The federal regulations for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) includes many provisions to protect the rights of parents and their child with a disability while also giving families and school systems means by which to resolve disputes. These rights are known as procedural safeguards. Parents have specific rights under this law to specific hearing rights under 34 CFR &300.512.
Any party to a due process hearing (including a hearing related to disciplinary procedures) has the right to the following:
1. Be represented by counsel or be represented by a qualified representative under the qualifications and standards set forth in state law or to be accompanied and advised by individuals with special knowledge or training with respect to the problems of students with disabilities, or any combination of the above qualifications.
2. Present evidence and confront, cross-examine, and require the attendance of witnesses.
3. Prohibit the introduction of any evidence at that hearing that has not been disclosed to that party at least five business days before the hearing.
4. Obtain a written, or, at your option, an electronic word for word record of the hearing.
5. And obtain written, or, at your option, electronic findings of fact and decisions.
At least five business days prior to a due process hearing, you and the school district must disclose to each other all evaluations completed by that date and recommendations based on those evaluations that you or the school district intend to use at the hearing. An impartial hearing officer may prevent any party that fails to comply with this requirement from introducing the relevant evaluation or recommendation at the hearing without the consent of the other party.
Parental rights at hearings
You must be given the right to:
1. Have your child present;
2. Open the hearing to the public; and
3. Have the record of the hearing, the findings of fact, and the decisions provided to you at no cost.
More information regarding hearing decisions and the appeals process will be found in additional articles.