Are you a parent of a child with autism or another disability, who is considering filing for a due process hearing? Do you wonder how to organize the documents that have to be given, to special education personnel and the hearing officer? Then this article is for you. You will learn specifically how to prepare your child’s school records for a due process hearing.
If you have filed for a due process hearing, ask for a complete copy of your child’s school record, temporary and permanent.
When you receive the records put them in date order. Put the older records on the bottom and the newer records on the top. Before you get ready to look at them, you need a few things. Get a pad of paper, pens, small thin post it notes that come in bright colors, small post it notes, and larger post it notes.
Start going through the records, older records first, and anything useful put a colorful thin post it note sticking out. Write on the post it note what you found. Do not write on original documents, because they will have to be copied at some point. Take notes on what evidence you found that will help your case, and where you found it.
This may take you a while so try to get someone to help you. After you have looked at your child’s entire school record, start over. Look at the post it notes. Any document that will help your case take out and start a new pile, older documents on the bottom, newer documents on the top. Now you have an idea of what evidence is in your child’s school record that you can use.
Any school records not used, place in a box. Do not get rid of them, in case you find out later that you need something in the box. Make sure that the records that you will use are in date order, older on the bottom and newer on the top.
Now separate the documents left, and only take specific pages that you need. For example: If you want to use parts of an IEP, only keep the sign in page, the meeting notice, and whatever parts that you need. Now you should have only the specific documents that you need for your case! Also, don’t forget to include documents that may rebut the school districts case.
The documents must be numbered by document number; do that first. On the newest document that you want to use put a number (I use P-1), next document (P-2) and so on, until every document is numbered. Now write or type a list of all of the documents that you will be using, and what their numbers are, make 3 copies.
Now go back to the newest document and number the pages. So if the first document has 7 pages it would be page one, page two, page three etc. Put the page number, on the bottom right. The next document would start on page 8. When you are done numbering all of the pages, write or type a list of what documents are on what pages, and make three copies. For example: Document 1 page 1-7, Document 2 pages 8-10, Document 3 page 11-14 etc.
Get large 3 ring binders and place the documents in them. Older documents at the end, newer documents at the beginning. You need three sets of documents, and you may need more than one binder for these documents. At the beginning of each binder put the document number list, and the page list. Put labels on the front, that state who gets what binder. According to IDEA, school personnel must receive their binder 5 school days before the hearing. The hearing officer usually gets their document binder at the hearing.