1. My child has a disability? What assistance may be available to him/her at school?
2. Are school districts required to assist children who have disabilities?
3. What is an IEP?
4. Who is part of an IEP team?
Parents are allowed to invite people to attend. If the parent brings an attorney, the parent must give notice in writing to the school several days before the meeting that an attorney will be attending the meeting. The school district will then also have an attorney present.
5. How do I request an IEP for my child?
Once the school receives your letter, the school has 90 calendar days to complete the evaluation process, determine if your child is eligible for an IEP, and develop the initial IEP.
6. What should I do to prepare for an IEP meeting?
To prepare for the meeting, you should:
- Think about goals you want your child to accomplish in school this year, and questions you have for the school staff during the meeting. Write down your questions, concerns, and suggestions before the meeting.
- Review any current assessments, testing, school reports, and the most recent IEP
- Request and review your child’s education records.
At the meeting, you should:
- Bring a trusted person with you, such as your spouse, partner, relative, neighbor, or friend. This will provide you with a support system and another set of ears to hear what others have said. If you decide to bring an attorney, inform the school in writing beforehand.
- Ask questions and seek clarification throughout the meeting. Do not be afraid to stop the meeting to ask these questions or state concerns. Your concerns are important and time should be devoted to fully discuss them.
- Remember that the “I” in IEP stands for “INDIVIDUALIZED,” meaning it must be individualized to your child’s needs. Keep the team focused on your child’s unique needs. • Enter every meeting with a smile, and remember to thank the teacher.
- Make sure that everything the school is promising to do for your child is written down on the IEP paperwork. If it is not written into the IEP document, assume it is not going to happen.
- Get copies of all documents before you leave.
7. My child attends a CMS school and I am have difficulty working with special education staff at the school. Are there other resources in the district that may be helpful?
To find out who is the assigned EC Community Coordinator is for your school’s Learning Community, go to the Contact Information page of the CMS Exceptional Children’s Department website.
8. What is a Section 504 Plan?
9. Where can I learn more about the Section 504 plan process for CMS?
10. What is the difference between an IEP Plan and a Section 504 Plan?
11. My child has a disability and keeps getting suspended. What do I do?
Even if your child has not been suspended for over 10 school days this school year, you can request an IEP meeting or Section 504 meeting to discuss the suspensions and brainstorm about what support your child may need to avoid future suspensions. At this meeting, request a Functional Behavioral Analysis (“FBA”) and a Behavior Intervention Plan (“BIP”) for your child. Review the “What is a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA)?”and “What is a Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP)?” FAQs for more information.
12. What is a Manifestation Determination Review (MDR)?
At the MDR, the IEP Team or Section 504 Team must ask the following three questions:
- Was the conduct that resulted in the suspension caused by the child’s disability?
- Did the conduct that resulted in the suspension have a direct or substantial relationship to the child’s disability?
- Was the conduct that resulted in the suspension a direct result of the school district’s failure to implement the IEP/Section 504 Plan?
If the answer to any of the three questions is yes, the behavior in question must be considered a manifestation of the child’s disability.
If the team determines that it is a manifestation of the child’s disability, the team must:
- Allow the child to immediately return to school and not serve the remainder of the suspension days
- Conduct and/or review a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA), and
- Develop a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) for the child.
If the team determines that the behavior is not a manifestation of the child’s disability, the school may use the regular disciplinary procedures applicable to children without disabilities.
13. What is a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA)?
14. What is a Behavior Intervention Plan?
15. Where can I learn more about IEPs and Section 504 Plans?
The WrightsLaw website has a significant amount of information about special education and Section 504 plans. You can sign up for their newsletter and search through their online library of information.
The Exceptional Children’s Department of NC Department of Public Instruction contains information about special education in North Carolina. It also contains information about how to file a state complaint, request a facilitated IEP meeting, request mediation, and file a due process petition.
(c) U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs’ (OSEP’s) IDEA Website
This web site has a wealth of information on special education law, including the language of the federal law, presentations, and questions and answers.
The Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education’s website contains information about Section 504, including the procedures for filing an OCR Disability Discrimination Complaint.
The Disability Rights North Carolina website contains self-advocacy resources on several topics, including education.
(f) Youth Justice North Carolina Youth Justice North Carolina’s website contains publications concerning education issues of national, state, and local attention, with an emphasis on school discipline.