This went out this afternoon:
We received your email yesterday afternoon informing us of the school district’s intention to conduct our son’s IEP meeting next week without our presence. Enclosed are the Notices of IEP for July 5 and 6 you again sent us; we have again noted our unavailability for those dates and have proposed alternative dates.
This letter serves as notice that the District is not authorized to conduct Finnian’s IEP without us. Our right to attend our child’s IEP is protected under IDEA 2004 Regulations, 34 CFR § 300.322 (a), which states:
Public agency responsibility – general. Each public agency must take steps to ensure that one or both of the parents of a child with a disability are present at each IEP Team meeting or are afforded the opportunity to participate, including-
(1) Notifying parents of the meeting early enough to ensure that they will have an opportunity to attend; and
(2) Scheduling the meeting at a mutually agreed on time and place.
As we already informed you in writing, we are unable to attend on either of the dates proposed by the school district (July 5 and 6, 2011). We proposed three alternative dates for the IEP. If none of those dates work for the District, please propose alternative dates and times.
The District has failed to meet timelines set forth by the State for transitioning our child from Early Intervention to school district services. The initial transition meeting was supposed to have taken place by the time Finnian reached the age of two years and nine months, or early April 2011. However, the District did not schedule the transition meeting until June, just a little over 30 days before Finnian’s third birthday. This has resulted in the District attempting to deprive us of our right to have 15 days to review the Assessment Plan, and also as a result, the District has ignored its responsibility to conduct the assessments of our son and develop an IEP for him in a thoughtful and collaborative manner over a period of 60 days.
We refuse to continue to be rushed through this process based solely on the fact that the District has failed to meet its responsibilities, including being threatened with Finnian’s IEP taking place despite our unavailability to be present for the dates the District has unilaterally chosen, our expressed and repeated desire and intention to be present when the IEP finally does take place, and our proposal to you of alternative dates.
It seems that the District has now left itself in the position of deciding which violation is the lesser of two evils: conducting the IEP after Finnian’s third birthday in light of our consent that you do so, or conducting the IEP without our presence despite our expressed desire to be present on a mutually agreeable date. We hope the District and its attorneys will agree that our presence and input at the IEP is a higher goal than avoiding the mere possibility of sanctions for conducting the IEP after July 7; a decision to go forward without us is based purely on self-interest without recognition of the position the District has put Finnian and us in.
In any case, we do intend to be present at our son’s IEP meeting on a mutually agreeable date, and reiterate that the District is not to conduct the meeting without our presence. If the District conducts the IEP in our absence we will have no choice but to file a complaint and/or due process complaint.
We also have an opportunity to meet with that former Director of a local SELPA this weekend. Will update . . .