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Expert Q&A

Must the school district provide an alternative home teacher if we fire one we think is incompetent?

If a school district has failed to supply home services as indicated on an IEP, what recourse do the parents have. Our child’s home teacher was fired by the district as they say was for “personal reasons.” This was extraordinary and our child made significant progress. The second teacher that came was incompetent and we fired her. Since then, six months later, no teacher has been sent and our child has suffered significantly. We have paid out of pocket for services the school was supposed to provide. Please help!

If your child has an IEP calling for home services, or any other specific educational or related service, which the school fails to provide for a significant period of time, sufficient to cause a disruption or meaningful interruption in the child’s ability to make progress in their education, the school system may be responsible for what are called “compensatory educational services.” Typically, the school will not volunteer to provide such compensatory services, but will only do so if the parent initiates mediation, a due process hearing, or an administrative complaint with the state department of education.

However, brief interruptions of service akin to those that would occur for a child in regular education if the teacher were temporarily ill are typically not a sufficient basis for compensatory education. Notably, however, the school district offered you an alternative provider after the initial provider was terminated by the school district. You made the choice to refuse the services of this second provider. As such, the school may argue that it was your decision to discontinue services, rather than theirs, which would provide them a basis for avoiding responsibility for compensatory services.

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