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Maryland Bullying, Cyber Bullying and Hazing Laws

(October 25, 2011):  As set out under Maryland law, “All students in Maryland’s public schools, without exception and regardless of race, ethnicity, region, religion, gender, sexual orientation, language, socioeconomic status, age, or disability, have the right to educational environments that are safe, appropriate for academic achievement, and free from any form of harassment.”

I.  Maryland Bullying Provisions:

Code §7-424 (2008) defines bullying, harassment and intimidation, including electronic bullying, and requires local boards of education to submit an annual report to the Department of Education citing incidents of bullying, harassment or intimidation against students in public schools. An incident may be reported by a staff member, student, or the parent, guardian or close adult relative of a student. The Department is also required to create and distribute standard victim of bullying, harassment and intimidation report forms. The requirements for these forms are outlined in the statute. The Department of Education is then required to submit an annual summary of the reports to the Senate.

Code §7-424.1 (2008) requires the State Board to develop a model policy prohibiting bullying, harassment, or intimidation in schools. The model policy shall include the following: (1) A statement prohibiting bullying, harassment, and intimidation in schools; (2) A statement prohibiting reprisal or retaliation against individuals who report acts, (3) A definition of bullying, harassment, or intimidation that is either the same as set forth in Code §7-424 (2008) or another definition not less inclusive, (4) Standard consequences and remedial actions for persons committing acts, for persons engaged in reprisal or retaliation, and for persons found to have made false accusations; (5) Model procedures for reporting and investigation of acts; and (6) Information about support services for bullies, victims and bystanders and about the use of the reporting form.

Code §7-424.1 (2008) also requires each County Board shall establish a policy prohibiting bullying, harassment, or intimidation at school based on the model policy. Specific requirements of the policy are outlined in the Code. The policy must be published in student handbooks, school system websites and other appropriate locations. Each County Board is required to develop, in conjunction with the policy, an educational program for students, staff, volunteers and parents, and a training program for teachers and administrators for policy implementation.

II.  Maryland Cyber-Bullying Provisions:

Code §7-424 (2008) includes an intentional electronic communication in its definition of bullying, harassment and intimidation and requires local boards of education to submit an annual report to the Department of Education citing incidents of bullying, harassment or intimidation against students in public schools. It defines “Electronic communication” as a communication transmitted by means of an electronic device, including a telephone, cellular phone, computer, or pager. The policy each County Board is required to develop must include a definition of bullying and harassment the same or not less inclusive as that set forth in Code §7-424.1 (2008).

III.  Maryland Hazing Provisions:

Code 3-607 (2002) prohibits a person from recklessly or intentionally doing an act or create a situation that subjects a student to the risk of serious bodily injury for the purpose of an initiation into a student organization of a school, college or university.

Liles Parker attorneys represent students who have been bullied and / or hazed in school.  For a complimentary consultation, please call:  1 (800) 475-1906.

Virginia Bullying, Cyber Bullying and Hazing Laws

(October 25, 2011): The Virginia bullying laws are discussed below:

I.  Virginia Bullying / Harassment:

Code 22.1-279.6 (2008) requires the Board of Education to establish guidelines and develop model policies for codes of student conduct to aid local school boards in the implementation of such policies. The guildelines and model policies must include standards for school board policies on self-defense and bullying. School boards are required to adopt and revise regulations that are consistent with, but may be more stringent than, the guildelines of the Board. Each school board must include in its code of conduct prohibitions against bullying, hazing and profane or obscene language or conduct.

Code 8.01-220.1:2 (2005) provides immunity from liability for school employees and volunteers from civil damages arising from reporting alleged acts of bullying or crimes against others, if the person in good faith promptly reports such acts or crimes to the appropriate school official in compliance with specified procedures.

II.  Virginia Cyber Bullying Regulations:

Code 22.1-279.6 (2008) requires the Board of Education to establish guidelines and develop model policies for codes of student conduct to aid local school boards in the implementation of such policies. The guildelines and model policies must include standards for school board policies on the use of electronic means for the purposes of bullying, harassment and intimidation.

III.  Virginia Hazing Provisions:

Code 22.1-279.6 (2008) requires the Board of Education to establish guidelines and develop model policies for codes of student conduct to aid local school boards in the implementation of such policies. The guildelines and model policies must include standards for school board policies on hazing, and policies must cite Code 18.2-56, which defines and prohibits hazing and imposes a Class 1 misdemeanor for violations.

