How to address school IEP violations

Under federal law, when a child qualifies for special education services, the school must follow his or her individualized education plan. The IEP is a legal document that details the various services your child should receive at school.

Parents can support their children by ensuring that the IEP provisions are in place and taking steps to resolve the situation when educators do not follow the plan.

Document the situation

Make notes about instances when the teacher did not follow your child’s IEP. Attach samples of work if possible. For example, if the IEP allows extra test-taking time and your child fails a test because he or she ran out of time, indicate the date and save a copy of the test.

Request a teacher meeting

This session provides an opportunity to make sure the teacher has reviewed and understands the IEP for your child. Bring a copy for each of you and ask to go over each section. You should also share a copy of your documentation. Provide information about how each of the accommodations in the plan will help your child learn. If the teacher was simply not on the same page about the IEP, this step may resolve the issue.

Contact administrators

If the teacher still does not adhere to the IEP after your face-to-face meeting, ask for a meeting with administrators. Prepare them with your documents showing several examples of the teacher’s failure to follow the IEP. In addition to administrators, you may want to ask for the presence of the district’s IEP team.

Sometimes, the school district remains unresponsive to the IEP, in which case parents can pursue legal action. This may include mediation and other alternative dispute resolution strategies as well as litigation. In North Carolina, you can file a complaint with the state Department of Public Instruction. They will conduct an investigation and may order that the school provide your child with compensatory services. You may also bring suit against the school district at the Office of Administrative Hearings.

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