Special ED Law

SEB Legal provides support for Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 plans, assist you in receiving appropriate Independent Educational Evaluations (IEEs), and when needed, assist with mediation sessions and due process hearings.

 

Individualized Education Programs (IEPs): Parents are equal members of the IEP team, and have the right to ensure their child a personally-appropriate education, including: that present levels of achievement are accurately recorded using objective measures that can be tracked over time; that goals reflect a specialized education plan tailored to the child's unique needs rather than convenience; that Extended School Year (ESY) services are provided based on theindividual child's needs rather than on district preference; that services to be provided to the child are detailed on the document in a manner that promotes school accountability; and that supports from the district to those providing the services are clearly outlined.

 

504 Plans: Students with disabilities (including disabling medical conditions) have the right to accommodations so that they can learn alongside their non-disabled peers. While some accommodations are largely universal, such as ramps for wheelchairs, others must be tailored to individual needs, and may benefit only that particular child. Parental input is often invaluable in crafting a creative solution. Please note: If the disability adversely affects the child's educational performance, the student should be eligible for an IEP, which offers more rights and protections.

 

Independent Educational Evaluations (IEEs): Evaluations are essential to accurately pinpoint the areas in which your child needs services in order to receive an appropriate education. If you disagree with the evaluation(s) performed by district personnel, or if the evaluations are inadequate, you may have the right to an independent educational evaluation at public expense.

 

State Complaints: There are different methods in which to address concerns over you child's education. State complaints may be particularly useful for procedural violations, such as lack of adequate notice, lack of parental consent, or time-frame issues.

 

Mediation: While completely voluntary, mediation can be used to seek a mutually-agreeable solution, either independent of, or in conjunction with, a formal complaint or request for a due process hearing. The mediation session, itself, is provided by the State without cost to the parents, and is virtually risk-free, in that parents are not required to accept any offered solution. The mediator does not make a decision; the parties do. Therefore, mediation is binding only when it produces an agreement that satisfies both parties.

 

Due Process Hearings: A due process hearing is a formal procedure not unlike a trial, usually involving multiple witnesses, expert testimony, cross-examination, and legal arguments designed to determinewhether the child has been denied a free appropriate public education. It is held before an impartial hearing officer, and may take several days. However, in Utah, most disputes settle through mediation or a resolution session prior to this point. The Utah State Office of Education has reported conducting only two due process hearings in the past eight years, one in the 2006-2007 federal fiscal year, and another in 2008-2009.