Aug / 28

Agree or Disagree: What Does “Consent” Mean When It Comes to IEPs? (Part I) [IEP 043]

IEPcontent Podcast 0

When you’re reviewing your child’s IEP, what sections require special attention, and how important is the consent page? What are the parents’ rights in terms of making changes to the IEP? In this episode, we discuss the importance of fully understanding the language written in the IEP and how to modify the IEP if needed.

Full show transcript at the bottom of this post. 

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[DISCLAIMER] This podcast is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not to be construed as legal advice specific to your circumstances. If you need help with any legal matters, be sure to consult with an attorney regarding your specific needs.

What We Discuss in This Episode:

  • What does consent/informed consent mean?
  • Helpful tips for completing IEP documentation
  • Understand that consent is voluntary and can be withdrawn
  • Importance of establishing a record and putting everything in writing
  • When should you use a separate document to indicate any concerns or areas of need to be met
  • What is “stay put”?
  • Goals drives services; services drive placement
  • Meaning of language for implementing IEP

Resources Mentioned:


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Full Show Transcript

Vickie:                  Welcome to the Inclusive Education Project. I’m Vickie Brett.

Amanda:             I’m Amanda Selogie. We’re two civil rights lawyers on a mission to change the conversation about education, civil rights, and modern activism.

Vickie:                  Each week we’re going to explore new topics, which are going to educate and empower others.

Amanda:             And give them a platform to enact change in education and level the playing field.

Vickie:                  So yeah, it’s Monday for us and we both had busy weekends. I was actually in Vegas for a friend’s bachelorette, which is always fun. Plenty of stories and good times for the bachelorette. You went back to the Valley right? Oh how hot was it?

Amanda:             Oh yeah. We were kind of like up in the hills so there was a lot of wind. So like it was warm but it wasn’t horrible like it could have been worse I think. But because it was windy like that and I think like Saturday was kind of hot but I don’t know I feel like Thursday and Friday of last week were worse.

Vickie:                  Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s just humid in here. That’s what it was.

Amanda:             Yeah.

Vickie:                  Yeah in Vegas, Friday was not too bad. I think by the time I got there it was 109 but then Saturday was a lot, like it was already 116, 120 at 10:00 a.m. Yeah so but you’re inside, you’re not like super outside.

Amanda:             See that’s what gets me because I don’t like the air conditioning full blast.

Vickie:                  Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

Amanda:             So like when it’s that hot, then everywhere you go is full blast and I feel like I need to wear long sleeves.

Vickie:                  It was so crazy because it was like, there was a dust storm it was so intense, we were super high, we were on the 61st floor and we were all getting done, getting ready, getting done getting ready and we had just heard someone was vacuuming and it’s like 9:00 at night and you’re like, who’s vacuuming and we go to open the balcony for something and it’s just like, whoosh, like all this wind and our hair and our lashes we’re like ahhh. So then yeah, there was a dust bowl warning. That’s like what it said like on my phone, like I got an alert and like-

Amanda:             I’ve never even-

Vickie:                  Yeah. I was like, what? This is real?

Amanda:             I’ve dealt with monsoons in Arizona, but dust bowl?

Vickie:                  Yeah, it was like- I kept saying dust bowl. That was a historical event.

Amanda:             I was like did it really say dust bowl?

Vickie:                  Dust storm warning. And then like, a couple hours after that it was like, thunderstorms. But like, it didn’t rain at all. It was really weird. Vegas is always really weird.

Amanda:             That sounds awful.

Vickie:                  But, everybody survived and we’re back and now it’s Monday.

Amanda:             You’re in one piece.

Vickie:                  I am in one piece. So, today, we wanted to just kinda do a short pod on consent, because we had seen some activity on the Facebook group talking like real specific ’cause I know we’ve talked about consent before but we’re kinda going to get into the intricacies and like procedural things.

Amanda:             Yes and we’ll- obviously because we’re in California we’re going to talk to a certain extent about how California plays it because not all states are the same with regards to consent, so under IDEA, parents traditionally consent to the IEP, you may have heard things like, “You can consent in full or in part or you don’t have to consent.” We’re going to kind of break down those things but I want to kind of do a disclaimer: in California we are in a consent state. Not all states are consent states. So what that means is a school district cannot implement anything until the parent consents. It needs to be in writing. They need to provide that specific consent to the IEP before they can start anything. Start working on a goal, start-change the placement. Anything they don’t consent to, it is falls-back into stay-put and we’ll go over that.

