Can a principal of a public school override a decision made by the special ed team of that same school?

Question:My daughter currently attends a therapeutic school, and neither one of us like the school, and don't want her to go back there in the fall. The problem is that the special ed team won't let her attend a different school, or even what is called "the basement" of her school, where the days are shorter and there is a social worker on staff. They say she needs a therapeutic environment, however, their version of theraeputic is to put her in time out every chance they get. My daughter gets so upset about going to this school that she gets physically ill. I have brought to the principal of her school, and he claims he cannot override the special ed team's decisions. Isn't the boss over everyone in the school?

1) Learn the law Wrightslaw - buy their books too - explore the law online - research federal and state law

2) Request an IEP/Evaluation Planning meeting in writing

3) At the meeting request a new full set of evaluations to prove or disprove that your daughter should be in the placement you feel is appropriate.

4) Wait for the school district to complete the probably poor quality, self-serving evaluations. Know the number of days they have to complete these evaluations, example 60 days or 90 days, it varies from state to state. Let them know that on due date plus 1 you will file for due process to ask a judge to order them to complete the evaluations. If they do not meet their deadline, file the due process. Filing an open and shut case like this is easy (print off the forms from your state's education website). You do not need a lawyer or even an advocate if they are clearly in the wrong. In all likelihood, they'll complete the eval before you get a court date and you can drop the case.

5) While you are waiting for the evals to be complete, find out some good people, psychologist, social worker, learning consultant, who do independent evaluations.

6) When the evals are complete, disagree and request independent evaluations. Work with the independent evaluations and explain to them why you feel your daughter needs the placement you desire. Do not tell them what to write, but give them the facts to support what you believe is best.

7) Hopefully, the independents will come back recommending the appropriate placement for your daughter. Have the meeting and insist that the recommendations go into her IEP.

8) If you still have trouble, file due process using the independent evals as evidence, but you probably won't have trouble.

9) There are no guarantees that any of this will work, but it does work most of the time. I know that all this takes time and it is hard to be patient. Click on my profile if you want to email me more questions.

10) I wish you and your daughter well.
It depends. In some areas, the special ed is actually affiliated with the social services dept of that particular state or county.
talk to the principal first along with the team and try to come to an agreement.
If that fails then go to the school board,then the school superintendant as a final recourse.
Your child has a right to an education !
I don't believe he can override their "recommendation" to keep her in the class, because they probably believe that she will eventually adapt or that it will help her.
However, Nobody can prevent you from taking your daughter out of the school, if you believe she is not being treated good or if they are not helping her.
You can complain to your districts Board Of Ed office.
Believe me, Nobody can tell you where to put your child, they can only recommend certain things.
Good Luck !
The principal can't.

Did you attend the IEP Meeting?
Were you given your parent rights's?
Were you told options if you disagreed with her plan?

Your daughter has rights under FEDERAL LAW!
As parent/s you have rights under FEDERAL LAW!

You need to get an attorney!
You don't explain the setting or your daughter's needs, but I am guessing there are some behavioral or emotional needs guiding her placement. As her parent, if you disagree with her placement, you can request a reveiw of it at anytime. This would include another round of evaluations and a re-considering of what her needs are and how to meet them. If, after that, you are still unhappy with ther placement, you can request another evaluation done by an independent tester at the exspense of the public schools. If after that, you still disagree with her placement, you can continue to advocate and appeal the decisions. I would contact an advocacy group to have someone help you through the can take time and until a final decsision is made your daughter would continue recieveing services as outlined in her current IEP.

This process is the only way to get her placement changed. School administrators do not have the ability to over-ride the accomodations of IEP's...including placement in certain classrooms. For a change to occur, the IEP has to be re-written.
What does your daughter's IEP say? You are supposed to be a part of the IEP team. The school cannot totally disregard your opinions. If they are not giving you any say in this, then they are violating your rights as a parent and your daughter's right to a Free and Appropriate Education. My advice is to familiarize yourself with IDEA 2004, which is the law for special education in the US. I would also suggest you to call a team meeting. The IEP team is supposed to include the parents and possibly even the student (depending on the age of the student). An IEP cannot be enacted unless EVERYONE on the team signs the IEP itself, and parents are supposed to be included on this.

Also: If the special ed room is in the basement of the school, it shows that the school doesn't think very highly of it's special needs students. Talk to other parents of students with needs that are similar to those of your daughter. They may have stories similar to that of your daughter and may have good advice on how to work with the people on your daughter's team.

All in all, the most important thing you can do for your daughter is learn your rights as her parent and her rights as a student. I would call a team meeting asap and see if you can discuss a revision on your daughter's IEP. If the meeting does not have a positive outcome, I would get out of that district. They do not sound like they are very honest.
Please please please familiarize yourself with your parent's rights packet. You should have been given that packet when you were notified of your IEP meeting, signed permission to evaluate paperwork, etc. You can always request it and in some states, you can access it online throught your state's educational website. You are entitled to a FREE outside evaluation. That means you can have the school pay for that evaluation by other professionals. There is lots of information in the parent's right packets that you are probably unfamiliar with because the print is so small and the packet is so darn long. Trust me as a speech-language pathologist working for the public schools. We (public school people) don't like due process hearings - which you are entitled to if you can't reach an agreement with your school district.

