Q: We are moving a child with an IEP to a new school. The new school system says our child doesn’t qualify for special services here. Can they just stop special education services?
Your child’s IEP and disability needs are covered under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). IDEA is U.S. Federal law. It is valid in all states. — See the Special Education Programs’ IDEA website.
Under federal rules, your child has the same federal special education rights in your new state as she had in your previous state. There is no basis for your new state to claim your child is no longer eligible for services. Your child doesn’t become ineligible simply because you are moving a child with an IEP to a new school. Your child should receive similar or the same services because she is still a child with a disability.
If your child’s new school wants to provide a program with a different placement or services, they are required to hold an IEP meeting. They have to document why a change in your child’s placement or services is needed. The new school must document their reason for changing or for eliminating your child’s special education services.
I highly recommend learning about Federal IDEA laws. You’ll have to stand up for your child’s rights. Your new state can’t just ditch the IEP and say your child isn’t covered, but if that’s what they’re trying to do, you’ll have to fight for your child.
There is an online, free IEP training course at http://www.learningabledkids.com/iep_training/welcome.htm. The free IEP training will teach about IEPs and the requirements for developing them. The training doesn’t cover moving a child with an IEP to a new school, but it will help you understand eligibility and what should be in your child’s IEP.
I’d also recommend checking out http://www.fetaweb.com/ or get the Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy – The Special Education Survival Guide book. Both resources are from Pete Wright.
Understanding IEPs and Federal Laws governing special education rights will help you better understand what affect moving a child with an IEP to a new school has. Really, it should have little affect at all.
Bottom line: You will HAVE to stand up for your child’s rights and educational needs in the new district. Otherwise, it looks like your new school district is likely to walk all over your child’s special education eligibility rights. :-/ Moving a child with an IEP to a new school is difficult enough without having to fight for services your child needs.