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What can I do if the school is not following the IEP?

Parents want to know that when their children are in school, they are getting the support and guidance they need to get the education they deserve. Unfortunately, too many children across Alabama are not receiving as high of qualify of education as they should.

This can even be the case for children who have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Federal and state laws require schools to provide support and resources to children with disabilities who have an IEP. However, there are schools who fail to comply with these requirements. Under these circumstances, parents have a few options.

Ask why

In some cases, simply calling out the issue can be enough to remedy it. Perhaps there is confusion over the details of implementation or miscommunication among IEP team members. In such situations, speaking up to ask why parties are not following an IEP can trigger the desired response.

Parents should be able to ask any member of the IEP team questions about implementation. If teachers or counselors cannot provide an answer, parents can go to the principal, who is ultimately responsible for overseeing teachers and ensuring compliance with IEPs

Get involved

Parents must be an advocate for their child. And when it comes to ensuring teachers and faculty are complying with an IEP, it may only be the parents who can protect a child's rights, so they must get involved.

In addition to knowing what accommodations your child needs, be sure you check in with his or her teachers; talk to your child about his or her experiences in school; pay close attention to progress reports; offer solutions; be vocal if you worry something is not right.

Hold non-compliant parties accountable

If there are still IEP implementation issues after parents have raised concerns with the IEP team and gotten involved, more aggressive action may become necessary.

Depending on the situation, this could involve a strongly written letter, seeking out a public forum, filing a complaint with the state education agency, requesting mediation or filing a lawsuit.

When a child's education is on the line, it is important that parents do not feel helpless. Taking action and enlisting various resources to ensure a child receives the supports he or she has a right to receive can make the difference between a child struggling and succeeding in school.

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