But, in other states, where they’re not in consent states, what that means is that the school district can implement it, without your consent. So, you go to an IEP, they make an offer of FAPE and then it gets implemented right away. Unless, you specifically say, “I do not consent.” So you need to have that affirmative, I do not consent to this part or this thing. Otherwise, they are full within their rights to start implementing it.

In California, they can’t do that. So we often get the school districts that put a lot of pressure on the families that say, “You have to sign it today.” Or you know, “You have to sign it within ten days because we can’t implement anything until it gets started.” Well, that’s something that they should never be putting pressure on you to sign anything. And also a lot of parents were like, “Well, then they can’t implement things.” But, at the end of the day, unless there’s a substantial change, like we’re changing programs, it’s OK if it takes a week because guess what? Everything that’s been in the IEP is going to continue until you consent to the new.

Vickie:                  A lot of times we want to know, well what does consent mean? Under the IDEA it should be like informed consent. Like, for instance, the parent in their native language or other form or mode of communication is given all the information about what they’re going to consent to, so that’s the IEP.

Amanda:             To be able to make a decision.

Vickie:                  Right. So that’s like, let’s say, the IEP meeting and subsequent documents that are formed at that meeting or should be formed at that meeting. And then, the parent understands it and agrees in writing, that’s in California where the signature page- so there’s a couple different ways, so just in general, one school district on the signature page can have parents initials, little space for that, and then it says, “My initials are indicating I have consented to this IEP.” And then either above or below that is usually what we say is the participation sign-in. So, you’re always going to sign the participation sign-in. That just means that you were at the IEP. And sometimes it’s a separate piece of paper, most of the time it’s within the IEP itself.

So, we’ve seen it where it should say at the the basically that this is the participation page. And then you find parent and then you sign. When you see that there’s a space for the initial and then it says, “I hereby consent.” You signing the initial means that the IEP is consenting, because I’ve had so many parents say like, “I don’t want to sign anything. I’m not going to sign anything.” And it’s like well, no. You can sign that you were there just so that people know you were there.

Amanda:             Right. Just for attendance.

Vickie:                  And if you’re like really like, weird about it. You can just say attendance only.

Amanda:             Attendance only.

Vickie:                  Because there’s very few districts that have a separate actual like, here’s a parent participation in subsection B, and then subsection C is like where they have, here is my signature for consent to this IEP. So there’s a couple different ways that they have them.

Amanda:             Yeah, so of those forms are really tricky. They’re kinda confusing because where you sign for attendance, literally and this is where- if your form has the checkbox and then right below it it has the sign for attendance, and there’s not an actual signature, I don’t believe you should sign that fully. If your form looks like that, you should write attendance only. Only because let’s say you go and sign that, what’s going to stop anyone from checking a box and saying that you didn’t check it?

Vickie:                  I had that happen to a client.

Amanda:             I think that’s where some of these forms are very confusing and sometimes it’s on purpose.

Vickie:                  So I actually tell parents, just don’t do a check, do an initial next to it so that they get in the habit of like, one day if you’re just like, “This box is check-marked? I never check-marked it because I always do my initial.” That is helpful moving forward. Because all it takes is one person to like, check it and that’s it.

It’s also important for districts to let parents know that consent is voluntary, right? And it can be withdrawn. So none of this, “Well, you signed this and then this is it.” You can, in writing- and we just always say in writing. There’s different, like one example of the law under California and under the federal is that, if a parent makes a request for a first-time kid doesn’t have any special education services, and the parent wants to see if they’re eligible, even if the parent- the law says, even if the parent verbally requests, that district person is obligated to help that parent put it in writing. That is one of the few places where something verbal-

Amanda:             Does matter.

Vickie:                  By the parent, yeah like, kind of kicks into gear an obligation of the district. But, we always say put everything in writing because that one district person could be like, “That never happened”. You know? It’s proof, right? We’re always talking about, I mean [crosstalk 00:09:05].

