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 Ask the Attorney with John Brower, J.D.

Question:  My child is disabled and I believe that she needs one-on-one help in school.  The school is not providing the one-on-one help or other services I think she needs.  Last week the school my daughter goes to said that they couldn't handle her. I asked them if they could give her one-on-one help at school and they told me "No" so I said that I would home school her if they would help me. They said "yes" when I signed the papers and brought her home THEN they told me that they couldn't help and that I was on my own.

Answer:  A school is required to provide a disabled student who has been found eligible for special education services with a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) consisting of appropriate regular and special education services, and related services designed to allow the child to progress in the public education setting.


Initial eligibility is determined after a comprehensive multi-disciplinary educational evaluation. Once a child is found eligible, the actual services, program, placement, etc., are all "individualized" and determined by the child's child's IEP Team (which includes the parents). That would include the need for a 1:1 aide, speech services, other types of therapy, etc. plus specially designed regular education program and special ed as needed.


Unfortunately, if a parent elects to "sign papers" to formally withdraw their child from the public schools, particularly to "home school" them, the public school where the student resides has very little obligation to the student (although providing appropriate services for an eligible student that is "homebound" is possible.


As such I generally advise parents to stick with the public school until their child is found eligible or they have decided not to pursue a denial of eligibility via mediation or due process. It is too easy for a school to argue the parent let them off the hook by withdrawing them from school. Again, the best approach is generally to stay with the public school and force a comprehensive current evaluation, obtain private (or school funded independent) evaluations that support your claim for services, then ask the IEP Team provide what is needed.


As each state's program and procedures vary so much, you may want to contact your state P & A for assistance, or check the web site for names of private pay attorneys in your area, or if you cannot afford an advocate or attorney, one of the non-profits or Legal Aid may be able to help.

John F. Brower, JD
Education Law Center, PLLC

Education Law Center, PLLC 810-227-9850 

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