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Is my child's school legally required to honor their IEP?

Dr. Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Practitioner

Private schools offer kids and teens a wide array of benefits, but, unlike public schools, they do not have to honor individualized education plans (IEPs). This is due to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Under this law, public schools must use public funds to provide needed accommodations to a student with disabilities. However, only private schools accepting public money must provide these accommodations. Whether you place your child or teen in private, charter, or religious schools, it is the school’s decision to recognize IEPs or not. Students with learning disabilities placed in private schools may not have the same rights as public schools. In addition, even if there are services and programs, not all students will receive them.

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

An individual education plan (IEP) is only effective if it is followed correctly. If your teen’s school is not honoring an IEP, you can and must take action! It is always good to try to form a friendly, cooperative relationship with school representatives. You should try to get in touch with the person(s) directly responsible. It may be a teacher not familiar with the IEP’s guidelines. 

You can schedule a meeting or telephone conference with the teacher(s) or school personnel. You may want to ask the school psychologist to join you in the meeting. And, you may want to bring written materials to the meeting. This could include copies of articles, book excerpts, and even supportive expert opinions. 

If this does not work, you may need to contact your case manager from the Department of Special Services. It may even be necessary to remove your child from that class. Your child may benefit from being placed with another teacher who is better able to understand and meet his or her needs. And, if all else fails, you may want to contact an attorney or advocate specializing in special education law.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.