Toolbox Tuesday!! Let’s be sure the parents understand what’s going on.

Tool #2 in our Toolbox involves an Educational Change of Placement With Parental Agreement. Now that sounds pretty simple. If the school proposes a change of placement and the parent agrees, you simply have an ARD meeting, fill out the paperwork, and sing Kumbaya.  But when the change is prompted by student misconduct, it’s particularly important to make sure that parent agreement is voluntary, informed and genuine. 

I bumped into an obscure matter from Ohio that nicely illustrates the concern.  After many disciplinary problems, the director of the STEM School met with the mom on the first day after the winter break—January 3, 2018. The director told the mom that her boy “needed to be in a different placement.” The mom later alleged that the director simply told her to sign off on the change.  Which she did.

Consent?  No. The Ohio State Educational Agency concluded that this was not the kind of well informed, voluntary consent the law requires.  The school did not give advance notice that it wanted to discuss a change of placement, and did not offer any alternatives. There was no IEP Team meeting and the documentation was lacking.

School officials should always keep in mind that they often deal with parents who do not understand the special education process, their rights as parents, or even the jargon heavy vocabulary we so often employ. That’s why we emphasize that parental agreement to a change of placement needs to be authentic. 

Tool #2 is just one of ten “tools” we offer in our all-day Toolbox Training. If interested, let me hear from you. 


Tomorrow: An audioconference you don’t want to miss.