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Procedural Safeguards Procedural Safeguards Notice
New York State Education Department
PROCEDURAL SAFEGUARDS NOTICE
Effective September 13, 2005
Parents are vital members of a team called the Committee on Special Education (CSE) or Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) that is responsible for developing an appropriate educational program for your child. You must be given opportunities to participate in the discussion and decision-making process about your child's needs for special education. The following information concerns procedural safeguards - your legal rights under federal and State laws to be involved and make sure that your child receives a free appropriate public education.
Procedural safeguards notice must be provided to you one time a year and:
· upon initial referral for evaluation of your child or your request for an initial evaluation.
- the first time in a school year when the school district receives a written notice from you requesting mediation or an impartial hearing.
- when a decision is made to suspend or remove your child for discipline reasons that would result in a disciplinary change in placement.
- whenever you request a copy.
There are many times when the school district must notify (tell) you in writing of its proposed (planned) action and ask for your written consent (permission) to carry out this action.
Consent means that:
- you have been informed, in the language you speak or other kind of communication that you understand, of all the information about the activity for which your permission is asked.
2. you understand and agree in writing to the activity for which your permission is needed
3. your permission is given freely and may be withdrawn at any time. However, if you withdraw your consent, it is not retroactive (it will not apply to actions already taken by the district).
Your written consent will be requested when:
- your child will be evaluated for the first time by the CSE or CPSE to decide if he or she has a disability and needs special education.
2. your child is recommended to receive special education services and programs for the first time.
- your child is recommended to receive twelve-month special education services and/or programs during July and August for the first time.
- your child will be reevaluated.
- the school district proposes to use your private insurance. In this case, you must be notified that, if you refuse to allow the school district to access (use) your private insurance, the district is still responsible to provide all required services at no cost to you.
- another agency other than a school requests to review records about your child. The request for consent will include information about the records that will be released and to whom they will be given.
7. you decide to withdraw a referral for special education for your child.
NOTICES: Prior Written Notice and Meeting Notice
As a parent of a child with a disability or suspected disability, you will receive notices to tell you about proposed special education services, meetings and your rights. Notice is a written statement provided to you in the language you speak or other kind of communication that you understand unless it is clearly not possible to do so. If the language you speak at home (your native language) or other kind of communication you understand is not a written language, the school district must take steps to make sure that the notice is translated orally or by other means (such as sign language) so that you understand the notice. You have the right to ask for an interpreter, translator or reader for the meetings.
In addition to this procedural safeguards notice, you will also receive:
· prior written notices and
· notices of meetings.
Prior Written Notice
Prior written notice is written notice that is given to you a reasonable time before the school district proposes to or refuses to start or change the identification, evaluation or educational placement or the provision of a free appropriate education to your child.
Prior Written Notice must include:
1. a description of the action offered or refused by the CSE or CPSE.
2. an explanation of why the school district will or will not take action.
- a description of any other options (choices) the school district considered and the reasons why those choices were refused.
- a description of each evaluation, procedure, test, record or report the school district used as a reason to offer or refuse an action.
- a description of any other factors that are relevant to the district’s decision.
- a statement that you have protection under the law. This legal protection is called procedural safeguards and they are listed in the procedural safeguards notice. If the procedural safeguards notice is not included with the prior notice, the prior notice will describe the ways you can obtain (get) a copy of a description of the procedural safeguards.
- sources for you to contact to get assistance in understanding the special education process and your rights.
If the prior written notice relates to an action by the school district that requires your consent, the district will give you notice at the same time they request your consent. You should also receive prior written notice before your child graduates from high school with a local or Regents diploma or before he/she receives an Individualized Education Program (IEP) diploma.
Notice of Meetings
Whenever the CSE or CPSE proposes to conduct a meeting to develop or review your child’s IEP or to discuss the provision of a free appropriate public education to your child, you must receive a meeting notice.
You must receive a written meeting notice at least five days before the meeting unless you and the school district agree to meet within five days or for certain meetings relating to discipline procedures. If the proposed meeting time or place is not good for you, you may call the school district to ask for a change that is good for both of you.
If you are unable to attend the meeting, the district can use other ways to encourage your participation. They may call you before a meeting occurs to talk about evaluation results and ask you for information, or they may ask you or you may request to participate in the meeting by telephone or video conference call.
A Meeting Notice must include:
- the purpose of the meeting and the date, time, location and names and titles of the persons expected to attend the meeting.
- a statement that you have the right to participate as a member of the CSE or CPSE.
- a statement telling you that you may bring anyone to the meeting who has knowledge or special expertise about your child.
- a statement of your right to ask the school physician to be at the meeting of the CSE. (This does not apply to parents of preschool children.) You must do this in writing at least 72 hours before the meeting.
- a statement that you may request in writing that the additional parent member of the CSE or CPSE not participate in the CSE or CPSE meeting.
- if the meeting is a Subcommittee meeting, a statement that you may make a written request to the full CSE if you disagree with the recommendation of a Subcommittee.
- for students for whom a meeting will be held to consider transition services, a statement that indicates the purpose of the meeting and that the student will be invited and lists any other agencies that will be invited to send a representative.
- for preschool students, a statement that you have the opportunity to address the CPSE in writing or in person.
YOUR CHILD'S EDUCATIONAL RECORDS
You have the right to ask for and read records about your child unless the district has been legally notified in writing that your rights as a parent have been terminated or otherwise limited by a court order. You have the right to ask for and receive explanations and interpretations of the records from your school district. You also have the right to ask that the school district provide you with a copy of your child’s educational records if it is the only way that you can inspect and review the records. The school district may charge a reasonable cost for copies of the records unless the fee prevents you from inspecting or reviewing your child’s records. You may also have someone you select as your representative inspect and review the records. Upon your request, the school district must allow you to review and inspect your child’s records:
- within a reasonable time.
