I saw this posted somewhere and I copied it and put in my notes.
The Parent Concerns section of an IEP is important and is the only place where parents can document their concerns in a legal document verbatim without being edited by the IEP Team. An IEP is one of the the first documents looked at during mediation or a hearing and the mediator/hearing officer will know immediately what the concerns are because they were clearly documented on the first page of an IEP. This section is always considered and referenced when discussing decisions in a mediation/hearing.
The Parent Concerns sections should include academics, test scores, concerns about services, progress, homework difficulties, behavior, social/emotional, transition, etc. When preparing for an IEP meeting, the concerns should be written out and include data such as test scores, comments from recent progress reports, etc. The concerns should be succinct, clearly written, and backed up with data whenever possible, and should be included verbatim in the Parent Concerns section, not stapled to the end of the IEP. A written copy, as well as an electronic copy, such as an email, of the Parent Concerns should be provided to the IEP team and request in writing that your concerns are added verbatim to the IEP . With an electronic copy, the concerns can be cut and pasted verbatim onto the IEP, making this section easier to fill out for the team, particularly if concerns are lengthy.
What if the IEP Team does not want to add your concerns verbatim? It is the parents’ right to express their concerns and in the end, districts are required to include the parents’ concerns and a complaint should be filed with the State’s Department of Education if the district does not add your concerns verbatim in the Parent Concerns section of the IEP. Here are the steps to get your concerns added verbatim:
Write “PLEASE ADD VERBATIM” in the Parent Concerns section of the IEP so your concerns can be clearly seen by everyone.
- When submitting the written copy of your concerns, ask the team to document in their notes that you are requesting your concerns to be added verbatim in the Parent Concern section.
- If the team refuses to add your concerns verbatim, reject the IEP (or partially reject if you don’t want to lose services or new goals). State in writing why you are rejecting the IEP, including their refusal to include your concerns verbatim.
- Instead of signing the IEP, write on the signature page “SEE ATTACHED NARRATIVE REJECTION. PLEASE INCLUDE NARRATIVE REJECTION WHEN SENDING TO THE DEPT. OF ED.”