Q: My district won't evaluate my kid for special needs -- how do I appeal this?
As a parent, guardian or advocate, you have a legal right to request that your public school evaluate your child for special education. Federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as amended in 2004 (IDEA), gives you that right. States are obligated “identify, locate, and evaluate every child who may have a disability requiring special education services.” When there is suspicion that a child has a disability, parents and educators have a responsibility and a right to request a full, individual, comprehensive, multi-disciplinary evaluation. The request should be made in writing to the school district's director or supervisor of special education. Parents should retain copies of all correspondence relating to their child; and it is a good idea to hand deliver the original and have the parent copy signed and dated by someone at school so there can be no dispute as to when the letter was received.
If the school refuses to evaluate despite a parental written request, the parent can file a petition for due process with the State Department of Education or a State Complaint. You may want to seek the assistance of an advocate or attorney who specializes in special education law to assist you with the process.
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