Florida enacted a new law this week intended to reiterate the rights of parents of special education students, including a provision that parents must agree to have their child placed on a track to earn a non-standard diploma, and that schools cannot discourage parents from bringing an adult of their choice to individualized education program meetings.
The text of the law, Senate Bill 1108, has been helpfully summarized by Disability Rights Florida, an advocacy group. The advocacy group supported the changes, said Ann Siegel, the managing attorney for the organization's education team.
Many of the new provisions underline rights that were already a part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, but that parents nevertheless had a difficult time enforcing, Siegel said. Parents have always been a part of IEP team meetings, but Siegel said she has heard of cases where schools were shifting students onto special diploma tracks without giving parents an opportunity to object, or to even see the information that was prompting such a decision. The parents were then forced to shoulder the burden of proving that such a placement was inappropriate. Special, non-standard diplomas also cannot be used to enroll in college or the military, so a student with a special diploma can have limited options after graduation, she said.
Read more of Christina Samuel's On Special Education article HERE.