School Bus & Children

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES HAVE A RIGHT TO A FAPE

If you have a child with a disability, under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), your child is entitled to a free appropriate public education (FAPE). 

 

The IDEA defines a FAPE as special education and related services that:

  1. Are available to the child at no cost to the parent

  2. Meet the state educational standards, and

  3. Conform to the child's IEP

 

California law conforms to the IDEA mandates. Federal and state law require that FAPE is provided in the least restrictive environment (LRE) for each student. 

DETERMINING YOUR CHILD'S FAPE NEEDS

In order to provide your child with a FAPE, the school must determine their unique needs through an evaluation that assesses your child in all areas of suspected disability. If found eligible for special education, the school, with parent input as members of an IEP team, must design an individualized educational program to meet those unique needs from which your child will receive educational benefit, and that prepares them for further education, employment, and independent living. 

The term "unique educational needs" means your child's academic, social, emotional, behavioral, communicative, physical and vocational needs.

A CHILD'S IEP IS THE PRIMARY VEHICLE TO PROVIDE A FAPE

Your child's IEP sets out a personalized plan developed by school staff and parents to meet all of your loved one's educational needs. Among other things, the IEP lists the special education and related services to be provided so that your child can advance appropriately toward attaining educational goals. 

If you believe your child has been denied a FAPE, call us. 

TWO-PRONGED FAPE ANALYSIS

In determining whether your child was denied a FAPE under the IDEA, the court will conduct a two-pronged analysis. The first prong is the procedures prong and assesses whether the school complied with the procedures set forth in the IDEA. For instance, a school district's failure to conduct appropriate assessments or to assess in all areas of suspected disability may constitute a procedural denial of a FAPE.

 

The second prong is the substantive prong that determines whether your child's individualized education program (IEP) was reasonably calculated to ensure your child receive educational benefit. 

DENIALS OF A FAPE

Parents often call us about the following denials of a FAPE:

  • The school fails to provide services included in a child's IEP

  • The school fails to provide accommodations included in the IEP

  • The child is inappropriately placed

  • The school district fails to assess the child in all areas of suspected disability

  • The school district inappropriately assesses the child

  • The child fails to meet any of their IEP goals, but the school district makes no changes to the IEP

  • The school convenes an IEP meeting without the parent

  • The school fails to provide the parent with prior written notice

  • And more

WHAT TO DO ABOUT FAPE DENIALS

Parents have choices as to how to respond to FAPE denials. How they respond will depend, in part, on what has been denied. Here are a few common ways for you to respond when you believe your child has been denied a FAPE:

  • Talk with the teacher about the problem and solicit solutions

  • Request a communication log so you are well informed about your child's performance in school

  • Document your concerns in writing. Communicating with school district staff via email is one effective way to do this. Save text messages and voicemail from school district staff

  • Request an IEP team meeting to discuss the problem with the hope of finding a solution

  • Contact the superintendent or the director of special education of the problem and request their help in resolving it

  • Request an intradistrict transfer

  • File a Uniform Complaint with the school district

  • File a compliance complaint with the California Department of Education

  • File a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights

  • File a special education due process complaint

  • Obtain a restraining order

  • File a complaint in state or federal court

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Sacramento, California
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The information on the Caledattorney website is general information for California residents only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice or relied on for any individual case or situation.  We serve clients throughout California and  Northern California including Fresno, San Jose, PlacervilleStockton, Redding, Chico, Auburn, Grass Valley, Sacramento, Truckee, Marysville, Redding, San Francisco, Truckee, Elk Grove, Yuba City, EurekaSanta Rosa, Vacaville and Fairfield.

Molly Watson is available to meet with parents by Skype or FaceTime.

MW

Serving exceptional children & their families

MOLLY WATSON

530-273-2740