Amanda:             The IDEA requires consent to be in writing, too.

Vickie:                  And so, that’s why it’s written in that way. Where it’s like, you’re a teacher, that parent comes up to you they go, “Hey I want my child to have special education”, you have an obligation in that moment to say, “OK. I have an obligation to help you put this in writing.” And a lot of districts don’t let their employees know that, or they’re really sneaky about it and the parent- and it’s not like you telling the parent, “Oh, you have to put that in writing, goodbye.” You literally have to help them.

Amanda:             Right, [crosstalk 00:09:36] help them.

Vickie:                  It’s an affirmative obligation, so that’s why we just say, with email it’s really easy and if you’re physically having to write it down, always make a copy, always have that copy time-stamped by someone, or you putting on your copy- ‘Gave to Mrs. So and So on 08/08/2018 at 2:56.” It’s almost like your little diary. It seems like you already have enough going on but, I can’t tell you how many times that’s helped some parents that I’ve filed against.

Amanda:             Yeah, absolutely. And going back to that form, so if it is just a little box that you can check to say you consent, a lot of parents will think that they don’t have the ability to explain or partially consent. So what we recommend, if you’re going to consent to the entire IEP and you have no concerns, I think it’s OK to go ahead and sign or check that box with the initial and what not. But for the most part, if there’s anything else, if there’s something you’ve requested at the IEP meeting, if there’s a concern that you shared, use a separate document and you are within your right to put on the form ‘see attached’ and the reason why I say if you’re going to use another form put on the actual IEP ‘see attached’ because what will often happen- let’s say you didn’t say ‘see attached’ but you handed in a sheet that that says you consent.

Well, the school districts have in their system whether it’s SACE or whatnot, where they can say a parent consented. So, the school district gets your little note that says ‘I consent to this part, but not this part’, and they don’t attach it to the actual document, right? So someone sees that it’s been consented to, but all they know is that it’s been consented to, and they don’t know these other parts because if it’s not attached, they may not go and look for a separate document.

Vickie:                  I was actually going to say, even before you start talking about that, you don’t have to sign the IEP meeting right after the IEP. You know, if you’re like, “I don’t have an extra piece of paper, Amanda, what am I supposed to-” no, no, no. We typically say, if you have the IEP meeting and it depends, right? Amanda and I like to request a lot of the documents that are to-be reviewed, a lot of the assessments that are going to be reviewed, at least five-days before the IEP. There’s nothing in the law that says you have any right to it, especially because it’s a type of living document where it’s supposed to really be created at the IEP. But, for the most part, it’s a form. It’s boiler plate, they’re just inserting things and they’re not saying these are the goals, this is how it’s going to be, but if [crosstalk 00:12:03] early-

Amanda:             That’s what they’re proposing.

Vickie:                  Yeah, then you can kind of take some time to review it and that’s nice. Even if you get it early, you go to the IEP meeting, sometimes it’s nice to just sleep on it. Maybe you have to go talk to your spouse about it, and you don’t have to sign it-

Amanda:             Even if you agree with everything, at the meeting, and you think, “Oh this sounds great. I want to start it right away”, take it home and read it an hour later.

Vickie:                  Even if you agree with. And sometimes they’re like, “yeah, we need to make that change. We’ll send it to you tonight.” And they’ll always want to make, “well, you can’t…” nothing will get started if you don’t sign it. And it’s like, it’s okay. I just need a day or two to review it. That’s where Amanda’s coming in with additional concerns. You could do that with your spouse at home or just away from the IEP team. So that, maybe you type it up, maybe you don’t want it in your writing, you type it up and you just put ‘See attached for consent’ or ‘for signature’.

Amanda:             So what’s supposed to happen if you decide, I consent to certain, but I don’t consent to others. Or let’s say you even consent to the whole IEP but there were a few goal areas that you would’ve like to have seen goals, but the team didn’t include them. So, you go and you do your consent letter and say, “I agree to the implementation of the IEP”, and we’ll talk about that word implementation in a second. “But, I feel that goals should be created in” toileting or feeding or reading fluency/decoding, something like that, right? And you write in the areas that you had requested.