Liles Parker attorneys represent students who have been bullied and / or hazed in school.  For a complimentary consultation, please call:  1 (800) 475-1906.

Your Child’s Rights Under Section 504 and the ADA

(October 25, 2011): Section 504 and Title II of the ADA are broad civil rights statutes designed to promote equal access to and participation in programs and services. The regulations implementing these laws require that students with disabilities receive benefits and services comparable to those given their non-disabled peers. Specifically, these laws make it illegal for schools to discriminate on the basis of disability by:

• Denying a student the opportunity to participate in or benefit from a benefit or service,
• Providing an opportunity to participate or benefit that is unequal to that provided others,
• Providing a benefit or service that is not as effective as that provided to others,
• Providing lower quality benefits, services or programs than those provided others, or
• Providing different or separate benefits or services, unless it is necessary to provide benefits or services that are as effective as those provided to others.

For benefits or services provided to be “Equally Effective,” they must afford students with disabilities an equal opportunity to obtain the same result, gain the same benefit, or reach the same level of achievement as other students.

I.  What is Required Under Section 504?

Section 504 regulations mandate that school systems receiving federal funds provide a free appropriate public education to children with disabilities in accordance with the Section 504 requirements regarding least restrictive setting, evaluation and placement, and procedural safeguards. Furthermore, under Section 504, the education provided to students with disabilities must meet those students’ needs as adequately as the needs of non-disabled students are met.

II. Criteria and Methods of Administration:

It is illegal under the Section 504 and ADA regulations for school systems to use policies and practices that, intentionally or not, result in discrimination.  The regulations for both Section 504 and ADA use the term “criteria and methods of administration.” “Criteria” are written or formal policies. “Methods of Administration” are the school system’s actual practices and procedures. The ban on discriminatory policies, practices, and procedures includes those that:

• Have the effect of discriminating against students with disabilities, or
• Have the effect of defeating or impairing accomplishment of the objectives of the education program (or school reform initiative) in regard to students with disabilities.

III.  Reasonable Accommodations Requirements Under Section 504:

School systems must make accommodations and modifications to address the needs of students with disabilities to meet the responsibilities to students with disabilities under Section 504 and Title II of the ADA,  Making accommodations and modifications means changing the way things are usually done in order to take into account a child’s disability-related needs. Examples of accommodations and modifications include modifying rules, policies or practices; removing architectural or communication barriers; or providing aids, services, or assistive technology.

IV.  Maximum Feasible Integration Under Section 504:

Under Section 504, children with disabilities must be educated with their non-disabled peers “to the maximum extent appropriate,” and “removal . . . from the regular educational environment” occurs “only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.”

The ADA regulations similarly provide that a public entity, such as a school system, “shall administer services, programs, and activities in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities.”  Schools have the burden of demonstrating that any removal from regular education is appropriate.

Ashley Morgan Healthcare AttorneyAshley Morgan, J.D., represents students and their families in connection with Section 504 matters.  For a complimentary consultation, please call Ashley at:  1 (800) 475-1906

Implementing an Individualized Education Program (IEP)

(October 25, 2011) An Individualized Education Program, commonly referred to as an “IEP,” is a written agreement entered into by an IEP Team (typically comprised of a child’s parents, school administrators, teachers, and, when appropriate, clinical personnel (such as a school nurse, psychologist or social worker).  The purpose of an IEP is set out appropriate accommodations intended to address the learning needs and deficits of a specific student. 

I.  Implementation of an IEP:

Once the IEP is written, it is time to carry it out-in other words, to provide the student with the special education and related services as listed in the IEP. This includes all supplementary aids and services and program modifications that the IEP team has identified as necessary for the student to advance appropriately toward his or her IEP goals, to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum, and participate in other school activities. Every individual involved in providing services to the student should know and understand his or her responsibilities for carrying out the IEP. This will help ensure that the student receives the services that have been planned, including the specific modifications and accommodations the IEP team has identified as necessary.

II.  Teamwork and Coordination Among IEP Team Members is Essential:

Teamwork plays an important part in carrying out the IEP. Many professionals are likely to be involved in providing services and supports to the student. Sharing expertise and insights can help make everyone’s job a lot easier and can certainly improve results for students with disabilities. Schools can encourage teamwork by giving teachers, support staff and/or paraprofessionals time to plan or work together on such matters as adapting the general curriculum to address the student’s unique needs. Teachers, support staff, and others providing services for children with disabilities may request training and staff development.

