Resources for School Rights
- Student Handbook and/or Code of Conduct: The student handbook and/or code of conduct for your child’s district describe rights and responsibilities. These may be online or printed. Read them carefully and help your child understand what is in them. If something happens that seems different than what is written in the handbook (for example your child is suspended for a reason not listed in the handbook), ask to be shown the section of the handbook that covers the situation. Make sure you reference the handbook when responding to the school in person or in writing.
- Bullying: Bullying is against the law in Mississippi on school property, at any school-sponsored function, or on a school bus. Schools are required to have a policy to prevent bullying. If you have a concern about bullying, contact the principal at your child’s school and ask about the school’s policy and how it can be used to help your child.
- If your child has a disability as defined under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), your child and family have extra protections.
- If your child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) under IDEA, this information sheet from Disability Rights MS tells you more about how you and your child should be treated, and these are Mississippi’s Procedural Safeguards.
- Here is a sample letter you can use to request an evaluation for your child for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). You can learn more about the Mississippi Department of Education’s (MDE’s) policies here.
If your child has an IEP and you believe your child’s school or district is not doing what the IDEA law says, we strongly encourage you to do the following:
- Call the Parent Hotline at the Mississippi Department of Education 1-877-544-0408
- Contact a parent or advocacy organization that can help you learn more about your rights. These are some advocacy organizations that do that work:
- File a formal complaint.
The following sites are resources regarding exceptional education:
Wright’s Law – explains rights and procedures
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (Division of the U.S. Department of Education)
National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
- If you would like to file a complaint through the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) against a school, school district, college, university, library, or other educational entity that is covered by a law OCR enforces regarding discrimination, click here. If an OCR complaint does not appear to be the appropriate route, the website will suggest links to other resources that may better assist you in addressing your concerns.
- If you are interested in the Mississippi Department of Education’s (MDE) Special Education Scholarship accounts, you can learn more here.