What’s supposed to happen is the school has two options at that point. They can either make the change to the IEP to what you’re requesting, or they need to send you a prior written notice, explaining why they’re not making that change. So what this does is it creates a record that there was a concern and it wasn’t addressed. Here’s why it’s important. I, at times, will get to the point where I file for due process with a parent. I explain all the concerns that parents have had for the last two years. They’ve consented to the IEPs and I will be talking to the Director of Special Education or someone on the other side, maybe it’s their attorney and they’ll say, “well the parents have consented to all these IEPs, so I don’t know why you’re going back”, like maybe the parents relayed a concern, that they wanted a certain area of need met, and the school didn’t do anything.

They didn’t add an area of goals, the parent went and got an assessment and got services on their own, right? Maybe they went to their own speech therapist. By the time it gets to due process we’re asking for reimbursement of the cost of those services. The school district tries to make the argument, “well you consented to the IEP, why should we pay for something? Why didn’t you ask for the district to assess?”

I can then point back to this letter and say, “the parent specifically said, that they felt decoding was an area of need. The district then either didn’t send a prior written notice, so didn’t address it at all or send a prior written notice and say that they didn’t agree. So, parent’s recourse at that point, they’re entitled to go and seek it on their own. So it’s establishing that record because often times the district, if otherwise, they can make that argument.

Vickie:                  You remember what happens-

Amanda:             That too.

Vickie:                  Even if you’re recording it, you’re not going to go back and like listen to it and even if you did, the district would be like, “Well that was just discussion and then we moved on.” Or “You agreed” or “You said yes” or “You said no”. A good way to- I’ve seen one district handle where parent was like, “Oh, I do have a concern with speech and language.” And they’re like, “Well, we haven’t seen that concern, we’d like to take data over the next two weeks” or whatever it was. Because before we can even talk about this goal that you want, we need a baseline, right? And so then- now, you guys are agreeing to extend or at that point I’d say, “OK. Well we have to have another IEP meeting in three weeks so we can discuss that” because that’s all well and done if it actually gets done, well in said and done but if you never have a follow-up IEP meeting, then you’re not really getting anything out of the district and you’re not holding them accountable.

So it’s like, if the district wants to do that, which is great, I think that’s a good idea. I had a parent that was like very insistent for their very small child. He was in like kindergarten on the spectrum, they insisted on a, he looks you in the eye goal. And that’s just one- we don’t need to focus on that because most kindergartner’s don’t look people in the eye, but they were very hyper-focused on his abilities or not-abilities and they just felt like that was important and that district had say OK. The district really should’ve said, “well let’s see how he starts doing” because by the end of the year, he passed all of his goals but then this parent-created goal, he didn’t pass and the parents were like super just upset about it. And it was like, that is not a realistic type of goal-

Amanda:             Right. It might have been an area he wasn’t ready to work on that yet.

Vickie:                  Right, to even try to explore and like, if the district was able to get some information about it- and like, that’s great, I’m not a district attorney, but like, I just thought it was very interesting because then parents could only hyper-focus on him not passing that one goal, but it was like, but this was a goal that you wanted anyway, that the district really doesn’t even have to work on because it’s not academically related. Social and emotionally, he was fine with other peers so he was doing enough contact. [inaudible 00:17:16] you know, listen. That’s a very small example, I sue school districts for a living, but I’m just pointing out that when you have things in writing and when you have those discussions, it could be two separate things ’cause the whole IEP could be on the same page, and the next year you get one person that wasn’t involved and that’s the new program specialist and it’s like their show. And you’re like what? That’s not what happened.

Amanda:             And that is really important. It’s important for all purposes, but we often get a lot of questions about consent, not just about the writing like we were just talking about, put it all in writing. “Well, I consented to these IEPs all these years, how can I come back and argue I didn’t agree with it?” Right?

So there’s a couple things there. One, is you have the right to withdraw consent at anytime. So let’s say this is a very specific example, but I had a parent where a kid was having some trouble of the bus, getting up, moving around, very dangerous, right? So the school had come in and had offered/proposed a harness for him, to keep him in the seat. The parents weren’t sure but they said, “OK. Go ahead, get started.” Well, the child had a specific condition where he couldn’t have his temperature get above a certain level, otherwise he would have a seizure.

