What Are The Policies at Your Child's School?
Authored By: Iowa Legal Aid
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Most parents help their children get ready for school by getting their school supplies and gym clothes ready each fall. A lot of schools print a checklist of things the parents are supposed to provide. The checklist in this article is for parents as well, but it is to help parents see if the school has provided what it is supposed to provide.
- Did the school tell you about its policy for fee waivers? Under the rules of the Iowa Department of Education, each school district must have a policy of waiving school fees for low-income families. The school has to tell parents about the policy. Was the fee waiver policy in the registration materials?
- If you applied for a waiver of school fees, did you get a written decision? If the school did not waive the fees, or said the policy did not cover the fee you wanted waived, does the school policy tell you about your right to appeal to the Iowa Department of Education?
- Does the school punish students only for unexcused absences? Some schools punish students for excused absences. For example, the school may say that after a certain number of absences from class, the grade will be lowered, or all credit lost. Punishing students for excused absences violates decisions of the Iowa Department of Education and other laws.
- Does the school allow someone besides a parent (such as a relative or family friend) to enroll the student in school, if the student is living with the relative or friend? Some schools require a guardianship before enrolling a student in school. Schools do not have the right to require a guardianship. The school can ask questions to find out if the student is really living in the school district.
- Does the school provide a free, appropriate public education to special education students, even when a student has been expelled or suspended? The school has to go on educating a special education child, even when the child is suspended or expelled. This is true even when what the child did was not related to his/her disability.
- Has the school made arrangements to communicate with parents who have limited abilities in English? Under Title VI, the school has to provide some interpretation and translation for parents with limited English proficiency.
If your school did not pass this checklist, and you want to get more information or ask for help with an education problem, call Iowa Legal Aid at 1-800-532-1275 to apply for help, or see Iowa Legal Aid's website, www.iowalegalaid.org.