Video Summary: Parent’s Rights Handbook

This video goes over the Parents’ Rights in Special Education booklet. The Nebraska Department of Education created this booklet to outline the due process rights that you (as a parent or guardian) have pertaining to the special education process of your child. You should receive a copy of this booklet at least once a year, as well as for a number of other reasons outlined in the booklet. In going over this booklet, we will retread some ground, but this section will act as a general guide to your rights as a parent.

The first few sections of the booklet cover Prior Written Notice and Parental Consent (which means that you understand what you are being told about a process and have voluntarily agreed to an action regarding your child’s special education), Independent Educational Evaluations, and Confidentiality of Information. Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), you are entitled to some amount of confidentiality regarding your and your child’s information with regards to special education.

The booklet also has a few sections on state complaint procedures . This section explains the difference between a due process hearing complaint and the state complaint procedures. Anyone can file a state complaint about any problem they see with any organization or process regarding special education, but only parents and school districts can file due process hearing complaints, which only cover violations in the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of a child receiving special education services.State complaints can take 60 days to go to court, while a hearing officer must issue a verdict regarding a due process hearing in only 45 days.

Page 14 of the booklet offers some guidance on how to file a due process complaint. A few things to keep in mind for filing a due process complaint: you can file a complaint for any violation regarding your child’s identification, evaluation, or placement, but the violation must have occurred less than two years before the complaint, unless you can prove the school district misrepresented or withheld information on how it had attempted to resolve an issue.

Page 16 describes the mediation process. The school district must allow you and the school to resolve difference through mediation, so that a hearing is only a last resort. Mediations must be voluntary, cannot delay a hearing, and must include a qualified and impartial mediator.

Page 23 cover appeals, on both the state and federal levels. You can file an appeal on either level, decisions in these hearings are final, and a decision must be reached and a copy of that decision mailed to each party within 45 days after the 30-day period after regular resolution meetings.

Page 26 covers the discipline procedures of special education, including when a hearing is necessary, what a manifestation determination is, and when your child is disciplined by what agency. For more information on this topic please see our section on discipline.

Page 32 covers the requirements involving children receiving special education who are in private schools. If you believe your child is not receiving a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), this section outlines how to file a complaint with the public school district in charge of handling your child’s special education in the private school.

The Parents’ Rights Handbook is good tool to have on you for reference, but if you have any questions regarding more specific aspects of any of the topics it covers, make sure you see the appropriate section in this guide.

Legal Aid of Nebraska