Children In Private Schools Have A Legal Right To Special Educations Services

Posted on: 19 May 2022

The public and private school systems are two separate entities. While there is a great deal of overlap, there are also many differences between these educational systems, particularly when it comes to special education services. Whether your child was enrolled in public school first and transitioned to private education or your child will go straight to private school, it is vital to understand their rights.

Immediate Evaluation

One area in which these educational systems differ involves the evaluation process. Many states require public schools to promptly evaluate any child suspected of being in need as part of their funding criteria. Private schools are generally required to adhere to the evaluation process, but they may not be required to initiate the evaluation. 

In some situations, this process must be parent-initiated, in that the parent must request that an evaluation process be performed for their child based on evidence-based reasoning. You want to review local laws in your area to ensure your child is evaluated as soon as possible.

Equitable Funding

Parents sometimes receive pushback from private schools based on the concept of limited funding. A private school may notify the parent that they do not have the financial resources to provide the student with the right type of accommodations, such as specific teacher certifications or technology-based assistive equipment.

Private schools generally have access to what is known as equitable funding, which, in short, provides private schools with the extra funding necessary to meet the needs of the special education children who attend their institutions. If a school fails to seek this finding, you may have a legal claim for discriminatory practices. 

Individual Education Plan Transition

One thing about private schools is that students must generally be accepted. For this reason, when a parent submits an application for a child in need of special education services, and the child's acceptance is approved, the school is essentially committing to following the individualized education plan, or IEP.

As a result, the school will need to abide by this document, as it is legally binding whether the child attends a public or private institution. Any pushback from the school should be followed up with the legal requirements for IEPs in your area. 

If you suspect your child's access to special education services is being limited by a private school, speak with a special education lawyer to discuss your situation and work to get your child all the resources they need for success.