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Step 1
How does a student qualify for special education services?
What is an evaluation?
What is a re-evaluation?
Outline of the initial evaluation process for school-age children
Frequently asked questions about the evaluation process
Assessment tools
Laws that govern special education
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Laws That Govern Special Education
There are several federal laws that govern how special education services are provided. An overview of each law and what it means for parents is provided.

[+] Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a civil rights act that protects the civil and constitutional rights of persons with disabilities. It applies to anyone receiving federal funds. While the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) lists specific categories of disability, Section 504 defines a disability as a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. If a student is not diagnosed as having a disability under IDEA, the local district may still have obligations under Section 504. Section 504 provides for a free, appropriate education in the least-restrictive environment, reasonable accommodations, and a written plan describing placement and services. Section 504 also applies to college students, to the workplace and to physical access to public buildings. This act is enforced by the Office of Civil Rights.

Any person having inquiries concerning their local district’s compliance with Section 504 should contact their local district administration. Questions about SSD’s compliance should be addressed to:

Compliance Liaison
Special School District
12110 Clayton Road
St. Louis, MO 63131
314.989.8143
[+] Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) governs how SSD provides special education. IDEA is the most comprehensive federal law regarding special education. According to this law, students with disabilities have a number of basic rights. The most significant rights are:
  • The right to a free and appropriate public education. In St. Louis County, SSD is charged with providing a free and appropriate education to all students with disabilities, including those attending private/parochial schools. These services are to be available on the child's third birthday and may continue through age 21.
  • The right to have the educational services provided in the "least-restrictive environment." Least-restrictive environment is the environment that is as close as possible to general education with peers who do not have disabilities, while still meeting the student's educational needs.
  • The right to have instructional and support services and supplementary aids provided when they are needed. These services include but are not limited to physical therapy, counseling, speech therapy, transportation and adaptive equipment, and are guided by individual needs.
  • The right to fair assessment procedures. Educational assessment (or evaluation) is conducted to identify a child's learning needs and to determine whether a child requires special education and, if so, what type of special education. Assessments must be conducted before a child is placed in special education. A re-evaluation to determine eligibility must occur at least every three years following the child’s placement. Parents and/or teachers may request assessment at more frequent intervals.
  • The right to be involved in developing an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or plan for your child. Further details about your rights in an IEP are included in this section.
  • The right to Due Process, which assures the parents of a student with disabilities to be involved in educational decisions about their child and an appeal process to challenge decisions with which they disagree.
[+] Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) provides privacy safeguards to parents, legal guardians and students. It forbids the release of a student's records or personally identifiable information to unauthorized persons, but does not bar the disclosure of "directory information."

IDEA incorporates the provisions of FERPA. In addition to the protections afforded by FERPA, IDEA prohibits a school district from releasing information to unauthorized persons regarding a student's disability, or the fact that a student is disabled, without the consent of the student's parent or guardian. As a special education agency, the additional confidentiality requirements of IDEA restrict SSD from acting upon the directory information provision of FERPA because any release of student information could be construed as identifying a student with an educational disability. Therefore, SSD will deny requests for any student information without authorization of the parent, legal guardian or majority age student.

Both FERPA and IDEA permit the release of educational information to public school districts in which the student is enrolled or intends to enroll without parental consent. The receiving school district is bound by the same confidentiality requirements under these laws. For students receiving special education services in a local school district building, the release of directory information by the local district can be prohibited through notification to that district.

In compliance with FERPA and state laws regarding the retention of records, test protocol booklets will only be maintained between evaluations. If the parent/guardian or eligible student would like test protocol booklets maintained, SSD must be notified in writing prior to Oct. 1 of any given school year. All requests will be honored by the district. Written notification should be addressed to:

Student Records Department
SSD
12110 Clayton Road
St. Louis, MO 63131

Questions concerning release of student information, student records, or rights should be directed to:

Compliance Liaison
SSD
12110 Clayton Road
St. Louis, MO 63131
314.989.8143
[+] No Child Left Behind (NCLB)

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was signed into law in January 2002. It is the most recent authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act affecting the education of students from kindergarten through grade 12. It includes accountability measures for all public schools based on the goal that all children will be proficient in reading and math by 2014. School districts and individual schools must show that students are making “adequate yearly progress” (AYP) toward that goal. It also requires that all children be taught by “highly qualified teachers,” that communication improves with parents, and that schools are made safer. NCLB sets high expectations for all students regardless of their race, ethnicity, family background or disability.
[+] Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.
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12110 Clayton Rd, Town & Country, MO 63131  /  314.989.8100  /  314.989.8552 – 711 (Missouri Relay)

Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD) is a leader in providing special education services to students with disabilities and also provides a wide range of career and technical education programs.
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