Vickie:                  Oh no.

Amanda:             Being in a restraint caused him stress, causes him to overheat, and that became dangerous. So, it became very clear, very quickly that that restraint was not safe for him. So parents were well within their right to say, “I’m withdrawing consent to the use of this harness on the bus, because it is unsafe for my child.” Now, the parents could’ve just decided, “You know what? I have a personal belief against restraints and I don’t want to use it.” They still can withdraw consent. So, it’s up to the school district at that point to either propose an alternative, so maybe an aid on the bus. Or, if they truly feel that that is necessary, then they need to file for due process to then implement that strategy, if they want to.

Vickie:                  That actually brings up, a lot of the times we talk about you know, trial. We have these trial sessions sometimes. So, I had gotten involved and another attorney had been involved and they referred the case to us and the trial was moving from just a regular school to a non-public school and the child at the public school had a one-to-one aid and moving to the non-public school because there was going to be less kids in the classroom, they were like, “Look, for the transition, he will have the aid for the first 60 days. But then, we’re all agreeing that we’re going to revisit this and if he still needs the aid then we’ll talk about it then and offer it anew, I suppose, with the new team and if not, it just ends.” So the parent agreed to that, and when I ended up going to the IEP meeting with her and the child was doing really great, he was at the top of his class and there was just, the aid hadn’t really been- the aid was still there because for the 60 days the aid was supposed to be there, but she almost became like a classroom aid for the teacher because the child really didn’t need it.

Of course, they had all this data, and it’s a private- a non-public school is technically a private school. So it wasn’t like the district was ganging up on her and using all this data, it was like, oh these outside people from this private school are also that. The mom was so upset, she was like, “We need this aid and he still needs the aid and I don’t trust it” and I was like, “But you consented with your prior attorney, to this trial and we’re all here and this is- you got to be careful with getting what you want, to a certain extent” but also realizing the flip-side is if it’s trial, it’s automatic. Kind of like how you were talking about other states where it’s just like, “You cannot stay put at that moment in time because the IEP had written it. Look, he’s transitioning to a new school, he will have this aid for 60 days. If he needs it we will continue it, if not, it’s don’t.

Amanda:             We could have a whole pod on doing trials, diagnostic trials, whatever you want to call them. But it’s really important that the trials are very specific because often times what happens, if we’re not clear on what does it mean for a trial to be successful or unsuccessful, then we end that time and it’s very subjective for the district to then be able to say, “well it didn’t work” or “it’s not needed”. And then that’s when usually the parents get upset, right? Because they have an expectation of something, but the expectation was not outlined in the IEP or in the designation of the trial. For instance, what does it mean if the kid is being placed diagnostically in a gen ed setting or another setting then where they were previously and that diagnostic setting is not gonna be stay-put, and we’re putting the parameters of what it means for that to be successful, for that child to stay in that environment. If we don’t put that in place, then the team could just come and say, “Well we don’t think it’s appropriate so we’re just going to end the trial” and there is no stay-put at that time. Or the stay-put is the prior placement.

So, that needs to be very clear. But in terms of yeah, when you consent to something you can absolutely withdraw consent if it’s something that you want, you’re probably not going to withdraw consent, and it’s not like, “Oh, well it was a trial. So I’m going to withdraw my consent to have it only be a trial” that doesn’t work that way. But it’s definitely something that a parent can do. If you feel that something is being implemented that you don’t approve of. So, if they put in a behavior intervention plan or a BIP that you feel is using restraints that you don’t think is appropriate you can withdraw consent to that then.

Vickie:                  I know there’s moments where it’s just like, “Oh my gosh, I want to consent to that one-part.” So, for instance, let’s say they’re going to start counseling services for the child and the team’s really excited and the school psych was there and they want to try to start things as quickly as possible and they’re telling you “It’s Thursday, but we can for sure start this on Monday”, and if you want that to actually happen that’s okay, you can consent to that part, but I think you just say- because for the most part, when you take that IEP home, and let’s say for a couple of days you’re just mulling it over, what actually ends up happening is you have an IEP that has been consented to. It was the one from the previous year. And I know Amanda and I have talked about stay-put-, but that is technically stay-put. If nothing really change in the IEP other than the child’s goals, you know, services were the same, and things like that.

