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Parental Rights

Parent Participation

   * As the parent of a child who is receiving or may receive special education, or special education and related services, you are an important member of the IEP team. You have the right to actively participate in all educational decisions involving your child and to attend team meetings including all evaluation, IEP and placement tem meetings.

Right to Written Prior Notice

   * You have the right to receive a written prior notice whenever the school district proposes to initiate or change, or refuses to initiate or change, the identification, evaluation , educational placement, or the provision of a free, appropriate public education to you child. This notice must be prior to implementation of the school district's proposal.
   * You have a right to have the notice include a description of the action that is being proposed or refused, and explanation of why the school is proposing or refusing to take this action, a description of any other options considered, and an explanation of why those options were rejected.
   * You have the right to have the notice include a description of each evaluation procedure , test, record or report that school district used a a basis for the proposed action or refusal of action.
   * You have a right for the notice to include a description of other factors that school district used as a basis for the proposed action or refusal of action.
   * You have a right to have the notice include a description of other factors that school district used as a basis for the proposed action or refusal of action.
   * You have the right to have the notice include a statement that the parents of a child with an educational disability have certain protections under the procedural safeguards of the IDEA and, if this notice is not an initial referral for evaluation, the means by which a copy of a description of the procedural safeguards can be obtained.
   * You have a right to have the notice include sources for parents to contact to obtain assistance in understanding the provisions of the ODEA and your rights as parents.
   * You have the right to have the written notice provided in you native language unless it clearly is not feasible to do so.
   * You ave the right o be given a written Procedural Safeguards Notice at a minimum:
        1. upon initial referral for evaluation
        2. upon each notification of an IEP team meeting
        3. upon reevaluation of your child
        4. upon request for a due process hearing

Right to Consent

   * You have the right to know that the school district must obtain your informed written consent prior to:
        1. Conducting a pre-placement evaluation
        2. Conducting individual evaluations administered for the purpose of further diagnosing your child
        3. Implementing the IEP developed for your child by the IEP team
        4. Making an initial placement of you child in a program providing special education, or special education and educationally related services
        5. Annual renewal of the placement of your child in a program providing special education, or special education and educationally related services
        6. Determining or changing the disability classification
        7. Changing the nature or extent of the special education, or special education and educationally related services
   * You have the right to know that if you do not give your consent for any of the above listed activities, and the school district feels that its decision should be imp;implemented in order to provide a free, appropriate public education to you child, the school district shall initiate a due process hearing
   * You have the right to know that New Hampshire;shire special education law RSA 186-C:17 states that "nothing in this chapter shall be construed as authorizing any public official, agent, or representative in carrying out any of the provisions of this chapter to take charge of any child over the objection of either of the parents of such child, or of the person standing in loco parentis to such child except pursuant to a proper court order."
   * You have the right to revoke your consent at any time.

Right to Evaluation Procedures

   * You have the right to have a full and individual evaluation of your child's educational needs if your child is suspected of having and educational disability.
   * You have the right to attend and participate in the team meeting, held before the evaluation is conducted, to determine the scope of the evaluation.
   * You have the right to participate as a member of the IEP team and to attend all evaluation team meetings.
   * You have the right to have more than one criterion used in determining you child's eligibility for special education, or special education and educationally related services.
   * You have the right to have the evaluation performed by a multidisciplinary team and to participate in the selection of what evaluations to perform
   * You have the right to have your child evaluated in his or her native language or other mode of communication unless it is clearly not feasible to do so.
   * You have the right to have information from more than one source considered by the team determining your child's eligibility for special education, or special education and educationally related services.
   * You have the right to have your child reevaluated every three years or more frequently if conditions warrant of if you or your child's teacher requests it.
   * You have the right to receive a copy of the evaluation report and documentation of the determination of eligibility.

Right to Independent Evaluations

   * You have the right to obtain an independent educational evaluation of your child.
   * You ave the right to request from the school district information about where an independent educational evaluation may be obtained.
   * You have the right to have the school district pay for the independent evaluation if you disagree with the school district's evaluation.  However, the school district may initiate a Due Process Hearing without unnecessary delay to show that its evaluation is appropriate.  If the result of the Due Process Hearing is that the school district's evaluation is appropriate, you still have the right to an independent evaluation, but not at public expense.
   * Whenever an independent evaluation is at public expense, the criteria under which the evaluation is obtained, including the location of the evaluation and the qualifications of the examiner, must be the same as the criteria used when an evaluation is initiated by the school district.
   * You have the right to have the results of an independent educational evaluation considered by the team determining your child's educational disability or determining the special education (or special education and educationally related services) to be provided to your child.

