Consenting to Evaluations:
Why your first instinct may not be correct
Part of a “Common Pitfalls” Series
Parents on occasion refuse to allow the School District to evaluate. Whether out of distrust, disagreement, or some other reason, this decision can ultimately harm your child’s chance of receiving a free, appropriate public education (FAPE). If you refuse an evaluation, the School District then has no current evaluation data to use to program for your child. If your child has not yet been found eligible for special education, an evaluation is necessary in order to determine whether your child qualifies for special education, and for the School District to then offer a program of supports and services to your student.
Even if you think the School District evaluation will not yield valuable or reliable data, you almost always should still allow them to evaluate. If you do, and you disagree with the ultimate evaluation, then you can request an independent educational evaluation, or IEE, at public expense. If you refuse to allow the District to evaluate, you cannot then request an IEE.
Finally, refusing to allow the School District to evaluate appears confrontational and obstructionist to a hearing officer. If you unfortunately have to file a complaint against your School District so that a hearing officer can decide your dispute, you will want to appear in the best possible light. Oftentimes, if parents refuse to allow the School District to evaluate, they are perceived as interfering with the District’s ability to program for the student, and it can diminish or prevent families from being able to seek relief for any violations by the District.