There is not going to be any harm to child. It’s those situations where they’re trying to initiate a change, they’re trying to add something or take something away that they want you to sign the IEP. Or things are- all things relative, often times we’ve been in multiple just debates over, “OK. Well, let’s say the parent consents to goals. The parent consents to accommodations. But they don’t consent to placement.” The placement is not wrong, maybe there’s safety issues. This is a case of mine right now, the special education classroom’s in the basement and your child has spina bifida and there’s only one way to get into that classroom and it’s through an elevator which he doesn’t have access to on his own, he doesn’t have a key. And god forbid there’s an emergency, is somebody going to be there that’s going to be able to take him up the stairs?

So, you have to think, and we said this multiple times. Goals drive services, services drive placement. So, if there’s something wrong with the placement, you know, it’s in a weird area or you don’t like that school. That’s a very hard argument for a parent to win in front of a judge because the judge could say, “You agreed to the goals and the [crosstalk 00:24:52] and the services-”

Amanda:             So this is where it’s very important for you to be specific about what your concerns are. Because you could agree to goals and services and still disagree with placement.

Vickie:                  That’s true.

Amanda:             But you have to be clear in why. Just because, and this is where the school districts love to play the game if we do go to due process, is they say, “well parents agreed to goals and services and those drove the placement recommendation.” However, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in an IEP where we’re concerned that a more restrictive environment might be imposed. We’re going through the goals, the goals are appropriate for that child, we go through the services, we go through the accommodations, they are appropriate. Maybe we make a lot of changes like, through that meeting. Then all of a sudden they say, “But we’re going to propose this mild-mod or mod-severe SEC class and it’s very restrictive setting.”

Well, in my mind, when I look at those proposed goals and services, yeah of course they can be implemented in the more restrictive setting, but the question is, can they be implemented in a less restrictive setting? So, just because you agree to the other things doesn’t mean that you would have to agree with the placement because you have to look at the LORE, you have to look at are those goals and services able to be implemented in a less restrictive environment, where the student may make progress.

Vickie:                  But that’s the thing, is you’re saying that as an attorney. And as a parent, that’s why I think it’s important for them to know, it needs to be very specific because they could say, “I don’t think they need to be in that most restrictive environment.” And we’ve had school districts, even with advocates present say, “No, this is the only way we can provide these services in this setting.” And so at that point I think what’s smart for the parent to do is to say, “You know what? I’d like to see both those settings, then. I’d like to see whether or not-” because we have districts all the time say, “Oh, well we don’t want to pull them out that much.” It’s very rare that a parent ever say, “I want less of this individual service” or “less of this group”. But maybe, in order to get the placement that you want, and you won’t know until you see those two placements.

It’s easy for us because we’ve seen it multiple times. Because we can make them try to provide this [crosstalk 00:26:58] specific placements, there’s certain things that have to happen because of the student to teacher ratio.

Amanda:             Of course, and that is a very specific case. But in most instances, if a lot of times, the goals and services can be implemented in a less-restrictive setting. But that’s what I’m saying, the parent needs to be specific to say, “I agree with these goals and I agree with these services, but I believe that they can be implemented in-” and then they can say whatever placement that they want. Let’s say they want the mild-mod versus the mod-severe. They want gen ed or they want RSP or, you know, what not. You can be very specific and that kind of goes to making the statement that you agree to implement something, but you don’t agree it constitutes FAPE or Free and Appropriate Public Education.

Vickie:                  OK, so that’s good. That’s a good segue, yeah.

Amanda:             That’s where I was going with this. In terms of, that’s kind of where you know, you go through and you do believe that the goals are somewhat appropriate. Or maybe you don’t agree that they’re appropriate, but you don’t want, like the student’s already passed all their goals from the previous year, because maybe they were very easy. But you don’t agree that they’re giving you challenging goals moving forward. Maybe you have concerns with the decrease in services in some way, but you don’t want certain things to go- like Vickie made a comparison to a IEP where the new IEP is very similar to the past IEP. So whether or not you consent to the new IEP isn’t going to have much a difference because the past IEP was already consented to, so it’s going to continue. But in circumstances where things are changed, and you want to make sure that new goals are actually starting, because maybe there are some goals that you like. You can put language, that says that you agree to implementing the goals, or implementing the services, or implementing the whole IEP, but you don’t agree that the offer proposed was appropriate or constitutes a free and appropriate public education.

