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What do I do if I don’t get a response to my first letter?

When you have written a letter making a request, you should get a response from the school system, either by telephone or in writing, within a reasonable period of time. In some cases, “reasonable” is defined (for example, local policy may say the school must answer you within 15 working days). In other cases, the timelines are not exact. So, be reasonable in your expectations. But if you feel too much time has passed (10 working days or so) without receiving a response to your letter, then call and ask if your letter has been received. If you are sure the school has received your letter (some parents send their letters by certified or registered mail), then ask when you can expect an answer. More than likely, when you call you will talk to a secretary or administrative assistant. Leave a message for the person you wrote to; ask that person to call you back.

If your request still goes unanswered, then you may want to write again. It’s useful to enclose a copy of your original request with this letter. Be sure not to send your only copy. Remember, you always need to have a copy for your records.

Sample Letter 12: Writing a follow-up letter

Today’s Date (include month, day, and year)

Your Name
Street Address
City, State, Zip Code
Daytime telephone number

Name of Person To WhomYou Originally Wrote
Street Address
City, State, Zip Code

Dear (name),

I wrote to you on (date) and also called to make sure you had received my letter. I left a message for you to call me back on (date), but since I have not heard from you, I thought it best to write again.

I am writing to request …

Enclosed is a copy of my first letter to you.

I would like to hear from you by (give a date, 3-5 working days). Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.


Your name


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Readers are encouraged to copy and share it, but please credit the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY). NICHCY Parent Guides are published in response to questions from individuals and organizations that contact us. We encourage you to share your ideas and feedback with us!

Publication of this document is made possible through a Cooperative Agreement between the Academy for Educational Development and the Office of Special Education Programs of the U.S. Department of Education. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

P.O. Box 1492
Washington, DC 20013
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e-mail: [email protected]

Excerpted from Communication with Your Child’s School Through Letters. National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities. (2002). Washington, D.C.: Academy for Educational Development.
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