Explore the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act’s Section 1414 (d)(2) requirements for students with disabilities during school transfers. Understand your child’s rights under this federal law. Discover recent guidance from the United States Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, ensuring high-quality education for highly mobile students, including military children with disabilities. Unravel empowering tips for navigating the special education landscape with confidence, enabling military families to embrace transitions with ease.
Understanding Your Child’s Rights Under Federal Law
In the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 1414 (d)(2), there are requirements for the Local Education Agency to provide students with disabilities who:
- Transfer within the same State: In the case of a child with a disability who transfers school districts within the same academic year, who enrolls in a new school, and who had an IEP that was in effect in the same State, the local educational agency shall provide such child with a free appropriate public education, including services comparable to those described in the previously held IEP, in consultation with the parents until such time as the local educational agency adopts the previously held IEP or develops, adopts, and implements a new IEP that is consistent with Federal and State law.
- Transfer out a State: In the case of a child with a disability who transfers school districts within the same academic year, who enrolls in a new school, and who had an IEP that was in effect in another State, the local educational agency shall provide such child with a free appropriate public education, including services comparable to those described in the previously held IEP, in consultation with the parents until such time as the local educational agency conducts an evaluation, *if determined to be necessary by such agency*, and develops a new IEP, *if appropriate*, that is consistent with Federal and State law.
Recent Guidance for High-Quality Education of Highly Mobile Students
The United States Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services released guidance to State Directors on November 10, 2022 to ensure high quality education for highly mobile students, to include military children with disabilities. Moreover, the letter recognizes that 1) highly mobile children should have timely and expedited evaluations and eligibility determinations and 2) comparable services include services during the Summer, such as Extended School Year (ESY) Services.
How Does This Impact Military Families?
Military families are highly-mobile and move on an average of every 2-3 years. Additionally, Partners in PROMISE Annual Survey Data indicate that the average delay experienced after a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move was 5.75 months, nearly a quarter of a two-year tour of duty. Seventy-seven percent of those who went without services after a move waited longer than 60 days.
Tips for Smooth School District Transfers
During a transfer to a new school district, parents often request and undergo reevaluations within the first 30 days. Request a copy of your child’s school evaluation in advance of any meetings during which they will be reviewed. Make sure that there is sufficient data to support a reduction of special education services and supports. Partners in PROMISE Annual Survey Data indicate that the school districts accepted only 22% of IEP/504 plans upon transfer to a new school district without reevaluations. If you disagree with the results of the school district’s evaluations, you should request in writing an independent educational evaluation (IEE) at public expense.
About the Author
Michelle Norman, Founder & Executive Director
Michelle Norman is the Executive Director and Founder of Partners in PROMISE, a non-profit organization focused on educating, advising and advocating for exceptional military families and their education. She is a Navy spouse of over 25 years and mother of a 18 year old daughter with cerebral palsy and many other medical diagnoses. After years of successfully advocating and winning multiple legal cases to ensure her daughter receives the minimum education required by law, Michelle realized that she was not alone. After seeing a gap in support, the Virginia Beach resident has become a passionate advocate for all military children with special needs and their families. Read more about our fearless leader here.