Now, the effect that that has immediately, is that the school district can implement it, just as if you’ve consented to it. However, if there’s any question later down the line whether or not you felt that is was appropriate, that’s example that I gave previously where the director came back and said, “well, they consented to the IEP all these years, we didn’t know.” And if you look back in the parent’s notes and if you look back at the notes in the IEP it’s very clear parent expressed concerns, but they didn’t express those concerns on the consent page, and ultimately a lot times, that’s the only thing that people- you know people aren’t looking at the notes section, right?

So you could say it and they could document it in the notes, you know, parents asked for this. Parents were concerned about this, but then when it came down to the signature page you consented to it. If you go and you do you separate piece of paper and you say, “I agree to the implementation of the March 13, 2017 IEP. But I do not agree that it constitutes a FAPE because…” and then you could list out the things that you don’t feel. You feel that there should be a social/emotional goal. You feel that there should be a decoding goal, or a reading-fluency goal and the team disagreed. Or you don’t agree that the last goals were met. Or you don’t agree that the goals are challenging. Or you believe that the goals and services can be implemented in a less restrictive environment.

So, as much information as you can put on that is going to be better because it’s going to be very clear these are the terms. And then it can’t come back later and say, “Oh, well, you consented to all these things so therefore you can’t come back later.” I mean we have two-year statute of limitations for a reason. You may not know things in the moment that you find out later. Or, you have a change of heart later and so that’s why you’re able to come back to the table, too.

Vickie:                  And so that’s just consent part one. We’ll do a part two because you can consent to evaluations and things like that. And what happens when you don’t consent and the district is not just bothering you, but really parents like to know what the next step is. So, hopefully that kind of gave you a very generalized, everything is individualized, so if you have specific questions, you know let us know because I can’t tell you how many times parents, you know, say “I tried to follow this” or “I tried to do that and then this happened” different districts do things in different ways, and so this is just kind of a culmination of everything that Amanda and I have experienced, thus far.

Amanda:             We’re giving you what should happen.

Vickie:                  Right.

Amanda:             At the end of the day, the reason why attorney’s in SPED exist, is because the school districts don’t always do what they should do. So we’re saying, you do this. The school district should do x, y and z as a result. But just because they’re not doing that, there are resources of course, but don’t think that it’s going to always happen automatically.

Vickie:                  Today you learned, okay. What I can do consent wise, moving forward to a IEP and we’ll talk about in the part two, consent to evaluations, special education, services and just initiation of special education in general and then what happens when you kind of withhold that, at least in California and some alternative ways that Amanda and I have been dealing with districts in the last couple of months. It’s just been like a trend.

Amanda:             We talked about consent. We went through the important factors of consent and if you have any information that you want to share about consent issues that you’ve had or maybe if you have some tips about consent, feel free to go to our Facebook group and share them or you know, maybe we can start a conversation about that, as well. But, we also wanted to remind you before we leave you for this episode, that our event is coming up soon, September 13. Hopefully this will air before then.

Vickie:                  Yeah.

Amanda:             It will. [crosstalk 00:32:40].

Vickie:                  Yeah, so we’ll have a URL up. Purchasing tickets that’s available through our Facebook pages and groups.

Amanda:             And our website.

Vickie:                  And our website. So hopefully you guys can join us for those panelists that will be talking about the bridge between mental health, school and learning. We’ll also have a silent auction, kind of make it a night out for parents. We’ll have a bar and appetizers available, as well. So that it’s not all just, you sit and listening to some panelists who are very interesting, but you kind of get around and can pick-up some fun stuff. [crosstalk 00:33:19].

Amanda:             Some live music. We’ve got some great sponsors that will be there, as well. It’s shaping up to be a pretty good night, so stayed tuned, take a look at our Facebook page, and our website for more information. And we will talk to you next week.

Vickie:                  Bye.

Amanda:             Bye.

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