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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Gotcha Squad Strikes Again: Now Its Special Education That Will Get You Discharged or Terminated

Think about it. As you can read below,  "Every principal must implement procedures to ensure that each gen ed. teacher, special ed. teacher and related service provider who is responsible for implementing the student's IEP is provided a paper or electronic copy of the IEP prior to implementation of the IEP "

But what if Mr. or Ms. Principal does not ensure the procedures are in place (this is, by the way, Chapter 408) but says they did everything and it is YOUR fault the IEP was not followed, cannot be found, was not in a locked drawer, etc?? Then what??

Betsy Combier

Copies of IEPs


The IEP describes the school’s obligation to provide specially designed instruction as well as related and other support services to students with disabilities. In order for students to achieve the full benefit of the IEP planning process, school personnel with responsibility for implementing the IEPs of students with disabilities must understand their responsibilities and have students’ IEPs readily available to them. Chapter 408 of the Laws of 2002 and state regulations prescribe the process for ensuring that this occurs.

Providing Copies of IEPs to Teachers and Related Service Providers

Every principal must implement procedures to ensure that each general education teacher, special education teacher and related service provider who is responsible for implementing the student’s IEP is provided apaper or electronic copy of the IEP prior to implementation of the IEP. This includes every teacher responsible for implementing a service, accommodation and/or program modification on a student’s IEP. Additionally, a process must be in place to ensure that copies of a student’s IEP are immediately disseminated to all appropriate staff when the IEP has been revised during the school year.
Schools that use SESIS to provide an electronic copy of the IEP must ensure that teachers and related service providers are able to readily reference their students IEPs on an ongoing basis. Teachers and related service providers who cannot readily refer to electronic copies of their students’ IEPs in their school building during the school day because they do not have access to a computer (the computer does not need to be in the classroom or therapy room) must be provided paper copies.
A school does not meet the requirements of the law by disseminating lists of students requiring test accommodations or summaries of IEPs such as “IEP at a Glance.”
The determination of which teachers and related service providers must be provided a copy of the IEP should be made at the student’s IEP meeting.
Teachers of students who have been declassified and who continue to receive accommodations, modifications and/or other support services must receive a copy of the student’s last IEP.

Providing Paraprofessionals Opportunity to Review and Ongoing Access to IEPs

Every principal must implement procedures to ensure that each paraprofessional responsible for assisting the implementation of a student’s IEP is provided the opportunity to review a copy of the student’s IEP prior to implementation of the IEP.
Additionally, the procedures must ensure that each paraprofessional responsible for assisting in the implementation of a student’s IEP has ongoing access to a copy of the IEP.  The copy may be the copy provided to the student’s special education teacher or another teacher or related service provider under whose direction the paraprofessional works. It may also be a copy maintained in another location in the school building if that location is readily accessible to the paraprofessional.
Access to IEPs may also be provided electronically, through SESIS. Schools that use SESIS to provide electronic access must ensure that paraprofessionals receive training on how to use SESIS to access students’ IEPs. They must also ensure that computers are available in the school building during the school day for paraprofessionals to use.
While schools are not required to provide a copy of the IEP to the paraprofessional, they may legally do so if they choose.

Informing School Personnel of IEP Implementation Responsibilities

 In addition to providing copies of IEPs to teachers and related service providers and access to paraprofessionals, every principal must have a process for ensuring that each general education teacher, special education teacher, related service provider and other support staff has been informed, prior to implementation of the IEP, of his or her responsibility to implement the recommendations on the student’s IEP, including the responsibility to provide specific IEP-mandated accommodations, program modifications, supports and/or services.
To accomplish these, the principal must designate one or more professional staff members who are familiar with the contents of the student’s IEP, such as an administrator, school psychologist and/or teacher, to directly inform appropriate staff of their specific responsibilities. Teachers and related service providers who were present at the meeting where the IEP was finalized are assumed to be familiar with the contents of the IEP and their specific duties in implementing the IEP.


The Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) allows schools to disclose personally identifiable information in a student’s education records, including the student’s IEP, to school personnel with “legitimate educational interests.” While an IEP contains important instructional information that teachers, related service providers, paraprofessionals and others need to know to implement the IEP, it may also contain sensitive personal information about the student. Teachers and related service providers who receive a copy of a student’s IEP and paraprofessionals who have access to IEPs must ensure that student IEPs remain confidential and are not disclosed to any other people.
Schools districts that provide electronic copies of the IEP, such as through SESIS, are required to implement security systems to prevent unauthorized internal and external access to students’ IEPs. Due to systems integration issues, SESIS does not currently have controls in place to prevent members of the school staff who do not have IEP implementation responsibilities from accessing students’ IEPs. SESIS does, however, maintain a record of every time the IEP is accessed. School staff who are not connected with a student should never use SESIS to access the student’s IEP.
The school is responsible for instructing all people who receive copies of IEPs or have access to IEPs regarding their legal obligation to maintain the confidentiality of student records. Personally identifiable student information from the IEP may not be disclosed to others without parent consent.

Providing a Copy of the IEP to Parent

 Schools must ensure that a copy of the IEP is provided to the student’s parents. If the IEP is amended with or without an IEP team meeting, the parent must be provided with a copy of the amended IEP immediately.

Storage of IEPs

IEPs are confidential documents and must be kept in locations not accessible by students or staff members who are not responsible for implementing the IEP. While the storage location must not be accessible, this does not necessarily mean that it must be in a locked location.