Parental Rights

Special education services can be helpful to children with disabilities. When misunderstandings or problems arise about how to make the special education services work for you and your child, the parental rights notice is one place to start.

The parental rights notice (also called procedural safeguards) provides an overview of your parental special education rights. These rights are the same rights that belong to adult students between the ages of 18 and 21. The notice addresses key rights such as providing informed consent and procedures for disagreeing with the district.

Why Should I Read the Parental Rights Notice and What Information Will I Find?
You will want to read the parental rights notice to understand your special education rights. Sometimes there are rights that parents do not know about until it is too late, such as the timeline for objecting to a district’s proposed Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Example topics and rights you may find useful include:

  • Prior written notice documents.
  • Legal advocacy organizations and contact information.
  • Confidentiality.
  • Third-party billing for individualized education program (IEP) health-related services.
  • How to request an independent educational evaluation (IEE).
  • Access to student records and how to ask for copies.
  • How to disagree with the district, including asking for mediation, filing a special education complaint, or asking for a due process hearing.
  • Disciplinary removals (suspension and expulsion information).
  • Referrals to law enforcement.
  • Private school placements.

When Must the District Give Me a Copy of My Parental Rights Notice?
A district must give you a copy of the parental rights notice at least one time per school year. Other times that you should receive a copy of the parental rights notice include:

  • The first time the district refers your child for a special education evaluation (test) or if you ask for an evaluation.
  • The first time in a school year that you file a special education complaint with us.
  • The first time in a school year that you or the district asks for a due process hearing.
  • On the date the district decides to make a disciplinary change of placement of your child by removing the child from school for a violation of the district’s discipline policy. This can happen in certain cases when a child is suspended, expelled, or excluded, including if a child is suspended for more than ten consecutive school days. It can also happen if there is a pattern of suspensions that leads to a disciplinary change of placement.
  • If you ask for a copy.

Who Can I Talk to About My Parental Rights?

You can contact us and we will be happy to talk to you about your questions. Email the Division of Compliance and Assistance or call 651-582-8689. Team members who are familiar with special education compliance and parental rights are available during regular business hours .

How Can I Obtain Free or Low-Cost Legal Services?
We maintain a list of free or low-cost legal resources or other relevant services. Additional resources and contact information for advocacy and legal services include:

  • The local school district special education department. Access The local school district special education directors.
  • The ARC of Minnesota (advocacy for persons with developmental disabilities); 800-582-5256.
  • Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health; 800-528-4511.
  • Minnesota Disability Law Center; 800-292-4150.
  • PACER (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights); 800-53-PACER (800-537-2237). PACER also helps parents write special education complaints.