It is helpful to have someone in charge of coordinating and monitoring the services the student receives. In addition to special education, the student may be receiving any number of related services. Many people may be involved in delivering those services. Having a person in charge of overseeing that services are being delivered as planned can help ensure that the IEP is being carried out appropriately.

III.  Communication Between Parents and School Officials is an Ongoing Obligation of Both Parties:

Communication between home and school is also important. Parents can share information about what is happening at home and build upon what the child is learning at school. If the child is having difficulty at school, parents may be able to offer insight or help the school explore possible reasons as well as possible solutions.

The regular progress reports that the law requires will help parents and schools monitor the child’s progress toward his or her annual goals. It is important to know if the child is not making the progress expected-or if he or she has progressed much faster than expected. Together, parents and school personnel can then address the child’s needs as those needs become evident.

Ashley Morgan Healthcare Attorney

Does your child qualify for an IEP but the school refuses to provide appropriate accommodations to address his or her learning deficits?  Give us a call.  A number of Liles Parker health care lawyers are skilled in representing individuals in connection with the negotiation, development and enforcement of IEPs.  For a free consultation, please give us a call.  1 (800) 475-1906.

Who Needs a Copy of the Written IEP?

Written IEP(October 25, 2011): When a written IEP has been finalized, parents must receive a copy at no cost to themselves. The IDEA also stresses that everyone who will be involved in implementing the written IEP must have access to the document. This includes the child’s:

• Regular education teacher(s);
• Special education teacher(s);
• Related service provider(s) (for example, speech therapist); or
• Any other service provider (such as a paraprofessional) who will be responsible for a part of the child’s education.

Each of these individuals needs to know what his or her specific responsibilities are for carrying out the child’s written IEP. This includes the specific accommodations, modifications, and supports that the child must receive, according to the written IEP.

Parents’ permission is required! Before the school can provide a child with special education and related IEP services for the first time, the child’s parents must give their written permission.  The process leading up to a written IEP that has been negotiated by the parties can be quite complicated.

Ashley Morgan Healthcare AttorneyAshley Morgan, J.D. represents students and their families in IEP matters.  Ensure that your child’s rights are protected!  Call Ashley for a free consultation.  She can be reached at: 1 (800) 475-1906. 

IEP Placement Must be in the Least Restrictive Environment

(October 25, 2011):  The decision of IEP placement (where an IEP will be carried out), is an essential issue that must be addressed by the IEP Team. The IEP Team is typically comprised made by a group of people, including the parents and others who know about the child, what the evaluation results mean, and what types of placements are appropriate. In some states, the IEP Team serves as the group making the IEP placement decision. In other states, this decision may be made by another group of people. In all cases, the parents have the right to be members of the group that decides the educational placement of the child.

Placement decisions must be made by the IEP Team according to applicable “Least Restrictive Environment” requirements — commonly known as “LRE.” These requirements state that, to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities must be educated with children who do not have disabilities.

The law also clearly states that special classes, separate schools, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment may occur only if the nature or severity of the child’s disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

What type of placements are there? Depending on the needs of the child, his or her IEP placement may be carried out in the regular class (with supplementary aids and services, as needed), in a special class (where every student in the class is receiving special education services for some or all of the day), in a special school, at home, in a hospital and institution, or in another setting. A school system may meet its obligation to ensure that the child has an appropriate placement available by:

•  Providing an appropriate program for the child on its own;
•  Contracting with another agency to provide an appropriate program; or
• Utilizing some other mechanism or arrangement that is consistent with IDEA for providing or paying for an appropriate program for the child.

The IEP Team will base its decision on the most appropriate IEP placement option is appropriate for the child. Can the child be educated in the regular classroom, with proper aids and supports? If the child cannot be educated in the regular classroom, even with appropriate aids and supports, then the IEP Team handling the IEP placement will talk about other placements for the child.

Drafting an IEP

(October 25, 2011): When drafting an IEP, it essential that you first evaluate which special education and related services are needed by the student.  Generally, the IEP Team will begin by looking at the child’s evaluation results, such as classroom tests, individual tests given to establish the student’s eligibility, and observations by teachers, parents, paraprofessionals, related service providers, administrators, and others. This information will help the team describe the student’s “present levels of educational performance” -in other words, how the student is currently doing in school. Knowing how the student is currently performing in school will help the team develop annual goals to address those areas where the student has an identified educational need.

