IEP Parent Rights: Guidelines Around Signing


IEP parent rights require that you do your homework. Some parents choose to find an advocate to help them navigate the process. If this isn’t right for you, it’s important to arm yourself with knowledge before you attend your IEP meeting. Always walk into your IEP meeting with a strong understanding of parent rights.

You should never feel pressured into agreeing with or signing a plan that may not work for your child. Here are the most important things to know.


You Do Not Need to Sign Immediately


Parents/guardians should never feel pressure to sign a child’s IEP or evaluation during a meeting.  They can instead sign that they attended the meeting and then take any documents home with them for review. If you are pressured to sign for any reason, know that you have the right to refuse. The IEP is not a “take it or leave it” agreement.


Also, know that different states have different expectations and policies around signing the document. Ask what your state requires before the meeting begins. 

You May Not Need to Sign Annual IEPs


While signing your child’s first ever IEP means you gave informed consent for services, there is no federal requirement for any further IEPs. It varies state-by-state whether a signature will be collected on annual reviews of IEPs.  School districts must show that their students are all in compliance with the laws, and this usually means parents have signed IEPs. But, parents have no legal requirement to sign any document within a designated time period.


You Are Entitled to Give Partial Consent


It is important to know that you can partially consent to your child’s IEP.  This is also known as “signing with exemptions.” This means you consent to some proposed services but disagree with others. School districts then implement the consented services while working to resolve disagreements about other services.  


Learn more about partial consent and other important aspects of signing the IEP with by joining ExceptionALLY. It’s free for all parents. Get personalized guidance and organization support. 





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