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Back to School with an IEP

  • Post category:Tips

We’ve had many calls the past couple of weeks from families dealing with school problems and want to share some tips based on the issues families have shared with us.

  • If you believe your school district needs to evaluate your child for special education services, put the request in writing and address the letter or email to the district’s Child Find coordinator. Here is a sample letter template you can use. Here is the timeline the district must follow in response to your request.
  • If the district evaluates your child for special education services and you disagree with the outcome, you have the right to request an Independent Education Evaluation at the district’s expense.
  • If your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), but it is not working or individualized to your child’s needs, you can send the district a letter requesting appropriate services.
  • If you have concerns about your child’s special education services, call the Mississippi Department of Education’s Special Education Hotline at 1-877-544-0408.
  • If you would like a neutral person to facilitate your child’s IEP meeting, you can request a facilitator for your meeting at this link.
  • If you believe your child’s school district has violated your child’s or your rights related to special education, you can file a formal state complaint with the Mississippi Department of Education. Here is a tip sheet on completing the form, and here are twelve common reasons families file complaints. This August 11, 2022 blog post gives more details about formal state complaints. Anyone can file a formal state complaint, and it does not require a lawyer.
  • If you file a formal state complaint, the school district will likely urge you to agree to mediation rather than pursue the complaint. We encourage families to be cautious and thoughtful about agreeing to mediation because school districts may not be as likely to follow through on what they promise if you withdraw your complaint and enter mediation.
  • If you agree to mediation, you do not have to agree to the district’s proposed resolution and can still pursue your formal state complaint.
  • You are an essential member of your child’s IEP team meeting. You should be included in all meetings and be notified in writing of dates for them. You can ask to have a date changed if it does not work for you.
  • You can ask for an IEP meeting as often as you want. If an IEP meeting does not go well or you later remember more information you wish your child’s IEP team to know, you can request another IEP meeting.
  • Remember that if your child’s school gives you proper written prior notice of a meeting and you do not respond and do not go to the meeting, the rest of the IEP team can meet and make decisions without you.

We are always happy to support you and advocate with you for what you want for your child. You can call us at 601-355-0915 or email us at

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