I.  Information Needed When Drafting an IEP:

Before drafting an IEP, the IEP Team must assemble a wide range of specific information about the child. This includes:

• The child’s strengths;
• The parents’ ideas for enhancing their child’s education;
• The results of recent evaluations or reevaluations; and
• How the child has done on state and district-wide tests

II.  An Evaluation of the Child’s Needs Must be Conducted:

It is important that the discussion of what the child needs be framed around how to help the child:

• Advance toward the annual goals;
• Be involved in and progress in the general curriculum;
• Participate in extracurricular and nonacademic activities; and
• Be educated with and participate with other children with disabilities and nondisabled children.

Based on the above discussion, the IEP Team will then begin drafting an IEP. This includes the services and supports the school will provide for the child. If the IEP Team decides that a child needs a particular device or service (including an intervention, accommodation, or other program modification), the IEP Team must write this information in the IEP. As an example, consider a child whose behavior interferes with learning. The IEP Team would need to consider positive and effective ways to address that behavior. The IEP Team would discuss the positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports that the child needs in order to learn how to control or manage his or her behavior. If the team decides that the child needs a particular service (including an intervention, accommodation, or other program modification), they must include a statement to that effect in the child’s IEP.

III.  Special Factors to Consider When Drafting an IEP:

Depending on the needs of the child, the IEP team needs to consider what the law calls special factors. These include:

• If the child’s behavior interferes with his or her learning or the learning of others, the IEP Team will consider strategies and supports to address the child’s behavior.
• If the child has limited proficiency in English, the IEP Team will consider the child’s language needs as these needs relate to his or her IEP.
• If the child is blind or visually impaired, the IEP Team must provide for instruction in Braille or the use of Braille, unless it determines after an appropriate evaluation that the child does not need this instruction.
• If the child has communication needs, the IEP Team must consider those needs.
• If the child is deaf or hard of hearing, the IEP Team will consider his or her language and communication needs. This includes the child’s opportunities to communicate directly with classmates and school staff in his or her usual method of communication (for example, sign language).
• The IEP Team must always consider the child’s need for assistive technology devices or services.

IV. Will Parents Need an Interpreter in Order to Participate Fully?

If the parents have a limited proficiency in English or are deaf, they may need an interpreter in order to understand and be understood. In this case, the school must make reasonable efforts to arrange for an interpreter during meetings pertaining to the child’s educational placement. For meetings regarding the development or review of the IEP, the school must take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that parents understand the meetings–including arranging for an interpreter. This provision should help to ensure that parents are not limited in their ability to participate in their child’s education because of language or communication barriers.

Therefore, if parents need an interpreter for a meeting to discuss their child’s evaluation, eligibility for special education or IEP, they should let the school know ahead of time. Telling the school in advance allows the school to make arrangements for an interpreter so that parents can participate fully in the meeting.

Ashley Morgan Healthcare AttorneyAshley Morgan, J.D., represents students and their families in connection with the initiation, drafting and implementation of a comprehensive IEP that is designed to meet the specific needs of a child.  For a complimentary consultation, please give Ashley a call.  She can be reached at:  1 (800) 475-1906.

IEP Related Services

IEP related services must be assessed and provided to students who qualify under the law.(October 25, 2011): A child may require any of the following IEP related services in order to benefit from special education. IEP Related services, as listed under IDEA, include (but are not limited to):

 

 

 

• Audiology services
• Counseling services
• Early identification and assessment of disabilities in children
• Medical services
• Occupational therapy
• Orientation and mobility services
• Parent counseling and training
• Physical therapy
• Psychological services
• Recreation
• Rehabilitation counseling services
• School health services
• Social work services in schools
• Speech-language pathology services
• Transportation

If a child needs a particular IEP related service in order to benefit from special education, the IEP related service professional should be involved in developing the IEP. He or she may be invited by the school or parent to join the IEP team as a person “with knowledge or special expertise about the child.”

Ashley Morgan Healthcare AttorneyAshley Morgan is an attorney with Liles Parker, Attorneys and Counselors at Law.  She is experienced in assisting with the negotiation of an appropriate IEP for school children.  Questions?  Call Ashley for a free consultation.  1 (800) 475-1906.

