  You should inspect the records and the reports that the district relied on to see if the reports really did justify the placement.  These are all things that I or another expert can assist you with, to prepare for the dispute.  

If you would like to contact me for a consultation, email is best.  You would provide me with all your child's records and I would do an audit of the IEP.  From there, you will see what issues arise so you can best be prepared for any dispute or appeal.  A last word of advice--be sure to consult with a special education attorney before you do any of these steps, including requesting a hearing or revoking consent.  The attorney advises you on potential pitfalls, since appeals can become very complicated.  

I certainly hope my answer has helped you and I invite you to follow up with another question, if anything I said was not clear or you have other questions based on my response.  

Thanks so much again for writing to me and I wish you the best as you continue to advocate for your children!

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Michelle R. Davis, M. Ed.


I can answer questions about disability definitions and criteria for services, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, No Child Left Behind, 504 plans, how to craft an IEP that drives the appropriate services, school placement, dispute options, and least restrictive environment. I worked in the public school system as a special educator and am now in private consulting practice where we assist parents as they navigate the special education process. I have expertise in all educational disabilities except blind/visual impairments and deaf/hard of hearing. This includes ADHD and other health impairments, medical conditions, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Autism, emotional disabilities, language processing problems, and interfering behaviors.


10 years as special educator and administrator in public school system; Director of ABCs for Life Success since 1998; Expert services such as analysis and testimony; Author: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book: What you can do now to advocate for your exceptional child's education; Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute; internet radio show Teach Your Children Well: Hot Topics in Education; author School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders released March 2010 (Prufrock Press).

Masters in Special Education with Emphasis on Inclusive Education (Johns Hopkins University); Special Education (James Madison University); Conduct training for Universities, public and private schools, parent groups. Adjunct professor current George Washington University and prior George Mason University.

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