Right to Placement in the Least Restrictive Environment

   * You have the right to be a member of the IEP team and to participated in all Individualized Education Program and placement meetings.
   * You have the right to have your child educated with students who do not have disabilities to the maximum extent that is appropriate for your child.
   * You have the right to know that the school district must give evidence that a continuum or alternative educational environments are available or would be made available as placements for students with disabilities.
   * You have the right to know that the removal of your child from the regular education classroom can occur only when the nature or severity of his/her disability is such that education in regular classes, even with the use of supplementary aids and services such as tutors, aides, itinerant instruction, or special materials, cannot be achieved satisfactorily.
   * You have the right to have your child placed in the school he/she would attend if he/she did not have a disability unless your child's' IEP requires some other arrangement.
   * You have the right to have your child participate with children who do not have disabilities in non-academic and extracurricular services such as meals, recess, counseling, athletics and other special interest groups run by the school
   * You have the right to have transportation to and from school, between schools, and in and around school buildings, including specialized equipment if necessary, provided as an educationally related service if required by your child's IEP.
   * You have the right to have your child's IEP implemented by appropriately certified or licensed individuals.
   * You have the right to have your child receive special education or special education and related services to enable him/her to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum.
   * You have the right to be regularly informed of you child's progress toward his/her annual goals in his/her IEP and then extent to which that progress is sufficient to enable your child to achieve the goals by the end of he year.  You should receive this notice of progress at least as often as parents of non disabled children are informed of progress.

It is not enough to have a good mind;  the main thing is to use it well.

--Rene Descartes
Surrogate Parents

   * The educational rights of a student with disabilities are protected when the student's parents or guardian are not known, when the educational agency cannot, after reasonable efforts, locate the parents, or the child is a ward of the state. In such cases, the New Hampshire Department of Education determines whether or not the student needs a surrogate parent.  A surrogate parent is appointed by the Department of Education and will represent the student in all matters and all proceedings relating to the identification, evaluation, and educational placement of the student and the provision of a free, appropriate public education.
   * The person selected as a surrogate parent must have no interest that conflicts with the interests of the student he/she represents, has knowledge and skills that ensure adequate representation of the students, and my not be an employee of a public agency that is involved in the education or care of the students.

Transfer of Rights at Age of Majority

Note:  A State may provide that when a child with a disability reaches the age of majority under State law that applies to all children (except for a child with a disability who has been determined to be incompetent under State law) :

   * All notices required by the IDEA (and which are described in this notice of procedural safeguards) shall be given by the school district to both the parents and the adult student.
   * All other parental rights under the IDEA ( and which are described in this notice of procedural safeguards) shall transfer to the adult student.
   * The school district shall notify the student and the parents of this transfer of rights.
   * At least one year prior to the students 18th birthday, the IEP shall include a statement that the child has been informed of his/her rights that will transfer upon reaching the age of majority.
   * All rights accorded to parents under the IDEA 9 and which are described in this notice of procedural safeguards) transfer to adult students incarcerated in adult or juvenile correctional institutions.
   * Parental rights shall not transfer to an adult student who has been determined to be incompetent under the State Law.
   * If a student lacks the ability to provide informed consent regarding his/her educational program but has not been determined to be incompetent under State law. The State shall establish procedures to appoint the parent to represent the student in the special education process.  If the parent is not available, the State shall appoint another appropriate individual to represent the educational interests of the students throughout the student's eligibility under the IDEA

Right to Due Process Hearings

   * You have the right to request an Impartial Due Process Hearing to challenge the school district's identification, evaluation, determination of educational disability, IRP, or placement of your child or to question the district's provision of a free, appropriate public education.  The school district also has the right to request and Impartial Due Process Hearing on these matters.
   * You have the right to be told of nay free or low-cost legal and other relevant services available to assist you with the Hearing.  You must be given this information if you request and Impartial Due Process Hearing of if the school district requests and Impartial Due Process Hearing.
   * If you request and Impartial Due Process Hearing, you or an attorney representing your child shall provide notice to the school district when initiating the hearing.  This notice shall include:
         o 1.      The child's name and address
         o 2.      The name of the school the child is attending
         o 3.      A description of the nature of the problem of the child relating to the challenge to the district's  identification, evaluation, determination of educational disability, IEP, or placement or the district's provision of a free, appropriate public education.
         o 4.      Facts relating to the problem
         o 5.      A proposed resolution to the problem

