Procedural Safeguards & Parental Rights

Dear Parents,

As parents you are important partners, along with school district personnel, in the education of students with disabilities. You provide necessary information to teachers and administrators; play a key role in decisions made about your children and participate as full members of the committee on the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team. For you to have a meaningful role in your children's education you must understand your rights and responsibilities regarding special education.

What parental rights do I have regarding the IEP?

Parental rights are outlined in the Parental Rights Procedural Safeguards brochure that is provided to parents at your child’s IEP team meeting and available for download anytime below. The following list describes the many rights parents have on behalf of their child:
  • provide consent for evaluation and for the initiation of special education services
  • participate in your child’s IEP meeting.
  • receive a copy of your child’s IEP.
  • review your child’s educational records as well as ask for explanation or interpretation of the
  • information within the records.
  • receive notice of any changes or revisions to your child’s IEP prior to the implementation of
  • those changes (prior written notice).
  • access formal dispute resolution methods as outlined in the Parental Rights-Procedural Safeguards brochure to resolve disputes regarding the identification, evaluation, services, or the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for your child.
  • receive information in your native language.
  • revoke consent for your child to continue to receive special education services.
  • request an IEP team meeting to discuss any revisions you would like to be made to your child’s IEP.
  • bring individuals who have knowledge of your child to an IEP team meeting.
  • request an independent educational evaluation (if you disagree with WCPS evaluation.
Below please find a revised copy of your Parental Rights Maryland Procedural Safeguards Notice. 

Procedural Safeguards and Parental Rights
Condensed Version  Procedural Safeguards and Parental Rights

This guide is intended to provide parents, guardians, and caregivers of school-age children with basic information on how the special education process works so they can advocate effectively for their children. This guide provides information for parents and families about laws, regulations, and policies affecting special education programs and services. Our hope is that using this publication, parents, families and school districts will collaborate together in order to help students reach their full potential. If you have questions about any of the information presented in this document, please call your child's case manager to clarify information for you.

There may be times when you may not agree with the school's recommendations about your child's education. Conflict, misunderstandings, and poor communications do sometimes occur. In the child's best interest, it is very important that these situations be resolved in a positive and productive manner. The first step in resolving concerns and conflicts is to address them with the staff member who is most directly involved. In most cases, this will be your child's general education or special education teacher. You may want to request a conference and follow up with a note identifying specific concerns. Of course, the school principal may be contacted at any time regarding concerns.

When disputes arise that cannot be resolved, you are encouraged to contact the Supervisor of Special Education for Worcester County Public Schools at 410-632-5036. If unresolved issues remain after attempts to resolve them informally, parents and educators can request a resolution session or mediation to resolve disagreements about a child's education needs. Another option for resolving disagreements, described in this booklet, is requesting a due process hearing.

You are encouraged to consider requesting a resolution session or mediation whenever communication has broken down or there is a dispute that can't be resolved. The focus of mediation is to find a solution that is in the best interests of the child. Mediation brings parties together to collaborate with each other to resolve a disagreement. Mediation assists everyone to better understand differing points of view. An impartial mediator helps the participants communicate their concerns to each other. All parties are involved in the decision-making, and everyone has an opportunity to express concerns and offer solutions. Mediation is voluntary. All parties must agree to participate and are in control of the outcome.

Worcester County Public Schools uses trained mediators from the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings. To request mediation, please contact, Rae Record, the Supervisor of Special Education for the Worcester County Public Schools.

An additional resource available to you is the Family Support Services Parent Coordinator. She is available to support parents in the IEP process to strengthen the knowledge of the process, provide resources and enable families of children with disabilities and professionals to function as equal partners in the educational decision-making process. The Family Support Services Parent Coordinator helps families and educators by assisting families to resolve concerns and make informed decisions regarding their child's education. The Parent Coordinator strives to foster understanding and communication between parents, educators, and the community on disability issues and issues related to special education. For more information, contact Jessica Tawes at 410-632-5234.

We hope this information will give you a better understanding of the special education process and how to work in partnership with Worcester County Public Schools on behalf of your child.

Windy Phillips
Supervisor of Special Education

Frequently Asked Questions

What if you don't agree with the school team’s decision that your child needs special education?
If you disagree with the IEP team’s initial decision that your child requires special education services, then you can choose not to sign the IEP. In these cases, special education services will not be implemented for your child.

If, later, you decide that your child does not require special education services, you have the right to revoke consent, which means that all of the special education services will be terminated.
What if you do not agree with the program or services that the IEP team recommended for your child?
If you disagree with the school’s recommendations about your child’s education, you have the right to challenge the decisions regarding your child’s eligibility, evaluation, placement, and the services that the school provides. A parent may choose to:
  • speak with the school administration and try to reach an agreement.
  • request an IEP meeting facilitated by someone from the central office who has expertise in area of concern.
  • contact the Supervisor of Special Education to access formal dispute resolution processes to resolve your concerns.

Resources for Families

Conflict Resolution - Maryland State Department of Education
Mediation Documents:
Procedural Safeguards and Parental Rights 
Condensed Version  Procedural Safeguards and Parental Rights

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), these documents are also available in alternative formats, upon request. Contact the Division of Early Intervention/Special Education Services, Maryland State Department of Education at Voice (410) 767-7770 or Fax (410) 333-1571.