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Special Education

Parent and Family Rights

Published: 10/6/2021 12:37 PM

​​What are the laws for Special Education? 

The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) is the federal law for students with disabilities. The IDEA ensures children with disabilities have access to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). IDEA applies to babies and toddlers to age 3 (Part C of IDEA) and school-aged children, ages 3-21 (Part B of IDEA). In addition to the IDEA, Special Education in Kentucky is also governed by the Kentucky Administrative Regulations (KAR) for Special Education Programs (2008)

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What are my rights as a parent?

At Admissions and Release Committee (ARC) meetings, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires school districts to offer parents a written copy of their Procedural Safeguards. Procedural Safeguards describe the rights and protections that parents and their child(ren) have under the IDEA. The district will offer a written copy of the Procedural Safeguards before every ARC meeting. A copy of Kentucky's Procedural Safeguards can be found on the right side of the Special Education Forms - Due Process webpage. 

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What if I disagree with an ARC decision? 

Typically, parents and school staff work together to make decisions about a child’s education. However, there may be times when parents and school staff do not agree. Often, these disagreements can be resolved through a meeting in which the parents and a school representative talk over issues and concerns. By working together informally, parents and school personnel can maintain a positive relationship. They may also resolve their disagreement more quickly than addressing the matter through a more formal process such as a due process hearing or an Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) written complaint.

Every school district in Kentucky has a Director of Special Education (DoSE). A list of district contact information is available in Open House to help parents get in touch with their local DoSE. When a parent has a disagreement or concern, parents may first contact the school district’s DoSE to make them aware. Families usually find it is most effective if they first review their child’s IEP before contacting the DoSE to clearly explain their specific questions and concerns. Parents often find it helpful to make a list in writing of their concerns and share that list with the DoSE. 

If meeting informally with the school representative or talking to the DoSE does not resolve the disagreement, three other resolution options are available to parents. Disagreements may be resolved through (1) mediation, (2) a formal written complaint or (3) a due process hearing.  The Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE) Dispute Resolution webpage provides the details for each process along with the forms used to request each process. 

Additional Resources: 

CADRE for Families: many resources available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Korean, Russian, Simplified Chinese, and Vietnamese. 

What are my rights during the ARC meeting? 

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) encourages parents and families to work in partnership with schools concerning their child’s education and schooling. First and foremost, parents should play an active role along with school staff in developing their child’s Individual Education Program (IEP). Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), parents and legal guardians have certain rights and protections to ensure they can fully participate. The IDEA also provides rights to parents and guardians concerning their child’s identification, evaluation, educational placement and the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to their child. Families also have the right and responsibility to ask questions and express concerns. For further information, see “What is the Admissions and Release Committee (ARC)?”

Additional Resources: 



Shasta Hensley
Office of Special Education and Early Learning
Division of IDEA Implementation and Preschool
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-4970 x 4103
Shasta.hensley@education.ky.gov


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