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Expert Q&A

What rights do parents have when their children are placed in a school that does not help them?

I have an 11 year old daughter with ADD, who has an OHI certification and an IEP with goals in Written Language, Reading, and Math. She also has numerous accommodations in all subject areas. We have “school choice” in our district, but we did not get the choice we wanted for her. Instead, she was placed in a IB Magnet school, which is a challenging curriculum across the board. I have already asked for a review of the decision. They only offer “accelerated math” as the math option at that school.

There is a political agenda to try to get increased enrollment in the school due to its location in a less desirable area of the city. I also have 3 other children that attended our first choice school that she did not get. Our number one concern is that they do not have a regular education program that can meet her needs at this Magnet school. Other concerns remain regarding her peer group there. What are my legal rights as a parent?


Dear Ginnie:

Your questions involves what options or rights are available to you in situation when your child is placed in a school based on factors other than their educational needs or IEP requirements, including placement in an inappropriate accelerated math program.

For children with disabilities, all decisions should be IEP driven. However, the IEP may not have been sufficiently specific as to rule out the school that your child ended up in. If your efforts to resolve this matter informally have been unsuccessful, you should reconvene the IEP meeting in order to revise the IEP to reflect the various problems that your child has and the programming that these problems require, including access to a math program that is academically appropriate for them. By virtue of revising the IEP, you may be able to effectively rule out the magnet program in which your child has been placed or to drive a new placement decision into a more appropriate setting.

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