The Procedural Safeguards Notice -
Without the Legalese

Section I - Prior Written Notice
This section describes when the school district must give parents written notice: during an initial evaluation, prior to a re-evaluation, when refusing to provide an independent evaluation, when school district refuse to change placement upon parental request, and when the district refuses or makes significant changes in the IEP or program.

Section II - Procedural Safeguards Notice
This section describes when you must receive this notice: at any prior written notice above, with every invitation to an IEP and when the parent registers a complaint. It also describes what this notice must contain.

Section III - When Must Prior Parental Consent Be Obtained
School districts must get parental permission prior to an initial evaluation, prior to a re-evaluation, and prior to an initial placement in special education.

Section IV - Parent Refusal to Give Consent
If parents refuse consent as above, school districts may pursue those evaluations through a due process hearing.

Section V - Independent Educational Evaluation
Parents may obtain an independent evaluation at their expense at any time and those results must be considered by the school district. Parents may request that the district pay for an independent evaluation if they disagree with the evaluation completed by the school district. Parents may also request information from a district as to where to obtain an independent evaluation.

Section VI - Dispute Resolution Systems
This section describes the various formal systems available in order to resolve disputes.
A. Mediation - voluntary process, no cost to parents
B. Pre-Hearing Conferences - optional, must be scheduled within ten school days from parent's request, documentation of the conference must be supplied by the school district
C. Impartial Due Process Hearing - parents must provide written notice to the district stating their problem and a proposed resolution to that problem, decision is final unless appealed
D. Disclosure of Evaluations and Recommendations - any information that will be introduced at the hearing must be disclosed to the other party at least five business days prior to the hearing
E. Due Process Hearing Rights - legal counsel, present evidence, obtain a record of the hearing, child must be allowed to be present, must be reasonably convenient to parents and child
F. Administrative Appeal - Impartial Review - a three-member panel will review the entire hearing record if any party appeals the hearing results, additional evidence may be requested, the decision is final, unless civil action is taken
G. Civil Action - appeals from the Impartial Review may be taken to state or federal court
H. Child's Status During Proceedings - child will remain in current placement unless district and parents agree to a different placement
I. Award of Attorneys' Fees - the court may award reasonable fees to the parents if they are the prevailing party
J. Prohibition of Attorneys' Fees - fees may not be awarded if parents did not provided appropriate notice in writing to the school district

Section VII - Parental Claims for Tuition Reimbursement
Parents may be denied tuition reimbursement for a private school if they do not notify the district at least ten business day prior to withdrawing their child from school, or if parents refuse to make their child available for evaluation, or if the court finds the parents acted unreasonably.

Section VIII - Rights Regarding Discipline and Suspension
If a student has a disciplinary exclusion for more than 10 consecutive days, or 15 cumulative days in a school year, or if a student is mentally retarded, it is considered a change in placement. All notices must be provided and parents may dispute the change in placement, request a due process hearing, and have the student remain in the current placement (pendency). There are five exceptions to pendency:
1. Immediate or severe discipline problems with students with mental retardation
2. Eligible students who carry a weapon to school
3. Eligible students who knowingly possess or use illegal drugs or sell or solicit the sale of a controlled substance while at school or a school function
4. Determination by a hearing officer that maintaining the current placement is substantially likely to result in injury to the student or others
5. Judicial intervention This section also describes:
* Expedited Hearings
* Note to School District Regarding PA Act 26 of 1995
* Protections for Students Who Are Not Yet Eligible for Special Education
* Cessation of FAPE Not Permitted
* Referral to and Action by Law Enforcement and Judicial Authorities

Section IX - Surrogate Parents
This section describes how to obtain a surrogate when the parents can not be identified or located.

Section X - Rights Pertaining to Education Records
Parents have the right to inspect all education records relating to their child's identification, evaluation, educational placement, and provision of FAPE. Districts may charge a fee for copying records. Districts must keep a record of parties accessing educational records. Parents may request that the school district amend records. The district may refuse to do so and a hearing will follow.

Section XI - Complaint Procedures
This section provides information on registering complaints with the Bureau of Special Education

Section XII - Applicable Laws and Regulations
This section outlines the laws applicable to these safeguards.

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