Family Support Services
GRIEVANCES & APPEALS
How to effectively communicate when you don’t agree with your IEP
Every parent, who has a child with an Individualized Education Program (IEP), receives a copy of the Parental Rights: Maryland Procedural Safeguards Notice. However, most parents probably have not had the time to read through the thirty-some pages of information; and if they reach page 18, most of the information has most likely become a blur. Page 18 is important. This is where the document tells a parent/caregiver what to do when they disagree with their child’s IEP and the decisions made by the school system in regards to their individualized education.
Once an issue is identified or a parent has a complaint, the following steps can be taken until your issue has been resolved.
Step 1 Contact your IEP team: There are many members on your team. Reach out to your child’s teacher, the special education instructor, or the case manager. You can also contact the administrators at your school, i.e. principal or assistant principal.
Step 2 Contact the special education supervisor at the central office: Currently, this is Cheryl O’Neal and she can be reached at 410-651-1616 or by email at email@example.com.
Step 3 Request mediation by using a form available from the Special Education office or the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) website at www.Marylandpublicschools.org or by calling 410-767-7770. Mediation may now be used without having to file a hearing and is an informal and confidential voluntary process conducted by qualified and impartial mediators.
Step 4 File a state complaint: Parents have the right to file a state complaint with the MSDE. The state complaint must include a statement that the school system has violated a requirement of federal or State law or regulation; the facts upon which the statement is based; and the signature and contact information of the person filing the complaint. The complaint must also include information regarding the child, i.e. name and address, school attending, description of the nature of the problem or facts relating to the problem; and a proposed resolution of the problem to the extent known and available to the complainant at the time of filing. (Page 19-20 of Parental Safeguards)
Step 5 File a due process complaint: Parents have the right to file a due process complaint on any matter relating to the identification, evaluation, and early intervention services, educational placement, or the provision of a free appropriate public education to a child. To assist in the filing of the complaint, a Request for Mediation and Due Process Complaint Form is available from the school system and on the MSDE website. The same information needed for a state complaint will be needed for the due process complaint.
There is a timeline built into these processes and all of that information can be found on pages 18-30. Also found in this section is information on attorneys, hearing rights, resolution process and settlement agreements, and how to appeal.
If you have more questions or need a copy of the Parent Rights, contact Joy Hale at 410-999-1016. She is available to help you through this process as well.