Student who attend private school maintain the same rights as public school children in accessing Special Education services. Here are some important things to know:
- Request a team meeting first. Just as in a public school, private schools often have a team that meets to problem-solve around student needs. This is most often called a Student Study Team. This team will help guide you through the best process for getting support for your child.
- You have a right to request a free evaluation from the district. If you or your child’s teacher suspect your child has a disability, you have a right to request an evaluation from the local school district. To do this, write a letter stating your request to the district’s Special Education department, or ask your school’s director the best way to make this request.
- The private school is not obligated to provide services. In most cases, if your child is eligible for Special Education, you have a difficult choice to make: work with the present school using the new information from the evaluation, or transfer to a public school to receive direct services. In some cases, the district may agree to provide some services at the private school site, though these may not be as comprehensive as they would be at the public school.
- The school cannot discriminate against your child. A private school cannot ask a child to leave a school solely based on his or her disability. At the same time, private schools are allowed to have specific requirements for admittance or attendance. If the child’s disability prevents them from meeting these requirements, they may be asked to find a school that is a better fit. Know your rights if the school has asked or suggested you go elsewhere.
The tips listed above also apply to 504 Plans. Most private schools have a responsibility to accept students with disabilities and 504 Plans as long as they meet the established criteria for admittance to the school. Most commonly, schools are required to provide reasonable accommodations for students to ensure they have access to their education.
- Private Schools and Special Education from Understood.org