   * If you prevail at an Impartial Due Process Hearing, but did not provide the school district with appropriate information in the notice described above, the court may reduce any award of attorney's fees to the parents.
   * You have the right to request that you and the school district participate in mediation.  However, the school district is not required to agree to participate in mediation.  A further explanation of your rights in mediation is included in the following section, entitles Mediation.
   * You have the right to be advised and accompanied at the hearing by an attorney and by individuals with special knowledge or training with respect to the problems of students with disabilities.  Any party to the Hearing, including the school district has this right.
   * You have the right to have the Hearing conducted by a person not employed by a public agency involved in the education of care of you child or otherwise having any personal or professional interest in the Hearing.
   * You have the right to see a statement of qualifications of each of the Hearing Officers.  This information is kept by the New Hampshire Commissioner of Education.
   * You have the right to know that the New Hampshire Department of Education appoints Hearing Officers, who must be attorneys, to conduct Impartial Due Process Hearings.
   * You have the right to know that a pre-hearing conference is required as part of the Impartial Due Process Hearing procedure.  However, the pre-hearing conference will not be used to deny or delay your right to an Impartial Due Process Hearing.
   * You have a right to know the Hearing must be held at a time and place reasonably convenient to you.
   * You have the right to have your child present at the Due Process Hearing.
   * You have the right to have the Hearing open to the public.
   * You have the right to present evidence and to confront, cross-examine and compel the attendance of witnesses.  Any party to the Hearing, including the school district, has this right.
   * You have the right to introduce the results of an independent evaluation, conducted at private expense, as evidence at a Hearing.  However, at least 5 business days prior to the Hearing each party shall disclose to all other parties all evaluations completed by that date and recommendations base on the offering party's evaluations that the party intend to use at the hearing.  The Hearing Officer may bar any party that fails to comply with the 5 business days disclosure requirement from introducing the relevant evaluations or recommendations at the Hearing without the consent of the other party.
   * The Hearing Officer may request and independent educational evaluation to be paid for by the school district.
   * You and the school district must exchange a list of witnesses, including a brief description of each witness's testimony, and copies of all documentary evidence at least 5 calendar days before the Hearing begins.  These 5 days do not  include the day of the Hearing.
   * You have the right to prohibit the introduction of any evidence at the Hearing that has not been disclosed to you at least 5 calendar days before the Hearing.  Any party to the Hearing, including the school district, has this right.
   * Any party to the Hearing has the right to a written, or, at your option, electronic verbatim record of the Hearing.
   * You have the right to written, or, at your option, electronic findings of fact and decisions of the Hearing Officer
   * You have a right to have a copy of the written or electronic decision sent to you not later than 45 days after the date on which the Department of Education received the request for the Hearing.  Any party of the Hearing, including the school district, has this right.  However, the Hearing Officer may grant specific extensions at the request of either party
   * You have the right to have your child remain in his/her present education placement until the Hearing is completed and you receive the Hearing Officer's written or electronic decision, unless you and the school district agree otherwise.  You have the right to have you child remain in his/her current educational placement during any administrative or appeal from the Hearing Officer's decision, unless you and the school district agree otherwise.
   * You have the right to have your child placed in a public school program until  the completion of all proceedings, if the matter involves and application for initial admission to public school.
   * You have the right to recover reasonable attorney's fees, subject to certain limitations, if you prevail in a Hearing or court action.  Please refer to the section entitles Attorneys Fees for timelines and additional information.
   * You have the right to know that the decision of the Hearing Officer is final unless one of the parties appeals the decision.
   * You have the right to appeal a decision from the Hearing Officer by bringing a civil action to The New Hampshire Superior Court or the United States District court for the District of New Hampshire.  Any party to the Hearing, including the school district, has this right.  There are time limits that govern when an appeal can be filed.  Please refer to the section entitled Statute of Limitations for more information.

Statute of Limitations (Time Lines)

   State law, RSA 186-C:16-b, which became effective on June 30, 1992, imposes certain timelines or statutes of limitations on actions involving Due Process Hearing, the appeal of Due Process Hearing decisions, and the recovery of attorney fees.  Failure to comply with the timelines could result in the loss of your right to bring these actions.  Under both state and federal law, there are also timelines that need to be followed to recover the costs of a unilateral placement by you.  A unilateral placement is the placement of your child by you as the parent in an educational program or probate placement, such as a private school.

