Learn Your Special Education Laws, Special Education Rights, and Share IEP Goal Ideas

May 12
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by Doug Goldberg

When a parent makes a specific request many times the parent will hear no, we can’t do that or that is not part of our offer.  This is when you should remind them that IDEA requires an explanation in writing of why the school district refuses a request and a description of each evaluation procedure, assessment, record or report the school district used as a basis for the refusal.  This is called Prior Written Notice (PWN) and it applies when the school district proposes to change or refuses to change the identification, evaluation, or placement of a child.

The notice from the school district should include:

  1. A description of the action refused by the school district.
  2. An explanation of why the school district refuses to take the action.
  3. A description of any other options the IEP team considered and the reasons for the rejection of those options.
  4. A description of each evaluation procedure, assessment, record, or report the school district used as a basis for the refused action.
  5. A description of any other factors that is relevant to the school district’s refusal.

PWN is an important tool because it makes the school district take the parents suggestions seriously and usually starts a more in-depth discussion at the IEP meeting.  If, after the discussion the school district still won’t budge PWN also creates a helpful record of the chain of events that can be used in the future, if necessary, at mediation, due process or state or federal court.

Sample  of the Prior Written Notice – U.S. Department of Education Model Form

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Prior Written Notice One of a Parent’s Most Important Tools

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