Do you mind disclosing what type of diagnoses your child has? And why she may need a therapeutic school? It sounds to me like there just needs to be better strategies in place to help deal with her behaviors/needs. Perhaps she does have a difficult time expressing herself? The principal can't override a decision but the special education director can and very often will if you mention due process. Hope that helps - email me if you need more info or help.
Your principal is absolutely correct. He cannot override the decision of the IEP team. An IEP is a legal contract and must be followed. However, it is within your rights to request another IEP meeting- and it must be held. Be sure it is an official IEP meeting. An informal meeting doesn't necessarily lock the school into anything official. However, because an IEP is a legal document, they must follow whatever is says. Once the new IEP meeting is held, the IEP team will make their recommendations. If you disagree, you can take it to due process - in other words, fight against the decision the IEP team made. If you feel that the IEP is not doing what you feel is in the best interest of your child, be sure to get in contact with a child advocate. A child advocate is someone who is familiar with the in's and out's of the IEP process and will advocate your position for you and your child. Good luck, and best wishes.
You as her parent have the right to make that decision so fight for what you think is best for your daughter. As far as the Principal overriding a decision, he can as long as he stays in compliance with her IEP because that is a federal document, So he can't tell you that he can do something that does not meet her IEP requirements, however they cant not allow you to transfer her to another school.
You have the right to place your child where you want. The team can make suggestions, but as a special education teacher, I have seen parents place students where they want!
Are all these people or "the special ed team" the CSE? Because if so you can appeal it & the parent(s) are allowed to bring anyone they want to a CSE meeting & if worse comes to worse you can hire an attorney b/c there're attorney's that specialize in Special Ed law so that you don't get bullied by the school/group & to make sure that everything's being done in your daughters best interest.
the I.D.E.A demands that kids be in the least restrictive enviroment (which is why so many kids end up mainstreamed when some need an enviroment with some restricitiom) & the I.D.E.A. stands for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (for those of you who don't know)

But no, he's not the boss of everything but is supposed to be part of the team (the CSE) or someone representing him is @ least...
You should have had imput into which school your daughter attends. Noone can make her go to a school that you don't approve of. Call for another IEP meeting and bring letters from every professional that works with your daughter out side of school especially if she has a therapist. Get one from her primary care doctor also. Have them put in the letter that she can't return to the school in the fall. IF she has a twelve month progaram tell them that you will keep her home this summer until the situation is resolved. You have the right to call an IEP meeting anytime you think that the IEP should be revised and that means when you want to change schools. If your daughter is in the public school system in your town or city maybe you should consider a private school for childlren with LD and if she's in one than maybe she needs to change school. But this time you need to do some reasearch and find a school that you've checked out. The school that the Commitiy on Special Education chooses it the one that they think can work for your child and cost them the least amount of money. You need to go on the web go to your States VESID web site and find a school for children with your daughter's diablity and contact a few of them and see if you can arrange for a interview to check out the school and make sure you ask them what they do when a child misbehaves. My daughter's school has a mulit purpose room where there are teachers to help them when they need to leave the class room. There they are given a time out for starting with five minutes or they are taken to their counslor's office, each child has a counslor that they see at least once a week and more if needed. Your child may need a school like that. You don't say where you are but if you're in a major city there more likely to be a school than in a small town I live in NYC and there are several schools for children with LD . Don't let the Commity on Special Education or what ever they call it decide what school your child will go to with out doing some research first. You don't have to accept their desision with out any say.
Below I have provided you with law that addresses your question directly.
You are a important member in the decision about all aspects of your child's education. Placement issues are to be addressed as an IEP team with your input.
Print what I provided you below and send it the special Education director.
Good luck!

Parents serve as members of the team that develops the IEP. §1414(d)(1)(B). The “concerns” parents have “for enhancing the education of their child” must be considered by the team. §1414(d)(3)(A)(ii). IDEA accords parents additional protections that apply throughout the IEP process. See, e.g., §1414(d)(4)(A) (requiring the IEP Team to revise the IEP when appropriate to address certain information provided by the parents); §1414(e) (requiring States to “ensure that the parents of [a child with a disability] are members of any group that makes decisions on the educational placement of their child”).
I am a special education teach and in our district the principal can not override the student study team because we report to county administrators. That being said someone in the county is in charge of ESE in the schools. If you are getting nowhere with the school go above them to the county level.
Someone said that you can place your student in any school, that is not necessarily true it depends on the students needs. For example it is easier to take a student who is SLD and place them anywhere as apposed to a student with autism or EH.
In your case you might need to prove that the new school is the least restrictive environment (LRE) for your daughter. This can be done with documentation on your part. You might also need a doctor or a psychotrist to write a letter on the behalf of your case.
In Florida we have a scholarship fund (McKay) for parents who are n ot satisfied with the education their child is receiving and this offers them a choice of either another public school or even private services. You might want to see if your state offers something similiar. I have learned that once parents start threatening to get the scholarship the schools tend to give them what they want because the county does not want to loose funding (sad but true). I would also suggest finding an advocate who knows your states system to sit on meetinigs and to give you some advice.
Good Luck!
Demand a new IEP evaluation. Get another opinion. Scream a lot and make a fuss. If she gets ill, this is not the best placement for her. Bring her doctor to the meeting. Get an advocate. You have to sign off on her plan. Bring it to a higher level.

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