Special Education

Parental Consent

By Christina A. Samuels — April 23, 2008 1 min read

Virginia wants to drop a state requirement that parents have to be notified before terminating a student’s special education services.

Like many states, Virginia is in the process of aligning its state special education standards to the federal standards included in the 2004 Indviduals with Disabilities Education Act.The state says this type of notification isn’t required in the federal standards.

The state gave an example of how this might work: If a student with a learning disability was receiving an hour of occupational therapy a day, the school would have to notify a parent if it determined the child only needed 30 minutes of daily therapy.

But, if the school decided the child didn’t need any occupational therapy at all, dropping the service without prior parental consent would be fine. If the parent protested, the service would be maintained until the matter could be resolved through due process.

(More details on all the changes are available here.)

No surprise, this proposed change hasn’t gone over well with parents. According to a recent article in the Washington Post, 3,000 comments have been filed with the state on this proposal, and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine has said he’s not in favor of that change. The state’s largest district, Fairfax County, is neutral on the proposal. And least one member of the state’s board of education says he was surprised by the idea.

“I’ve always been an advocate for parental involvement, but there must be some reason that people think this is the right time for no parent involvement,” board member Gary Jones said in the Post article. “I’d be interested in knowing what the reason is.”

I don’t think this proposal will last very long.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.