- in no case more than 45 calendar days after you ask.
- before any meeting about your child's IEP.
- before any due process hearing about your child's special education needs.
Personal information about your child may not be released without your consent unless it is:
- given to school officials or teachers with a legitimate educational interest, State and local educational authorities, or certain individuals designated under federal law.
2. used to meet a requirement under federal law.
An individual evaluation means any procedures, tests or assessments, including observations, given individually to your child to find out whether he or she has a disability and/or to identify his/her special education needs. The term does not include basic tests given to groups of children in a school, grade or class or the screening of your child by a teacher or specialist to determine appropriate instructional strategies (ways to teach the curriculum).
The results of the individual evaluation must be shared with you. When the CSE or CPSE has conducted an evaluation to determine your child’s eligibility for special education, you must be provided a copy of the evaluation report and documentation of determination of eligibility. In addition, if you are the parent of a preschool child, the CPSE must also give you a copy of the summary report of the findings of the evaluation.
Independent educational evaluation
An independent educational evaluation (IEE) of your child means a procedure, test or assessment done by a qualified examiner who does not work for the school district or other public agency responsible for the child’s education. You may get an IEE at district expense if you disagree with the evaluation arranged for by the school district. If you ask the school district to pay for the IEE, the school district may ask, but not require, you to explain the reason why you object to the district’s evaluation. The school district may not unreasonably delay either providing the IEE or initiating an impartial hearing to defend the district’s evaluation.
Independent evaluators (outside testers) must meet the same qualifications as school district evaluators and follow the accepted evaluation procedures.
You have the right to:
- obtain an IEE.
- have the results of the IEE considered by the CSE or CPSE as part of its review and in the development of your child's IEP.
- have the full cost of the IEE be at district expense. The school district may request an impartial hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate or that your evaluation did not follow district criteria. If the impartial hearing officer (IHO) finds that the district evaluation is appropriate, the district does not have to pay for it.
- receive information about where an IEE may be obtained, the criteria the school district uses when it does an evaluation, and any district criteria regarding the reimbursement of IEEs if you request the district pay for the IEE.
- have an IEE at district expense if the IHO asks for this evaluation as part of an impartial hearing.
- have the results of the IEE used as evidence at an impartial hearing.
OPPORTUNITY TO PRESENT A WRITTEN COMPLAINT TO THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
You have the right to submit a written complaint to the New York State Education Department if you believe that your school district has violated a requirement under State or federal special education laws and regulations. Your complaint must include a statement that the school district has violated special education law or regulations and include the facts on which you base your statement. You must send the original signed written complaint to:
Statewide Special Education Coordinator
Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities
One Commerce Plaza, Room 1619
Albany, NY 12234
The alleged violation must have occurred not more than one year prior to the date of the complaint:
- unless the violation is continuing; or
- the complaint is requesting compensation services. This only applies to alleged violations that occurred not more than three years prior to the date of the complaint.
A determination must be made within 60 calendar days of receipt of the complaint unless exceptional circumstances exist.
SPECIAL EDUCATION MEDIATION
Special education mediation is a voluntary process for you and the school district which all school districts must offer parents as a way to work out disagreements with the recommendations of the CPSE/CSE. Mediation is available to resolve a complaint before or after you request an impartial hearing. You and a person chosen by the Board of Education (BOE) meet with a qualified and impartial mediator from the Community Dispute Resolution Center (CDRC) who helps in reaching agreement about the recommendation for your child. Mediation is at no cost to you. If you decide not to use mediation, someone may call you from the CDRC to talk about the benefits of mediation.
You have the right to:
1. mediation by a qualified and impartial mediator from a CDRC.
- mediation held in a timely manner and at a place that is good for you and the district.
- have any agreements made during mediation written down. Written agreements are legally binding and are enforceable in court.
- have discussions that occur during the mediation process be confidential and not used as evidence in any impartial hearing or civil proceeding. Parties to the mediation process may be required to sign a confidentiality pledge prior to the mediation.
- request mediation or an impartial hearing at any time.
You or the Board of Education (BOE) may request an impartial hearing relating to the identification, evaluation or educational placement of your child or the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to your child. An impartial hearing is a formal proceeding in which disagreements between you and the school district are decided by an IHO appointed by the BOE.
For school-age children, the school district may request mediation or an impartial hearing when you refuse to give consent for an initial evaluation. If you do not provide consent within 30 days, the school district must provide you an opportunity for an informal conference to discuss the request for an initial evaluation and the request may be subsequently withdrawn. For three and four year-old children, the school district may not use due process procedures (e.g., mediation or an impartial hearing) if you refuse to give consent to initial evaluation.
For school-age children, the school district may use due process procedures (e.g., mediation or an impartial hearing) when you refuse to give consent for a reevaluation of your child but may not request mediation or an impartial hearing if you refuse consent for services.
The impartial hearing is at no cost to you (except for your own attorneys' fees). When you request an impartial hearing, the school district must inform you of any free or low-cost legal and other relevant services in the area. (You may request this information at any time).
The issue you are filing a complaint about must have occurred not later than two years from the date you knew or should have known about the problem, unless you were prevented from submitting the complaint because the school district misrepresented (led you to believe) that it had resolved the problem forming the basis of the complaint or the school district did not give you information you were required to have.
Due Process Complaint Notice: