Children with disabilities in private schools
Tag: Jeanne Rayphand
As most of us know by now, under the Individuals with Disabilities Act, students with disabilities have the right to a free appropriate public education, or FAPE. The question is: Do students with disabilities have the same rights if they are enrolled in private schools?
Some children are placed in private schools by their parents who do not believe FAPE has been provided by their local school district, and some children are placed in private schools by their school district as a means of providing FAPE.
The U.S. Department of Education has just released a question-and-answer document to provide guidance for a third category of children: those children placed in private school by their families without first enrolling them in public school and for whom FAPE is not an issue.
In this third category of children, federal officials say that: [w]hile IDEA provides no individual entitlement to children with disabilities whose parents have placed them in a private school when FAPE is not at issue, the law does require that an LEA spend a proportionate amount of its IDEA Part B funds to provide equitable services to this group of children, which could include direct and/or indirect services.—Questions and Answers on Serving Children with Disabilities Placed by Their Parents in Private Schools, OSEP QA 22-01 (Revised February 2022).
This question-and-answer documents provides detailed information and legal references regarding students with disabilities in private schools as well as those children with disabilities who are being home-schooled, and responsibilities of the local school system in locating, identifying, and evaluating all children with disabilities and services required to be provided.
For more information, go to Policy Guidance: Individuals with Disabilities Act sites.ed.gov/idea/policy-guidance/ to obtain copy of the Questions and Answers on Serving Children With Disabilities Placed by Their Parents in Private Schools, OSEP QA 22-01 (Revised February 2022).
Jeanne Rayphand (Special to the Saipan Tribune)
Jeanne Rayphand, Esq., is the legal counsel at the Northern Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems Inc.