What if you no longer want your child to receive special education services and the school disagrees? Under IDEA, you have the right to withdraw your child from special education services through a process called Revocation of Consent. It’s very important that you understand what this means to your child before you choose this option.
IDEA gives parents the right to revoke special education services for their child even if the school disagrees. The school cannot request mediation or due process to compel a student to receive special education services if the parents revoke consent. However, the revocation must be in writing.
You might be asking, “Why on earth would I want to refuse special education services for my child?” Parents usually want more services, not less! It is hard to imagine a situation where this choice would be in a child’s best interest. But the law strongly confirms that it is still the right of parent to choose whether their child is identified by the school as a student with a disability, and whether they want their child to receive special education services.
Sometimes when a student begins making progress, parents think their child has “caught up” with the other students and no longer needs special education services. They don’t realize that the success the student is enjoying is because of the supports and services that are in place and that, without them, the student will struggle. Or, a parent might be very unhappy with the services their child is receiving and decide to “give up” on the system. But if your child still needs services, it is best to use the dispute resolution process to get the appropriate services rather than revoke services altogether.
What Parents Need to Know
Before you make the decision to revoke your child’s special education services, there are some very important things you need to know:
- If you revoke special education services, you are turning down all of the child’s services. You can’t pick and choose the services you want to keep. Revoking your consent is not something you should use if you disagree only to a portion of the IEP proposed by the school. Please see Dispute Resolution Process for more information on what you should do when you disagree.
- Revoking services means your child is considered by the school to be a student without a disability. They will be in the general education setting with only the accommodations and services available to students without disabilities.
- Revocation of services releases the school from responsibility to provide FAPE. There will be no IEP, and the school is not required to perform evaluations every three years or hold annual ARD meetings.
- If your child has discipline problems, they will be handled like any other general education student. Serious infractions can have very serious consequences. However, if a student is referred for disciplinary action, the parent can request that the student be evaluated on an expedited basis to determine eligibility and a need for special education services. In this case, it would be treated as a request for an initial evaluation. This can be critically important in the event you feel the conduct was a manifestation of your child’s disability. General education students are not eligible for manifestation determination review (MDR) of conduct. If your child has challenges with behavior, it’s important for you to understand they will not have protection afforded by IDEA or ADA if you revoke services.
- If you have revoked services, and later decide your child needs special education services after all, you may ask for an evaluation just as you would for an initial evaluation. The school is not necessarily required to conduct new testing. They can take all available information and determine what, if anything, is needed to determine eligibility for services (See Referral Process for evaluations). It could be that the testing is considered current and accurate.
- The school district’s responsibility for Child Find is still in effect, so if they suspect your child has a disability and should be evaluated for special education services, they can notify you with a Notice of Proposed Evaluation. You have the right to refuse these evaluations. Note: It is the district’s responsibility to make a referral if they believe a child needs services. It is not harassment if the school presents you with a Notice of Proposed Evaluation every year, even if you refuse every year.
- As a general education student, your child will be responsible for participating in standardized assessments. They will be required to pass these assessments according to the same guidelines as all other general education students. For instance, if you have a child nearing graduation, they will be required to pass an exit level assessment (STAAR EOC) for certain courses. Also, there are other milestones where passing the STAAR is required to be promoted to the next grade (see the Student Success Initiative for more information). Students receiving special education services may be eligible to take STAAR, STAAR Online or STAAR Alternate 2, and the ARD committee determines whether the student is required to achieve satisfactory performance on the EOC assessments. If you have revoked services, your child will only be able to take the STAAR general assessment, and can only receive accommodations that are available to students without disabilities.
- If you revoke services, graduation requirements will be the same as for any other student without a disability. Your child will not be able to graduate by IEP or stay in school until age 21. They will need to fulfill the credit requirements of the graduation program with no modifications or course substitutions. Rules are based upon the year your child enters ninth grade.
For more information, please see the TEA Revocation of Consent Question & Answer document as well as Guide to ARD Process.
Legal Framework for the Child Centered Process – When Consent to the Continued Provision of Services is Revoked