Notice of Procedural Safeguards Informs Parents of Their Rights

Notifying Parents of Their Rights

Girl sitting with therapist
Procedural safeguards protect rights. Izabela Habur/E+/Getty Images

A Notice of Procedural Safeguards is a document that explains the rights of children with IEPs and their parents. It is required by the IDEA as way to insure that parents are clearly aware of their rights, which prior to PARC vs. the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (a Supreme Court Decision,) were often ignored if not denied.  It also explains the IEP procedure, and how each step, from identification to IEP goals, plays out.

Procedural Safeguards should be offered to parents at every meeting.  Parents should be asked if they want a copy, and sign a statement in the IEP that they have received the Procedural Safeguards. Parents may have multiple copies at home and may prefer not to take another. Be sure that you are clear when the state includes new information.

The contents will include:

Notification:  The right of the parents or guardians to receive prior written notice of certain steps in the process, from evaluation , to placement and the meetings to determine those things.  There are specific guidelines for each sort of meeting, and when responses are needed.  Three notices are required.

Consent:  Parents have to consent to evaluation, meetings, the placement and finally the students academic program, defined in the IEP.  That will also include consent to services, such as speech language therapy,

Independent Evaluation:  When the district completes it's evaluation, the parent may request and independent evaluation.  The district is to provide their criteria and a list of approved professionals to provide the evaluation.  The parents can request it be provided at public expense, or they can choose to pay for their own assessment.

Confidentiality:  This is defined in the procedural safeguards, and describes how it is provided.

State Complaint and Mediation:  Parents have the right to complain to the state, usually the state compliance office in the department of education of that state.  The safeguards provide guidance as to how this happens.  The state will also provide mediation in disputes between parents/guardians and the school district (LEA.)

Due Process:  This is the procedure to change the IEP in any way, whether it is for services (speech, physical therapy, occupational therapy,) a change in placement, even a change in diagnosis.  Once a parent starts the process, the old IEP stays in place until a decision is rendered.

Manifestation Determination:  This describes how students with disabilities will be handled in the disciplinary process for significant behaviors, such as fighting, disrupting the class, etc.  A meeting must be held when a student has been suspended ten days to decide if that behavior is related to his or her disability. 

Alternative Placement:  This describes how parents can voluntarily choose to remove a child from the public school and seek instruction in an alternate setting.  It also describes the circumstances under which the district (Or LEA--Local Education Authority) will be required to pay for that placement.

Each state is given some latitude in the special education process. The IDEA establishes the minimum that states must provide for special education students. Class action suits and state laws may change regulations from state to state. Below are links to down-loadable PDF files of procedural safeguards for California, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Also Known As: Notice of Procedural Safeguards

Examples: At the meeting, Ms. Lopez gave Andrew's parents a copy of the Procedural Safeguards and had them sign the first page of the IEP, that states that they have received a copy, or waive receiving a copy.