Dear Dawg: We had an ARD meeting three weeks ago at which the parties disagreed. The school proposed some changes to the IEP and placement. The parent disagreed. He checked the “disagree” box on the form, and we advised him of how to request a due process hearing. Now three weeks later, no request for hearing has been made. Is the “stay put” rule in effect? Or can we put the changes we proposed into effect? STAYING PUT UNTIL WE HEAR FROM YOU.
DEAR STAYING PUT: This came up in a case recently decided by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. In the case before it, the parties had a non-consensus IEP Team meeting in June, 2009. The parent requested a due process hearing, but waited until April, 2010 to do so. That’s a ten month gap. When did “stay put” go into effect?
The court held that “the statute is clear that the Board’s obligation to provide stay-put services was not triggered until the Parent’s administrative complaint was filed.” In other words, disagreeing at the meeting is not sufficient. The parent has to file for a hearing in order to invoke “stay put.”
This is why districts are required to provide Prior Written Notice. The PWN document gives the parent fair warning of a change that is going to go into effect, unless the parent requests a hearing. If you had a non-consensus ARDC meeting, you should have provided PWN. You say it is now three weeks later. If you have provided PWN properly, and the parent has not requested a due process hearing, the changes proposed at the meeting should go into effect. Stay put has not been invoked.
So sayeth the 2nd Circuit in Doe v. East Lyme Board of Education. It was decided on June 26, 2015, and is cited at 790 F.3d 440 (2nd Cir. 2015).
DAWG BONE: STAY PUT GOES INTO EFFECT WHEN A HEARING IS REQUESTED.