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Can a specific school placement be added in an IEP?



My son is currently a 10th grader in high school. He has Autism, ADHD, Tourette’s, Anxiety and Major Depression. I live in the county and at some point they changed the lines for schools. Starting in 6th grade, I send in a paper from his doctor and myself asking for special permission to stay in the current school, due to change being extremely hard for him.  This year, the high school has a new principal and she called me to say my son was not meeting the criteria for special permission. He has had an attendance meeting every year since preschool because he misses a little more than their 10 days. In his letter from the doctor for the special permission, he also stared that absences due to mental health need to be excused. That was turned in before school started. His grades are never great. He has a lot of issues with turning assignments in, and keeping track of things. He had always had this issue and we address it at every IEP meeting, although it seems that whatever they do, it still happens. I tried to explain that these are boxes he will never check for the special permission, due to his disability. I was told by the principal he needs to get his grades up or he can’t come back next year. The school board told me even though he has a disability and an IEP that it was a privilege, not a right to attend this school. That his disability has nothing to do with special permission. Moving schools for my son would be like taking away his oxygen. School has always been a rock and hard place for him. He wants to be there, but it’s also so hard. His sped teacher is working with him to try to get his grades up so that this does not happen. She has even stated that it would be detrimental for my son, and being where he has been is the least restrictive environment. My question is, can we put into his IEP that he stay in this school until graduation? I’m sorry for the long story, but this is causing our family a lot of stress, and I follow you on Facebook, and thought maybe, you or someone you know would know if this a acceptable request? Thank you so much for any input. 

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It's neither a placement or a right - it's whether or not it's the least restrictive environment in order for your son to receive FAPE.  You may need an outside evaluator to weigh in on the traumatic and educational impact moving school's would have on your son.  Without this, the school may be able to fall back on its special permission policy and deny his attendance at that school.

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It sounds like, in your area, there are magnet schools that a student needs to apply to go to and have a certain GPA to stay & this is where he currently goes.  I've been told that an IEP trumps school policy (this is how my child was allowed a water bottle when it was against school rules).  So the answer is yes, the IEP could put school X as the placement & then they would need to follow the IEP.

What happens after HS graduation?  Will your child go to college or a trade school?  Does it make sense to transition him now?  IMO, if the IEP team refuses to put 'placement at school X' as an accommodation in the IEP, you need to come up with a plan to ease the transition.  This would include tours of the school over the summer, meeting school staff before the 1st day, etc.  (And keep in mind this could be a fight at every IEP meeting to keep 'placement at school X' in the IEP until he graduates or ages out.)

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