IEP Team Members Play an Essential Role in the Development of Your Child’s IEP

(October 25, 2011): By law, certain individuals — IEP Team members — must be involved in writing a child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).  Note that an IEP team members may fill more than one of the team positions if properly qualified and designated. For example, the school system representative may also be the person who can interpret the child’s evaluation results.

IEP Team members must work together to write the child’s IEP. A meeting to write the IEP must be held within 30 calendar days of deciding that the child is eligible for special education and related services.

IEP team members bring important information to the group. Members share their information and work together to write the child’s Individualized Education Program. Each person’s information adds to the team’s understanding of the child and what services the child needs.

Parents are key members of the IEP team members. They know their child very well and can talk about their child’s strengths and needs as well as their ideas for enhancing their child’s education. They can offer insight into how their child learns, what his or her interests are, and other aspects of the child that only a parent can know. They can listen to what the other team members think their child needs to work on at school and share their suggestions. They can also report on whether the skills the child is learning at school are being used at home.
Teachers are vital IEP Team members as well. At least one of the child’s regular education teachers must be an IEP Team Members if the child is (or may be) participating in the regular education environment. The regular education teacher has a great deal to share with the team. For example, he or she might talk about:

• The general curriculum in the regular classroom;
• The aids, services or changes to the educational program that would help the child learn and achieve; and
• Strategies to help the child with behavior, if behavior is an issue.

The regular education teacher may also discuss with the IEP team members any supports for school staff that are needed so that the child can:

• Advance toward his or her annual goals;
• Be involved and progress in the general curriculum;
• Participate in extracurricular and other activities; and
• Be educated with other children, both with and without disabilities.

Supports for school staff may include professional development or more training. Professional development and training are important for teachers, administrators, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and others who provide services for children with disabilities.  A child’s special education teacher contributes important information and experience about how to educate children with disabilities. Because of his or her training in special education, this teacher can talk about such issues as:

• How to modify the general curriculum to help the child learn;
• The supplementary aids and services that the child may need to be successful in the regular classroom and elsewhere;
• How to modify testing so that the student can show what he or she has learned; and
• Other aspects of individualizing instruction to meet the student’s unique needs.
Beyond helping to write the IEP, the special educator has responsibility for working with the student to carry out the IEP. He or she may:
• Work with the student in a resource room or special class devoted to students receiving special education services;
• Team teach with the regular education teacher; and
• Work with other school staff, particularly the regular education teacher, to provide expertise about addressing the child’s unique needs.

Another important member of the IEP team is the individual who can interpret what the child’s evaluation results mean in terms of designing appropriate instruction. The evaluation results are very useful in determining how the child is currently doing in school and what areas of need the child has. This IEP team member must be able to talk about the instructional implications of the child’s evaluation results, which will help the team plan appropriate instruction to address the child’s needs.

The individual representing the school system is also a valuable team member. This person knows a great deal about special education services and educating children with disabilities. He or she can talk about the necessary school resources. It is important that this individual have the authority to commit resources and be able to ensure that whatever services are set out in the IEP will actually be provided.

The IEP team may also include additional individuals with knowledge or special expertise about the child. The parent or the school system can invite these individuals to participate on the team. Parents, for example, may invite an advocate who knows the child, a professional with special expertise about the child and his or her disability, or others (such as a vocational educator who has been working with the child) who can talk about the child’s strengths and/or needs. The school system may invite one or more individuals who can offer special expertise or knowledge about the child, such as a paraprofessional or related services professional. Because an important part of developing an IEP is considering a child’s need for related services, related service professionals are often involved as IEP team members or participants. They share their special expertise about the child’s needs and how their own professional services can address those needs. Depending on the child’s individual needs, some related service professionals attending the IEP meeting or otherwise helping to develop the IEP might include occupational or physical therapists, adaptive physical education providers, psychologists, or speech-language pathologists.

When an IEP is being developed for a student of transition age, representatives from transition service agencies can be important participants. Whenever a purpose of meeting is to consider needed transition services, the school must invite a representative of any other agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services. This individual can help the team plan any transition services the student needs. He or she can also commit the resources of the agency to pay for or provide needed transition services. If he or she does not attend the meeting, then the school must take alternative steps to obtain the agency’s participation in the planning of the student’s transition services.

And, last but not least, the student may also be an IEP team member. If transition service needs or transition services are going to be discussed at the meeting, the student must be invited to attend. More and more students are participating in and even leading their own IEP meetings. This allows them to have a strong voice in their own education and can teach them a great deal about self-advocacy and self-determination.

