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Expert Q&A

Can a parent require the school to move their child from a special education class into a regular class?

I have a student on an IEP. His mother does not want him in an separate class for teaching IEP students for reading. She wants him in a regular education class. My district, at the junior high level, has them in a separate special education class for the goal areas so they can receive their specially designed instruction.

Can a parent sign a child out of special education before the next evaluation is due, or can they insist that the student be in a regular ed class and not in an IEP/special ed class?

Dear Elizabeth,

Your question addresses the desire of a parent for their child to be educated in a regular education classroom, rather than a separate class for reading. You indicated that your school district has special education classes to address content areas for specially designed instruction.

With respect to your question, a parent may not unilaterally sign their child out of special education, without the agreement of the IEP team, unless they withdraw their child from school or are successful in persuading a hearing officer that their child does not require special education. Similarly, a parent can not unilaterally insist that the child should be in a regular class, rather than in a special education class.

On the other hand, the decision as to whether a child requires education in a special classroom or have their education needs adequately met in a regular education classroom, including with the provision of supplemental aides and support, is an individualized decision. A school district policy that provided that instructional services could only be provided in a special classroom, rather than in regular education classes with support would also be inconsistent with the IDEA.

Decisions as to the level of intensity or restrictiveness that a child requires in order to be able to be appropriately educated is an individualized determination, in which the child should be educated in the least restrictive environment appropriate in order to meet their needs. It is neither the parent’s absolute right to have the child educated in regular education nor is it the school districts prerogative to have the child automatically educated in special education.

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