The legal context

Parent’s rights

When a school proposes or refuses to take action regarding a student’s identification or educational placement or access to a free appropriate public education, it must provide written notice to the parent after their case conference committee. That notice must be received by the parent no later than 10 business days from the date of the case conference committee meeting. 

If the parent disagrees with the school, they can:

If a parent takes this action within 10 school days of receiving the notice from their child’s school, the corporation cannot take the proposed action and must continue to implement the student’s current IEP.

A parent can still take any of these actions after 10 days have passed, but the school is allowed to implement their proposed changes to the child’s special education services. 

A parent or their representative also has the right to view their child’s educational record. The school must also obtain consent before allowing anyone not otherwise entitled under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act to view a student’s record. 

A parent has the right to participate in all case conference committee meetings until their child reaches the age of 18. A parent can still participate after their child is 18 if the student invites them, or the parent has obtained guardianship or been appointed their educational representative. And if a parent can’t attend a meeting in person, they can attend by phone or some other means. 

A parent can request a case conference committee meeting if they believe their child’s right to a free, appropriate public education is not being met by their current IEP.

A parent can also bring someone to the case conference committee meeting that they believe has knowledge or expertise about their child.

IEP vs. 504 Plan

IEPs and 504 Plans are governed by different laws — IEPs are covered by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and 504 Plan is covered by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which is a federal civil rights law to stop discrimination against people with disabilities.

To qualify for an IEP, a student has to have one of 13 disabilities covered under IDEA and that disability must have an adverse impact on the child’s learning. To qualify for a 504 Plan, the student must have a disability that interferes with their ability to learn in a general education classroom. In general, it’s easier for students to qualify for a 504 Plan. Under a 504 Plan, a school needs to provide reasonable accommodations to allow a student access to educational services. For example, a student who has diabetes may need to have their insulin checked multiple times per day. Under a 504 Plan, the school must provide that student with the accommodations they need to learn. However, the student wouldn’t need an IEP to have their insulin checked.

Students who need transportation, speech, physical, occupational, or psychological services and assistive technology would most likely qualify for an IEP. 

Click on the below image to learn about a family's experience on this issue

 Brandi and Caiden 

 Gaelle and Kymbrie