What Are Those Procedural Safeguards
You receive your IEP meeting notice and included are 20 pages of Procedural Safeguards. At the meeting, you are also asked if you want another copy of the Procedural Safeguards. You should be asked if you understand them or would like an explanation of them. If you say yes, the ESE specialist will probably “run through” a few of the items in the safeguards, but probably not sufficient for you to understand. You sit there and indicate that you understand them, but did you really? I know that when I was at my first IEP meeting, I did not know what the district was talking about as the ESE specialist swiftly went thru those 20-pages of safeguards!
Over the years of IEP meetings, I actually read all 20 pages of those Procedural Safeguards. Then I called Anna Brynild, the IEP Coach from Central FL Parent Center (the PTI covering the central & NE counties) who was assisting me with my IEP and we discussed several of the important parts. It was then that I had several “a-ha” moments.
The Procedural Safeguards in a nutshell are the rights and responsibilities of parents and the schools/districts. Parents need to know the Procedural Safeguards for the Safeguards to help you at an IEP meeting. You can find the Procedural Safeguards at your state’s Dept of Education or under the Federal IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) at Sections §§300.500 – 300.536.1 When you are handed the Safeguards in a Florida school, you should verify that you have been given the latest edition, revised in May 2014.
Not all areas of the Procedural Safeguards apply to each family, but there are several areas to know. Once you know the area you need, use the verbiage at the IEP meeting.
Prior Written Notice (PWN), also called Notice of Refusal (NOR), are on p1 of the FL Procedural Safeguards.2 You should be provided a Written Notice Prior/Notice of Refusal when the School/District:
- Proposes to initiate or to change the identification, evaluation, eligibility determination, or educational placement of your child, or the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to your child; or
- Refuses to initiate or to change the identification, evaluation, eligibility determination or educational placement of your child or the provision of FAPE to your child.3
So, if you ask for something at the IEP meeting, like more time for a service, and are denied, ask for the Notice of Refusal in writing in a timely manner as stated in the Procedural Safeguards.
Parental Consent, on p2, must be obtained for several matters. Your consent is needed for initial evaluations, initial provision of services, specific actions, or for reevaluations. Reevaluations must be performed at least triennially (every 3 years) unless the parent and the school district agree that the reevaluation is not needed.4
(Continued on page 2)