Ashley Morgan Healthcare AttorneyIf you are having problems with one or more IEP Team members and need assistance negotiating a reasonable resolution with the school district, call attorney Ashley Morgan, as attorney with Liles Parker, for assistance. For a free consultation, call: 1 (800) 475-1906.

The Contents of an IEP are Essential to Its Success

The Contents of an IEP Are Essential to Its Success.(October 25, 2011): An IEP is an essential tool to assist children with disabilities and for those who are involved in educating them. Done correctly, an IEP should improve teaching, learning and results. Each child’s IEP describes, among other things, the educational program that has been designed to meet that child’s unique needs. This part of the guide looks closely at the contents of an IEP, how it is written, and the minimum information it typically contains.  The IEP must include certain information about the child and the educational program designed to meet his or her unique needs. The typical contents of an IEP are discussed below.

I.  Contents of an IEP:

Simply put, the contents of an IEP often includes the following:

• Current performance. The IEP must state how the child is currently doing in school (known as present levels of educational performance). This information usually comes from the evaluation results such as classroom tests and assignments, individual tests given to decide eligibility for services or during reevaluation, and observations made by parents, teachers, related service providers, and other school staff. The statement about “current performance” includes how the child’s disability affects his or her involvement and progress in the general curriculum.

• Annual goals. These are goals that the child can reasonably accomplish in a year. The goals are broken down into short-term objectives or benchmarks. Goals may be academic, address social or behavioral needs, relate to physical needs, or address other educational needs. The goals must be measurable-meaning that it must be possible to measure whether the student has achieved the goals.

• Special education and related services. The IEP must list the special education and related services to be provided to the child or on behalf of the child. This includes supplementary aids and services that the child needs. It also includes modifications (changes) to the program or supports for school personnel-such as training or professional development-that will be provided to assist the child.

• Participation with nondisabled children. The IEP must explain the extent (if any) to which the child will not participate with nondisabled children in the regular class and other school activities.

• Participation in state and district-wide tests. Most states and districts give achievement tests to children in certain grades or age groups. The IEP must state what modifications in the administration of these tests the child will need. If a test is not appropriate for the child, the IEP must state why the test is not appropriate and how the child will be tested instead.

• Dates and places. The IEP must state when services will begin, how often they will be provided, where they will be provided, and how long they will last.

• Transition service needs. Beginning when the child is age 14 (or younger, if appropriate), the IEP must address (within the applicable parts of the IEP) the courses he or she needs to take to reach his or her post-school goals. A statement of transition services needs must also be included in each of the child’s subsequent IEPs.

• Needed transition services. Beginning when the child is age 16 (or younger, if appropriate), the IEP must state what transition services are needed to help the child prepare for leaving school.

• Age of majority. Beginning at least one year before the child reaches the age of majority, the IEP must include a statement that the student has been told of any rights that will transfer to him or her at the age of majority. (This statement would be needed only in states that transfer rights at the age of majority.)

• Measuring progress. The IEP must state how the child’s progress will be measured and how parents will be informed of that progress.

II.  Additional State and School-System Content:

States and school systems have a great deal of flexibility about the information they require in an IEP. Some states and school systems have chosen to include in the IEP additional information to document their compliance with other state and federal requirements. (Federal law requires that school districts maintain documentation to demonstrate their compliance with federal requirements.) Generally speaking, extra elements in IEPs may be included to document that the state or school district has met certain aspects of federal or state law, such as:

Holding the meeting to write, review and, if necessary, revise a child’s IEP in a timely manner;
• Providing parents with a copy of the procedural safeguards they have under the law;
• Placing the child in the least restrictive environment; and
• Obtaining the parents’ consent.

III.  Contents of an IEP May Vary From State to State:

While the law tells us what information must be included in the IEP, it does not specify what the IEP should look like. No one form or approach or appearance is required or even suggested. Each state may decide what its IEPs will look like. In some states individual school systems design their own IEP forms. Therefore, across the United States, many different IEP forms are used. What is important is that each form be as clear and as useful as possible, so that parents, educators, related service providers, administrators, and others can easily use the form to write and implement effective IEPs for their students with disabilities.

Ashley Morgan Healthcare AttorneyAshley Morgan, J.D., represents students and their families in connection with IEPs and other reasonable accommodation matters. For a complimentary consultation regarding your child’s needs, give Ashley a call at:  (202) 298-8750

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