Know Your Parental Rights in the School System

Feb 05, 2024

                                                 A Guide for Parents of Children with Disabilities


As parents of children with disabilities, navigating the educational system can be a complex journey. One of the most important parts of this journey is understanding your parental rights within the school system.


Let’s break down what your rights are, why it's essential to be aware of them, and how you can advocate for your child's rights if disagreements arise.


Your Parental Rights—What Are They and Why You Should Know Them


Parental rights in the school system include a range of protections designed to ensure that parents are active participants in their child's education. These rights are particularly significant for parents of children with disabilities. It's so important to be aware of your rights to make informed decisions and advocate effectively for your child.


  1. Access to Information:

Parents have the right to access their child's educational records, including assessments, progress reports, and any other relevant documentation. Understanding your child's strengths and challenges is key to making informed decisions about their education.


  1. Participation in Decision-Making:

As a parent, you have the right to be part of the team that develops, reviews, and revises your child's Individualized Education Program (IEP). Your input is valuable in tailoring the educational plan to meet your child's unique needs.


  1. Informed Consent:

Schools must obtain your consent before initiating certain actions, such as conducting assessments or providing special education services. Knowing your rights in this regard ensures that you are an active participant in decisions that directly impact your child's education.


Breaking Down Your Parental Rights


Let's dive into some specific parental rights that hold particular relevance for parents of children with disabilities.


  1. Right to Inclusion

Every child, regardless of ability, has the right to be included in all school activities, including field trips and assemblies. It's essential to advocate for your child's right to participate fully in the educational experience, fostering a sense of belonging and social inclusion.


  1. Modifications and Accommodations

Please know that you, as the parent, have the right to request modifications and accommodations to ensure that their child can access and participate in the curriculum. This might include adjustments to teaching methods, additional support services, or assistive technology. 


  1. Communication Access

Ensure that you have access to effective communication with school staff. This includes information presented at meetings, written communications, and any other interactions related to your child's education.


Your Rights If You Disagree with What They Are Offering

Disagreements with the school regarding your child's education can be challenging, but understanding your rights in these situations allows you to advocate effectively.


  1. Requesting Mediation

If disagreements arise, you have the right to request mediation, a process where a neutral third party helps facilitate communication and reach a resolution.


  1. Due Process

In cases where resolution through mediation is not achieved, you can pursue due process, a formal legal procedure to address disputes related to your child's education.


  1. Appealing Decisions

Parents also have the right to appeal decisions made by the school district. Understanding this process is crucial if you believe that your child's needs are not being adequately addressed.

Being informed about your parental rights is a MUST in advocating for your child's education. 


Understanding the specific rights related to inclusion, modifications, and communication access ensures that your child receives the support they need to thrive. 

Need additional support? Reach out to me, Courtney Burnett, I am here to help you advocate for your child’s success.

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