Ask the Attorney: What are my rights regarding school placement?

"Can the school district force my child into a new placement because we requested a certain accommodation such as a one-to-one aide?"

As with all of our Ask the Attorney posts, we acknowledge that every situation is unique based on the student and school district, though there is some general advice we can share on the topic.Without knowing the specifics of the child and school, as well as the student's entire educational history, we can tell you that a school shouldn't be forcing a student with disabilities into any educational setting without going through the IEP team process. The federal law that stipulates the rights of students with disabilities and their families (called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) lists specific safeguards, one of which is including parents/guardians in the decision-making process. This prevents decisions from being made without including the parents' opinions. Revisit Five Rights Parents of Children with Disabilities Need to Know for a refresher on procedural safeguards.Regarding the accommodation request, unfortunately there isn't a cut-and-dry explanation for when someone will receive a particular accommodation like a one-to-one aide. The determination process would involve looking at the child's educational history, the accommodations they've had in the past, the progress they've made with those accommodations, and also recommendations from expert evaluators. One-to-one aides are one accommodation among many possibilities the school district might offer, again depending on the specific needs of the student and that student's situation. Check out our Special Education Guide for a list of possible accommodations that might come through the IEP process. Start Massachusetts Special Education GuideStart Louisiana Special Education Guide