Why You Should Rethink Your Consent on Your Child’s Special Education Services January 24, 2018

By Susan C. Stone

Parents are becoming more aware of their rights when it comes to the delivery of services for children.  With this awareness, it becomes more important than ever to rethink how revocation of parental consent for special education and related services impacts the delivery of services to students with disabilities.

In December of 2008, the United States Department of Education, after amending regulations to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), allowed parents to revoke their consent for special education and related services for their child. Thus, if a parent no longer agrees with the services their child receives, the parent alone can simply revoke their consent to all services in writing. The school district is then required to discontinue all special education and related services for the child within a reasonable period of time.

However, what if a parent believes that it is only necessary to revoke their consent for the continued implementation of some special education services and not to others.  In other words, what if a parent only wishes to revoke their consent for one specific service. Can the school discontinue some services, while keeping those for which the parent has not revoked consent.

The Department of Education has luckily provided some guidance in answering this inquiry. It has stated where a parent disagrees with a particular special education service and the parent and school agree that the child would still be provided with a free appropriate public education (FAPE) if the child did not continue to receive that service, the school should just remove that service from the child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP), while continuing to keep the other services in place. However, if the parent and school disagree about whether the child would be provided with FAPE if the child stopped receiving a particular special education service, the parent may use established due process procedures to obtain a ruling that the service with which the parent disagrees is not appropriate for the child.  Still, the district should still continue to follow the IEP with regard to the other services.

The decision whether to revoke parental consent to special education and related services in their entirety or to revoke consent only for some services and not to others can be challenging to navigate.  Typically, parents can consult with outside professionals before making such an important decision.  However, parents should be comforted by the fact that an IEP is a live document, always subject to review and criticism, and that they have the right to critique individual services.

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