As a parent, guardian, or advocate, you have the legal right to request that your public school evaluate your child for special education. The federal law, the Education for People with Disabilities Act (IDEA), as amended in 2004, grants you this right. States, through local school districts, must “identify, locate, and evaluate all children who may have a disability and need special education services” - this is known as “Child Find”. When a child is suspected of having a disability, parents and educators have the responsibility and the right to request a complete, individual, comprehensive, and multidisciplinary evaluation.
In accordance with the mandate of IDEA, Williamson County Schools (WCS) special education strives to provide the least restrictive environment (LRE) for all students. Depending on the decision made by the Individual Education Plan (IEP) team, a variety of services are available for each student. If the school district refuses to make an evaluation or, after evaluating the child, concludes that the child is not eligible for special education services from IDEA, parents still have other rights. Regardless of where a child is during the RTI process, IDEA rules give parents the right to request an evaluation for special education services at any time. The results of the evaluation will be used to decide if the child is eligible for special education and related services and to make decisions about the appropriate educational program for the child.
Writing an effective IEP is a very important first step in improving educational outcomes for children with disabilities. The law also states that information from an RTI process must be collected before the deadline expires - that is, before parents consent to a special education evaluation. This person must be knowledgeable about special education services and about the education of children with disabilities. Any individual management changes necessary for the child to participate in state or district evaluations must also be taken into account. At least one of the child's regular education teachers must be part of the IEP team if the child participates (or can participate) in the regular educational environment. If it is determined that a child qualifies under IDEA regulations, they shall be provided with special education and other related services in accordance with their IEP.
Except as provided in § 300.600 (d), other public agencies described in § 3002 - including LEAs and other state agencies that provide special education and related services - must also be involved in providing these services, whether directly, by contract, or through other agreements. A person who is knowledgeable about interpreting educational implications of evaluation results must also be part of this team; for example, the regular education teacher who is a member of the IEP team must participate in debates and decisions about how to modify the general curriculum in the regular classroom to ensure the child's participation and progress in the general curriculum and participation in the regular educational environment. At least one special education teacher for the child or, if applicable, at least one special education provider for the child must also be present. In all cases, parents have the right to be members of the group that decides on their child's educational placement.