Obtaining an independent education program (IEP) for your child often feels like a positive step forward. After all, they will get the accommodations and services they need to learn effectively.
It may be a step forward, but it is also just one of the first steps to obtain the proper education for your child. You must then ensure that California schools and teachers follow the IEP. Disregarding the IEP is a violation of your child’s rights – but what does that look like exactly?
Two categories of violations
There are actually two types of violations that parents should be aware of, including:
- Procedural violations: As the name indicates, these violations pertain to the process of obtaining and providing special education services. These also pertain to the rights you and your child have throughout the process. For example, if the school does not adhere to the requirements or processes outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), it would be a procedural violation. This could include schools not involving parents in IEP meetings or even failing to conduct evaluations of students. While these kinds of violations may not be directly related to your child’s IEP, they can impact the program and its execution.
- Substantive violations: This is the violation that is usually related to your child’s IEP and actual education. For example, if your child’s teacher does not comply with the IEP or the school does not provide the related services listed in the IEP, this is a substantive violation.
There are many levels of substantive violations. It could involve poorly written goals that do not meet the student’s needs, or the teacher ignoring the IEP goals altogether. Regardless of the form it takes, any way that teachers do not follow the IEP could be considered a violation.
What are the next steps?
So, what happens if teachers or schools violate the IEP or your rights? There are several options.
As we discussed in a previous blog post, the first step should be meeting with your child’s teacher and discussing your concerns. There are some cases where a violation is an honest mistake, and you can move forward after discussing these issues.
In other cases, or if schools do not remedy the issue, then you must consider other avenues to protect your child’s rights and their education. This may involve filing a due process claim or even filing a complaint. It can be complex to determine who to contact and how to move forward, and seeking guidance can be beneficial in these cases.