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How to Report an IEP Violation

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The IEP is a legal document, carefully planned by the Child Study Team and requiring full implementation by the school district. That's the intention, anyway. The follow-through's often lacking, and you're liable to find that your child is in fact not getting all those specialized services he is legally entitled to. Some problems may be easily fixed, and some battles may not be worth fighting. For the ones you want to take on, these four steps will in most cases bring you to a resolution.
Difficulty: Hard
Time Required: Anywhere from a couple of phone calls to your every waking moment

Here's How:

  1. Call the Child Study Team and explain the problem. State specifically what you want to be done about it. Set a deadline for the correction to take place. Follow up with a fax or certified letter describing your conversation and the solution that was discussed. If for whatever reason the Child Study Team is not able to resolve the situation, move on to the next step.
  2. Call the special education director for your district and explain the problem, including your lack of success with the Child Study Team. State specifically what you want to be done, and set a deadline. Follow up with a fax or certified letter describing your conversation and the proposed solution. If for whatever reason the special education director is not able to resolve the situation, move on to the next step.
  3. Call the special education office for your county and explain the problem, including your lack of success at the district level. State specifically what you want to be done, and set a deadline. Follow up with a certified letter describing your conversation and the proposed solution. Copy the letter to the district special education director and superintendant. If for whatever reason the county special education office is not able to resolve the situation, move on to the next step.
  4. Call the special education office for your state and explain the problem, including your lack of success at the district and county level. State specifically what you want to be done, and set a deadline. Follow up with a certified letter describing your conversation and the proposed solution. Copy the letter to everyone you've had contact with previously.

Tips:

  1. At each level, if you can handle things through phone calls only, go ahead. Keep good notes about who you talk to, when, and what they promise. As long as things are proceeding in good faith and your child's safety is not an issue, you can remain at the phone level.
  2. Sometimes a good letter can give things the jolt they need to get moving. If you can keep things at the district level with a letter and repeated telephone nagging, do that. Only go on to the county level when you feel that the district has repeatedly failed to follow through or act appropriately.
  3. The severity of the situation will determine how quickly you skip from step to step, and how quickly you expect to see action. Don't go great guns for a relatively minor violation, but don't let a potentially unsafe situation drag on through endless unreturned phone calls and insincere assurances.
  4. In all contacts, by phone or on paper, reign in your anger and frustration and keep your tone calm, professional and purposeful. The law is on your side, you know it, they know it, and although you are a reasonable person you do expect the situation to be corrected.

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