With schools all across California back in session and in person, districts have provided alternative options for many students with disabilities. One of these options is independent study, which provides students with a unique opportunity to learn and complete their schoolwork in an environment outside of a traditional classroom. Ideally, this would include providing students with the accommodations they need; however, a new report indicates that is not necessarily the case.
Issues surrounding independent study spark questions about rights
The districts offering independent studies were supposed to include virtual classes as well as meetings with teachers, similar to remote learning. However, according to EdSource, many students with disabilities that enrolled in independent studies did not obtain proper services or support. Some of the issues reported included:
- Students not receiving any schoolwork
- A lack of connection between students and their teachers
- In some cases, students were pressured to waive their right to extra services.
EdSource also reports that parents filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court of Northern California regarding this issue.
What should parents do in these instances?
Your child has a right to receive a free and appropriate education; therefore, enrolling in independent study does not mean that your child should have to forego:
- Related services that support them and their learning, and
- Accommodations included in their independent education plan (IEP)
It is important for parents and students to understand their options. Navigating the various possibilities for your child to receive an education is not easy, but it is important to stay informed in order to advocate for your child’s rights.