Our office receives a lot of questions about students who are placed in private schools. Are children enrolled in private schools entitled to special education supports and services? Generally speaking, students placed in private schools, including parochial schools, are not entitled to receive special education services under the IDEA from their District of residence. However, the IDEA does require school districts to spend a proportionate amount of funds for the provision of special education and related services to privately placed students with disabilities. Additionally, federal law requires school districts where the private school is located to develop a service plan for all students who are eligible to receive special education services.
There has been a lot of news coverage about new California legislation that would impact the way schools are allowed to discipline students. On April 22, 2019, the California State Senate voted to prohibit school districts from suspending students for willful defiance. Senate Bill 419 was approved by a vote of 30-8. Now, the bill will move on to the State Assembly for consideration.
Over the past several years, more and more students are enrolling in charter schools. This has brought up many complex legal issues that parents are forced to navigate through, especially when their child requires special education supports and services. In a nutshell, charter schools are considered to be their own Local Educational Agency (LEA). An LEA is a common way to refer to a school district. Since charter schools are considered to be their own LEA, they are responsible for providing their students with appropriate supports and services as required under federal and state law. In fact, charter schools cannot deny admission to students on the basis of disability. Charter schools are also required to seek and find children with known or suspected disabilities and to conduct comprehensive assessments upon them so that their unique needs are appropriately addressed, and they are properly identified as a student requiring an Individualized Education Program (IEP).