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Section 3

ak dept education

special ed handbook

There are a number of proposed actions that require written parent notification. Some actions also require parental consent.

Prior Written Notice

A school district shall provide prior written notice to parents of a child with a disability or child with a suspected disability, in a reasonable time (generally 10 school days) prior to the following:
  1. When the District proposes to initiate or change the:
    1. Identification - eligibility for services, need for services, change of disability category
    2. Evaluation - initial evaluation and re-evaluation
    3. Educational placement of the child - graduation, program completion, a placement that changes the degree of interaction with children without disabilities, placement in an interim alternative education setting, suspension for more than 10 days, expulsion
    4. Provision of FAPE to the child - IEP changes

  2. OR

  3. When the District refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of the child or refuses to make any changes requested by the parent in the provision of FAPE to the child (see Appendix E for Prior Written Notice form and a table outlining when prior written notice, informed consent, and notice of procedural safeguards must be provided).
Neither prior written notice nor consent is required for tests administered to both regular and special education students in a grade or class, or for teacher-made tests or criterion-referenced tests used to determine the child's progress toward IEP goals and objectives/benchmarks.

If prior written notice relates to an action proposed by the District that also requires parental consent, the District may give notice at the same time it requests parent consent.

Content of Notice

The prior written notice shall include:

A description of any other factors relevant to the proposal or refusal.
  1. A description of the proposed or refused action by the District.
  2. An explanation of why the District proposes or refuses to take action.
  3. A description of each evaluation procedure, test, record or report used in deciding to propose or refuse action.
  4. A description of any options the District considered.
  5. The reasons for the options being rejected.
  6. A description of any other factors relevant to the proposal or refusal.
  7. A statement that the parent has protection under procedural safeguards, or parental rights, and how they can obtain a copy of the parental rights document. If the notice is for initial referral for evaluation, a copy of the Notice of Procedural Safeguards must be provided with the notice.
  8. Resources for parents to contact for assistance in understanding their rights.
The notice must be written in language understandable to the general public and, where appropriate, in the native language or other mode of communication used by the parents. If necessary, the notice must be communicated orally in the native language or by other means so that the parent understands the content of the notice. The District must maintain written evidence that these requirements are being met.

Actions Requiring Consent

A District must document that written parental consent was obtained prior to:
  1. Conducting an initial evaluation to determine whether a child is eligible for special education.
  2. Conducting an assessment that was not listed on the initial consent for evaluation.
  3. Initially placing a child with a disability in a special education program.
  4. Conducting a re-evaluation. A re-evaluation refers to any evaluation that is conducted after a child has been determined eligible for special education. However, if parents fail to respond to reasonable measures taken by the District to obtain their consent for re-evaluation, the District may proceed with the re-evaluation.
  5. Disclosing personally identifiable information to unauthorized persons.
  6. Change of placement.
Note: Parent consent is not required before a) reviewing existing data for evaluation or re-evaluation; or b) administering a test or evaluation that is given to all children, unless consent is required of all parents.

Consent means:
  • The parent has been fully informed, in the parent's native language or other mode of communication, of all information relevant to the activity for which consent is sought.
  • The parent understands and agrees in writing (indicated by the parent's signature on the consent form) to the carrying out of the activity for which the consent was asked, and the consent describes that activity and lists any records that will be released and to whom.
  • The parent understands that the granting of consent is voluntary and may be revoked at any time, but the revoking of consent does not negate an action that has occurred after the consent was given and before the consent was revoked.
Revoking Consent

Revoking consent refers to a situation where consent is required and the parent revokes consent prior to initiation of the action for which consent was required. The District may continue to pursue the action through mediation and/or initiating a due process hearing. If the hearing officer determines that the action is necessary, and the parent does not appeal, the District may take the action. If parents disagree with the District after an action involving consent has transpired, they may request a due process hearing. During a due process hearing the child is required to “stay-put” until the hearing is completed.

Note: A parent who has provided consent for an initial evaluation may revoke that consent prior to the evaluation occurring. However, once the evaluation has been completed, a parent may not revoke consent to revert the child to a previous status, or have the evaluation disregarded. If a parent disagrees with the District evaluation, the parent has the right to an independent evaluation.

Consent for Transition Agency Participation

With the consent of the parents or the child who has reached the age of majority, the LEA must invite a representative or any participating agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services.

Refusal to Give Consent

When a parent refuses consent, a District may take the following steps:

The District may request, in writing, that the parents or guardians meet with the District staff to discuss the need for an initial evaluation, placement in a special education program, or the release of information the District believes is necessary to ensure FAPE. The District will attempt to obtain the parental consent at that meeting. If the parents or guardians refuse to give consent for an initial evaluation or re-evaluation, the District may continue to pursue the action through mediation and/or initiating a due process hearing. If the hearing officer determines that the action is necessary, and the parent does not appeal, the District may take the action.

Failure to Obtain Parental Consent for Re-evaluation

Parental consent for conducting a re-evaluation of a student with a disability is not required if the District can demonstrate that it has made reasonable attempts to obtain consent and the parent has failed to respond. Districts should carefully document their attempts to obtain parental consent.

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