How “Stay Put” initiative affects students

When it comes to changing a student’s IEP, disputes between parents and schools can arise. When any change is proposed to an IEP, schools must give a 15-day written notice to parents informing them of the change. Parents then have 15 days to act. If they disagree with the proposal, they have the right to file a Petition for Mediation and Due Process within an allotted time period. This petition invokes a “Stay Put” order, a provision of IDEA, which allows their child to receive the last agreed upon accommodations until the dispute is resolved. 

Some loopholes to this 15-day window apply, though. Attorneys for ASAH state,

“The 15-day timeline does not begin as long as parents and the district are working to resolve the parental concerns. Sometimes, districts ignore this requirement and attempt to change the placement at the end of the 15-day timeline, even while they are still taking steps, such as holding additional meetings or securing independent evaluations, in order to address the parents’ concerns.” Read more here

Parents must be aware of this, as no changes to an IEP can legally be made without the parents’ consent. 

This is in motion whether due process takes one month or one year. Click here for a due process petition letter

IDEA states,

“Except as provided in §300.533, during the pendency of any administrative or judicial proceeding regarding a due process complaint notice requesting a due process hearing under §300.507, unless the State or local agency and the parents of the child agree otherwise, the child involved in the complaint must remain in his or her current educational placement.”

While “Stay Put” is generally seen as a provision that favors parents’ wishes, it can work for or against them, depending on the situation. 

Disputes over best plans for a student may be about any number of issues: reducing frequency or duration of services, moving a student from general to special education, or even removing services. In some situations, “Stay Put” ensures a student will at least maintain their current levels of growth while due process is in pendency. However, for parents wanting to increase services, their student will not receive the desired services until the dispute is settled. Read more about the Stay Put order from attorney, Meagan Nunez.  

Ford Law Firm recommends parents follow several guidelines to ensure the “Stay Put” order is not leveraged against them by schools.

“Do not agree to a multi-phase or multi-stage IEP.  Agreeing to a multi-phase IEP could result in your child’s stay put placement being a placement he or she has never been in. 

Do not agree with the school district to “test” a different placement or “try” a different placement for your child.  Doing so may result in the “test” placement being your child’s placement for the purpose of stay put. 

If the District intends to move forward with a change in placement, consult an attorney.  Believe it or not, the Ninth Circuit’s ruling is causing special education attorneys to rightfully advise their clients to pull their children out of school.  In certain instances, this may be the only way to maintain a student’s present stay put.”

There are some cases in which the “Stay Put” order does not apply. If the complaint involves an application for initial services generally provided in a school setting from a child who has turned three and is no longer eligible for services provided in the natural environment, (often the infant or toddler’s home or other community program). In this case, the public agency is not required to continue providing the early intervention services on the child’s IFSP because the child does not have a “current educational placement” in which to stay put. Read more at B.E.S.T Services.

A student’s placement can also be legally changed by the court in more extreme cases such as if “the child in his or her current placement is substantially likely to result in injury either to himself or herself, or to others.” Your child’s right to maintain his current placement may also be affected if he has engaged in a weapon or drug offense.” Read more about “Stay Put” guidelines at Law Office of Janina Botchis

Parents need resources during due process more than anything. In addition to seeking representation they trust, many will also need an Independent Education Evaluation (IEE) if they are dissatisfied with the data the school is using. 

IEPready partners with advocates and attorneys to provide multidisciplinary IEEs to families. IEPready serves families first and foremost–obtaining a fresh perspective with an IEE is often part of moving the legal process forward more swiftly. When attorneys can offer parents all the services they need, students are on a faster path to receiving the education they deserve. 


Fill out this form to learn more about what IEPready offers, to families and partners. 

Are you a parent looking for state-specific laws regarding the Stay Put law? Click here


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