New IDEA Rules Clarify Parents' Right to Revoke Consent to Services

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The IDEA requires parental consent before a child receives special education and related services. But the IDEA statute does not say what a Local Education Agency (LEA) should do when a child is receiving special education services and the parent revokes consent to those services. New IDEA regulations, effective December 31, 2008, clarify that parents may unilaterally withdraw their consent to special education and related services and, if they do, the LEA must cease providing special education services to the child.
Procedurally, the new rules require that a parent's revocation of  consent to special education services for their child must be written. If a parent revokes consent to special education and related services, the LEA may not continue to provide special education services to the child. But before ceasing the provision of special education services, the LEA must provide prior written notice to the parents. Because the revocation of consent is not retroactive, the LEA is not required to amend the child's educational records to remove references to the child having received special education services.
Additionally, if parents revoke their consent and the LEA stops providing services, the LEA will not be considered to be in violation of the IDEA's requirement to provide a free appropriate public education to the child. Moreover, the LEA is not required to convene an IEP meeting or develop an IEP for the child. Finally, the LEA may not use mediation or the IDEA's due process procedures to try to override the parent's revocation of consent. For further information and a good analysis of these new regulations please see the Congressional Research Services Report, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: Final Part B Regulations.