   * If you want to bring an action to enforce special education rights under state or federal law ( including identification, evaluation, determination of educational disability, IEP, or placement of your child or the district's provision of a free, appropriate public education). You must request and administrative hearing (Impartial Due Process Hearing) within 2 years of the date on which the alleged violation of rights you believe occurred was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered.
   * Any action against a school district to recover the costs of a unilateral special placement must be commenced by requesting an administrative hearing (Impartial Due Process Hearing) within 90 days of the unilateral placement.
   * If you ( or the legal guardian or surrogate parent) have not been given proper notice of special education rights, including notice of the time limitations, these limitations shall run from the time notice of those rights is properly given to you.
   * If you want to appeal the decision of the Hearing Officer to a state of federal court, you must file your appeal writing 120 days from the receipt of the hearing Officer's decision.  All such decisions of the Hearing Officer shall be sent certified mail, return receipt requested.
   * Where you have made a unilateral placement without the school district being offered a reasonable opportunity to evaluate the child and to develop an individualized education plan, reimbursement may not be sought from the school district for any costs incurred until the school district is given an opportunity to evaluate the child and develop and individualized education plan.
   * If you want to seek reimbursement from the school district for attorney's fees related to a request for an administrative hearing (Impartial Due Process Hearing), you must commence the action in state of federal court within120 days from the receipt of the Hearing Officer's decision.
   * When parents of a child who previously received special education and related services from the school district enroll their child in a private school without the consent of or referral by the school district, a court or Hearing Officer may order the school district to reimburse the parents if the district did not make a free, appropriate public education available to the child in a timely manner prior to that enrollment.  However, the cost of reimbursement may be reduced or denied under the following circumstances:
         o Exception: The cost of reimbursement for a unilateral placement may be reduced or denied if, at the last IEP meeting you attended before you removed you child from the public school you failed to tell the IEP Team that you were rejecting the placement proposed by the school district to provide a free, appropriate public education to your child, including stating your concern(s) and your intent to enroll your child in a private school at public expense.
         o Exception:  The cost of reimbursement for a unilateral placement may be reduced or denied if 10 days ( including any holidays that occur on a business day) before you removed your child from the public school, you did not give written notice to the school district that you were rejecting the placement proposed by the school district to provide a free, appropriate public education to your child, including stating your concern(s) and your intent to enroll your child in a private school at public expense.

   * You may not be denied or receive reduced costs of reimbursement under the above two exceptions if:
        1. you are illiterate and cannot write in English
        2. your compliance with either of the above

It is not enough to have a good mind;  the main thing is to use it well.

--Rene Descartes
Mediation

   * You have the right to request that you and the school district participate in mediation. However, participation in mediation must be voluntary and neither you nor the school district are required to agree to participate.
   * You have the right to know that Mediation may not be used to deny or delay your right to a Hearing.
   * You have the right to know that the Mediation will be timely, at a location convenient to the parties, and at the state's expense.
   * You have the right to know that discussions at Mediation are confidential and my not be used as evidence at a hearing.  (Parties may be required to sign a confidentiality pledge prior to the Mediation.)
   * You have the right to know that mediated agreements shall be in writing.
   * You have the right to know that Mediation must be conducted by a qualified and impartial mediator who is trained in effective mediation techniques.

Procedures for Students who are Subject to Placement in an Alternative Educational Setting

   * You have the right to know that the school district may order a change in the placement of a child with a disability to an appropriate interim alternative educational setting, another setting, or suspension, for not more than 10 school days (to the extent such alternatives would be applied to children without disabilities) and to an appropriate interim alternative educational setting for the same amount of time that s child without a disability would be subject to discipline, but for not more than 45 days if:
         o 1.  the child carries a weapon to school or a school function, or
         o 2.  the child knowingly possesses or uses illegal drugs or sells or solicits the sale of a controlled substance while at school or a school function.
   * The alternative educational setting shall be determined by the IEP Team; and
         o  1.  shall be selected to enable the child to continue to participate in the general curriculum, although in another setting, and to continue to receive those services and modifications, including those described in the child's IEP, that will enable the child to meet the goals set out in that IEP; and
         o  2.  include services and modifications designed to address the behavior so that it does not recur.

