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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Education Law
Satisfied Customers: 117359
Experience:  Attorney handling education matters.
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Can the IEP team choose to simply "postpone" a decision

Customer Question

Can the IEP team choose to simply "postpone" a decision regarding a requested change to an accommodation that was made during a meeting called specifically for that purpose in New York State?
Thank you,
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Education Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Yes, the IEP team may postpone a decision on a request made during a special meeting to discuss those issues. Under the IDEA, just because a parent wants something does not mandate the IEP team grant it, as the parent is only one part in the IEP team. You are entitled to go to the Director of Special Education as you are doing, you are also entitled to file a written request for a "due process hearing" which is where you request a hearing before an independent party to review your evidence and claims regarding the needs in the IEP and the school will present their evidence to justify why they postponed it. High grades, if that is what their claim is, would justify not making any changes at this time. The law says that the school may not "unreasonably delay" the IEP implementation or necessary changes. If the school does not believe the changes requested are necessary at this time, that is what the due process hearing is for if the director will not agree to the changes and the due process hearing affords you the chance to present evidence as to why the are necessary.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, fair enough but I know that some States such as Alabama define the term "adverse effect" to include anything that has an impact on "affective, behavioral and physical characteristics," meaning that "education" does not only apply to grades. As a matter of fact, my son's own IEP states that his level of distractability and disorganization interferes with his learning. The descriptions in his IEPs going back for the last 3+ years in the areas of organization and social skills are almost identical, as are the goals. They are literally copying and pasting them from one version to the next. This shows that he's making no significant progress in these areas. Which is also a determining requirement for an IEP service besides when grades are high. Am I wrong here?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
I understand that, but the key that NY will look at is whether or not the child is functioning under the current IEP and grades and behavioral reports (misbehaving) is what they will look at. You would need to present an expert in the due process hearing who could testify that the current IEP is not meeting his needs and this change requested will make it complete. So, yes, NY will look at more than grades, but you did not indicate he was having any real behavioral issues in school either or issues at home stemming from school. If you have evidence of that and just having these changes you are arguing over will remedy it, that is up to you to bring in some expert (such as his educational therapist) to write a report to the director or to appear in the due process hearing to testify about.
These IEPs are never perfect and they are designed to meet the minimal needs of the students and not cover every little issue, so when you need issues covered by an IEP and the school does not see them as major issues (as evidently this school does) then your recourse is presenting an expert report that the issues are major and get a due process hearing if the director does not agree.