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NC Education Lawyer Blog

  • Writer's pictureNeubia Harris

Is an IEP a Legal Document?

It’s a breath of fresh air for many parents to hear that their child with a learning disability meets the criteria for special education services.

If your child has been evaluated, the school may have contacted you for an IEP meeting. This is when a team that consists of you, specialists, therapists, counselors, teachers, and district representatives meet to create an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

The IEP consists of your child’s needs, goals, strategies for achieving these goals, and additional special programs that your child needs.

Aside from being a plan, an IEP is also a legal document.

IEP as a legal document

An IEP is a legally binding contract between you, the parent, and the school district, making the school accountable. So if the school fails to provide your child with the services, programs, and support contained in the IEP, it has committed a violation.

As a parent, it is within your right to reach out to the school administrators to voice your concerns. In some instances, parents and the IEP team work together to resolve the issue. Sadly, this is not always the case.

What can I do if the school violates the law?

The IEP process is designed to be non-adversarial. But when the school disregards the IEP and refuses to provide the individualized services your child needs to do well, it’s time to involve an education attorney.

School districts know it’s their responsibility to provide these services but fail to do so because they know most parents aren’t experts in special education laws.

A well-versed education attorney like Neubia L. Harris will take up the matter on your behalf and make sure the school complies. The school district may even be compelled to pay the legal fees as compensation.


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