Jen Hergenreder, Staff Attorney Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania
On Wednesday, December 10, 2014, Jen Hergenreder, staff attorney for the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania held an informative meeting for parent/guardians and caregivers of children with disabilities.
She provided an overview on a variety of topics related to Special Education including what services the DRN has to offer, why the DRN exists, what a parent/guardian can do if they disagree with a NOREP, requesting an Independent Evaluation, a Facilitator, a Mediator, an Evaluative Conciliation Conference, and/or a Due Process Hearing.
Below please find follow up resources including links provided by Jen Hergenreder.
Operates various procedures for resolving special education disputes including facilitation, mediation, evaluative conciliation conference and due process hearings. A request for any of these procedures must be filed with ODR and sent to the school district.
The organization appointed by the state, pursuant to federal law, to protect and advocate for individuals with disabilities.
You may call with any disability related question.
Parent Help Line: 1-800-692-7443
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
The federal law governing the provision of special education to students with disabilities. A student with an IEP is entitled to: A free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. An IEP that is reasonably calculated to allow the student to make meaningful progress. An IEP that includes the support necessary to allow the student to be educated with students who do not have disabilities as much as possible.
The state law governing the provision of special education and related services to students with disabilities. The state law counterpart to the IDEA.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
The federal law governing the provision of services under a 504 Plan.
A student with a 504 Plan is entitled to: A free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. The supports needed for the student to have an equal opportunity to participate in education and benefit from education as a student who does not have a disability.
The state law governing the provision of services under a 504 Plan or Chapter 15 Agreement. The state law counterpart to Section 504.
A few important points Jen did not cover last night, but wanted to share:
A NOREP is the document you should receive anytime the school changes your child’s IEP or 504 Plan or refuses a change you are requesting. It stands for Notice of Recommended Educational Placement. This functions as “notice” of a school district action under the law and gives you the right to agree or disagree with the school’s proposal. Signing your agreement to a NOREP allows the school to implement the changes they have proposed. If you want them to implement the changes, you allow them to do that by signing the NOREP. If you DO NOT want them to implement the changes, you need to return the NOREP indicating that you disagree and that you are requesting mediation or due process. IMPORTANT: If you want to PRESERVE the services or placement listed in your child’s current IEP or 504 Plan (if your goal is to PREVENT the school district from changing what your child is receiving) you have to request mediation or due process. When you request mediation or due process, the school district cannot move forward with its proposal until that proceeding has concluded. Requesting mediation or due process invokes a legal protection called “pendency” or “stay put” meaning that your child’s current or “pendent” program will stay in place (“stay put”) until mediation or due process has concluded. If you request mediation to invoke pendency and you do not resolve your dispute through mediation, you need to request due process in order to further maintain pendency.
SHARING INFORMATION FROM DOCTORS, PSYCHOLOGISTS, THERAPISTS:
It is entirely up to you whether you want to share information from your medical doctors, psychologists or therapists with the school district. There may be good reason to share information if you think it will help educate the school or convince them that a specific service is necessary. But, if information is not relevant to your child’s education and there is no good reason to share it, you are not obligated to share it. IMPORTANT: The school cannot communicate with or share information with outside professionals without your written consent and you can revoke that consent at any time.