The purpose of prior written notice is to make sure parents are provided with an explanation of the school district’s position towards a change in the child’s IEP. Before a school district can initiate any type of change (i.e. placement, evaluation, or any provision under FAPE), the school district MUST inform the parents of the reason(s) of the changes AND the reason(s) behind those changes. In addition, school district’s must inform parents in writing if they refuse or deny any services (or any provision under FAPE). If you receive a notice of the school district’s refusal or any change in service(s), the letter should include:
- what service or change was denied
- the reason why it was denied
- other options in place of the purposed service
- if an evaluation was used to determine this refusal, a copy and explanation of the report
- a reference to your state’s parent parental rights
Prior Written Notice is your evidence if any disputes arise with a change in your child’s IEP. This is why it is important to make sure you receive written notice. If you do not, then you will have to request the written document for yourself.
Here is a sample letter to request Prior Written Notice:
January 13, 2012
Marlene Barrier (your child’s case manager)
Rider Elementary School
123 Apple Street
Anywhere, NJ 01910
Dear Ms. Barrier:
During the IEP meeting on January 4, 2012, the school proposed that the status of our child’s educational placement would change by moving them to a more restrictive environment (or moving them to a less restrictive environment, reducing the amount of service time, taking away supportive services, stopping any related service).
During the IEP meeting on January 4, 2012, we requested that my child be provided with speech therapy (any service or request) and this request was refused. Under IDEA, please provide us with a full written notice. We expect this notice to include the service that were changed (or denied); the reason why they were changed (or denied), other options in place of the purposed services; a copy and explanation of the evaluation that was used; and any of factors that relate to this action. We understand that we will receive this required notice in a reasonable amount of time. We would appreciate to receive this letter within 5 business days. Thank you.
Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
123 Apple Street
Anywhere, NJ 01929
Remember, a school district cannot make a change in placement or any service (if you refuse) without initiating a due process hearing. During this process, you do have the right for your child to stay in the location that they are in until the matter is resolved. However, if you as a parent want a change in placement or any other service, then YOU will have to initiate a due process hearing.
If the school fails to provide Prior Written Notice with any proposed change in the educational status of your child (i.e. change of the identification, placement, evaluation or provisions under FAPE), this is a violation of your parent rights under special education regulations.