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What is “stay-put” and how could it help my child?

| Feb 28, 2021 | Special Education Law |

Parents always enjoy getting reports of a child’s positive progress in school. They can often see the changes as well, as a student with intellectual disabilities advances their reading and comprehension skills thanks to the special education services they receive.

But what if the next individualized education program (IEP) evaluation determines that the student no longer requires these helpful services? Parents can challenge this decision, but they often worry: what happens with their child’s education in the meantime?

As we have discussed before, a stay-put order can provide help – and relief – for families facing this situation.

How does stay-put work?

The concept of “stay-put” is a right provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

It allows students to continue receiving the services and FAPE they currently obtain while the dispute is resolved. Children will “stay put” where they are until parents, the IEP team and the school can reach a solution.

Stay-put can span grade levels too

It is common for disputes over IEP changes to arise during the annual evaluation – or, in other words, when students will transfer from one grade to the next. And parents should know that a 2003 California case determined that stay-put still applies in this situation.

In these cases, a stay-put order would require schools to provide services as close to the current IEP as possible if they cannot replicate them in the next grade-level or class.

Two important steps parents must take

Even though parents can use this right under IDEA, there are still a few critical things they must know:

  1. Parents should not sign the IEP if they disagree with the changes
  2. They must file a due process complaint to make this right take effect

Taking these steps can help secure their child’s education in uncertain circumstances, including those that many families have faced in the last year. Therefore, parents must make sure they understand how this concept works.