   * No later than 10 days after taking the disciplinary action, if the school district has not conducted a functional behavioral assessment and implemented a behavioral intervention plan for the child for the behavior that resulted in the suspension described above,
         o 1.  the IEP Team shall meet to develop an assessment plan to address that behavior, or,
         o 2.  if the child already has a behavioral intervention plan, the IEP Team shall review the plan and modify it, as necessary, to address the behavior.
   * A hearing Officer may order a change in the placement of a child with a disability to an appropriate interim alternative educational setting for not more than 45 days if the Hearing Officer;
         o 1.  determines that the school district has demonstrated by substantial evidence that maintaining the current placement of the child is substantially likely to result in injury to the child or to others
         o 2.  considers the appropriateness of the child's current placement
         o 3.  considers whether the school district has made reasonable efforts to minimize the risk of harm in the child's current placement, including the use of supplementary aids and services; and
         o 4.  determines that the interim alternative educational setting meets the requirements specified in a preceding paragraph
   * No later than 10 days after the date on which the decision to take the disciplinary action was made, or, if a disciplinary action involving a change of placement for more than 10 days is contemplated:
         o 1.  The parents shall be notified of that decision and of all procedural safeguards not later than the date on which the decision was made; and
         o 2.  Immediately, if possible, but in no case later than 10 school days, the IEP Team shall review the relationship between the child's disability and the behavior subject to the disciplinary action.  In carrying out the review, the IEP Team may determine that the child's behavior was not a manifestation of his/her disability if the IEP Team reviews all relevant information, including evaluation and diagnostic results, relevant information supplied by the parents, observations of the child, the child's IEP and placement, and determines that:
               +         A.  the IEP and placement were appropriate and the special education and related services, supplementary aids and services, and the behavior intervention strategies were provided consistent with the child's IEP and placement
               +         B.  the child's disability did not impair the ability of the child to understand the impact and consequences of the behavior subject to the disciplinary action; and
               +         C.  the child's disability did not impair the ability of the child to control the behavior subject to the disciplinary action.
         o 3.  If the IEP Team determines that the behavior was not a manifestation of the child's disability,  the school district may apply the same disciplinary procedures that apply to a child without a disability.
         o 4.  If the parent disagrees with a determination that the child's behavior was not a manifestation of his/her disability or with any decision regarding placement, the parent may request an Impartial Due Process Hearing, which will be an expedited hearing.
         o 5.  If the parents request a hearing regarding a disciplinary action as specified in this section or to challenge the interim alternative educational setting or manifestation, determination, the child shall remain in the interim placement pending the decision of the Hearing Officer or until the expiration of the 45 days, whichever occurs first

Attorney's Fees

   * If you are a prevailing party in an administrative hearing (Impartial Due Process Hearing) or on an appeal to court from an Impartial  Due Process Hearing Officer's Decision, you may be entitled to reimbursement for reasonable attorney's fees.  You must file your request for attorney's fees in state or federal court within 120 days of receiving the decision of the Hearing Officer. (Refer to the previous section, Statute of Limitations)
   * You have the right to know that attorney's fees may not be awarded relating to any meeting of the IEP Team unless that meeting is convened as a  result of an administrative proceeding or judicial action.
   * You have the right to know that the court may rescind an attorney's fees if your attorney did not give the school district appropriate information in the notice initiating the Impartial Due Process Hearing.  (Refer to the section under Due Process Hearings).
   * The IDEA contains additional restrictions on your right to seek reimbursement for attorney's fees, which are published at 20 U.S. C sect. 1415 (i)(2)(D)-(E).

Right to File a Complaint

   * You have the right to file a complaint with the New Hampshire Department of Education in order to report allegations of actions taken by a public or private agency which are contrary to the provisions of state and federal requirements regarding the education of students with educational disabilities.
   * You have the right to know your complaint must be written, must contain a statement that the public or private agency has violated a state or federal requirement regarding the education of a student with educational disabilities and must contain the facts on which that statement is based.
   * You have the right to know that your complaint should be directed to the Commissioner of Education, 1-1 Pleasant Street, Concord, NH 03301-3860.
   * You have the right to resolution of your complaint within 60 days from the date on which the Department of Education received the complaint.  This time limit may be extended up to 90 days by the Commissioner of Education if a written request from the local Superintendent of Schools, director of the public agency or director of the private agency documents exceptional circumstances that necessitate such an extension.
   * You have the right to file a grievance with your local school district's Section 504 Coordinator and to file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education, Room 222 McCormack Post Office and Court House Building, Boston, MA 02109-4557, if you believe your child has been discriminated against because of his or her disability.

It is not enough to have a good mind;  the main thing is to use it well.

--Rene Descartes
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