Page ContentFLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SUMMARY OF PROCEDURAL SAFEGUARDS FOR GIFTED STUDENTS Revised December, 2004 Notice As a parent you have a right to receive a copy of the document which fully explains the procedural safeguards which are available to you. This document is to be provided to you upon your child's initial referral for evaluation, upon each notification of a meeting of the educational plan (EP) team regarding your child, and upon the filing of a request for a due process hearing. Q. PROCEDURAL SAFEGUARDS FOR STUDENTS IDENTIFIED AS GIFTED Procedural safeguards for students identified as gifted include adequate provisions for the following: 1. Prior written notice Written notice is provided to the parents of students identified as gifted within a reasonable time before the school district proposes or refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, educational placement of the student or the provision of a free appropriate public education. The notice is written in language understandable to the general public and is provided in the native language of the parent, unless it is clearly not feasible to do so. If the written notice is not available in the native language of the parent, the district takes the following steps to ensure that: a. the notice is translated orally or by other means to the parents in their native language or other mode of communication; b. the parents understand the notice; and, c. there is written evidence that these requirements have been met. 2. Content of written notice The prior written notice includes the following items: a. a description of the action proposed or refused by the school district, an explanation of why the district proposed or refused to take the action; and, a description of any options the school district considered and why these options were not selected; b. a description of each evaluation procedure, test, record, or report the school district used as the basis for the proposed or refused action; c. a description of any other factors relevant to the district's proposal or refusal; and, d. information on how the parents can obtain a copy of the procedural safeguards. 3. Written parental consent Parents are fully informed of all information relevant to the action for which consent is sought in their native language or other mode of communication, unless clearly not feasible to do so. Provisions for informed parental consent are as follows: a. Written parental consent is required, and attempts to obtain consent documented, before the school district may conduct a formal individual evaluation to determine eligibility for special programs for students who are gifted. b. Written parental consent is required, and attempts to secure consent documented, prior to the initial provision of services to students who are gifted. c. Parent consent is not required prior to a school district's review of existing data as part of an evaluation, or administering a test that is administered to all students, unless parental consent is required for all students. d. Parental consent is voluntary, and may be withdrawn at any time before the activity consented to takes place. e. Except for formal, individual evaluation and the initial provision of services to the student, consent may not be required as a condition of benefit. Any proposal or refusal to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement, or provision of FAPE after initial placement is not subject to parental consent but is subject to prior notice. 4. Due process hearings Due process hearings may be initiated by a parent or the district on the proposal or refusal to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of the student or the provision of a free appropriate public education. The hearing is conducted by an administrative law judge (ALJ) from the Division of Administrative Hearings, Department of Management Services, on behalf of the Department of Education. The ALJ conducts due process hearings in accordance with the Uniform Rules for Administrative Proceedings, Chapter 28-106, FAC, as deemed appropriate by the ALJ including, but not limited to: the authority of a party to request a pre-hearing conference; the authority of the ALJ to issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of records; and, the authority of the ALJ to issue summary rulings in absence of a disputed issue of material fact. Information and procedures related to the status of the student during proceedings; hearing rights of parties; duties and responsibilities of the ALJ, superintendent or designee, and the Department of Education; and, civil action can be found in section S of the General Procedures portion of this document. 5. Examination of records The parents of a student identified as gifted are afforded, in accordance with s.1002.22, F.S., and Rules 6A-6.03311(4) FAC, and 6A-1.0955, FAC, an opportunity to inspect and review their child's educational records with respect to the identification, evaluation, educational placement of the child, and the provision of a free appropriate public education to the child. The right to inspect and review education records includes the right to have a representative of the parent inspect and review the records. The parents of a student who is gifted are afforded the opportunity to participate in meetings with respect to the development of their child's educational plan. 6. Evaluations obtained at parent's expense If a parent obtains an independent evaluation at private expense which meets the requirements of an evaluation as identified in Rule 6A-6.0331, FAC, the district considers the results of the evaluation in any decision made with respect to the determination of eligibility for exceptional student education services. The results of independent evaluations may be used as evidence at any due process hearing authorized under Rule 6A-6.03313, FAC. If an administrative law judge requests an independent educational evaluation (IEE) as part of a due process hearing, it is provided at no cost to the parent. 7. State complaint procedure The Department of Education provides parents and other interested parties the opportunity to resolve allegations that the district has violated state requirements regarding the education of students who are gifted through state complaint procedures. Within 90 calendar days after the receipt date of the complaint, the Bureau will: a. carry out an on-site investigation, if the Department of Education determines that an investigation is necessary; b. give the complainant the opportunity to submit additional information, either orally or in writing, about the allegations of the complaint; c. review all relevant information and make an independent determination as to whether the school district is violating a requirement of state requirements regarding the education of students who are gifted; d. issue a written decision on the complaint that addresses each issue presented in the complaint and contains findings of fact, conclusions, and the reason(s) for the Department of Education's final decision; and, e. extend the 90-day timeline if exceptional circumstances exist with respect to a particular complaint. Procedures for the effective implementation of the Department of Education's final decision include technical assistance activities, negotiations, and corrective actions to achieve compliance. If a written complaint is received that is also the subject of a requested due process hearing, or the complaint contains multiple issues (of which one or more are part of that hearing), the Department of Education sets aside any part of the complaint that is being addressed in the due process hearing until the conclusion of the hearing. However, any issue in the complaint that is not a part of the due process action is resolved in compliance with the procedures described above. If an issue is raised in a complaint that has previously been decided in a due process hearing involving the same parties, the administrative law judge's decision is binding, and the Department of Education informs the complainant to that effect. The Department of Education is required to resolve any complaint that alleges that a school district has failed to implement a due process hearing decision. 8. Content and provision of procedural safeguards Parents are provided a copy of their procedural safeguards, which provides a full explanation of the provisions of Rule 6A-6.03313, FAC. The district provides the procedural safeguards, at a minimum, upon initial referral for evaluation, upon refusal to conduct an initial evaluation, upon notification of each EP meeting, and upon receipt of a request for a due process hearing. The content of the procedural safeguard notice informs the parents of provisions related to: a. prior notice; b. parental consent; c. opportunity to examine records; d. evaluations at public expense; e. state complaint procedures; and, f. due process hearings including provisions related to the status of students during proceedings and civil action. In any of the issues contained in a complaint are also the subject of a due process hearing, those issues will be set aside until the conclusion of the hearing. Other issues will be resolved using the procedures described above. If an issue is raised in a complaint that has previously been decided through a due process hearing, the Administrative Law Judge's decision is final and will not be re-considered through the complaint procedure. The destruction of student educational records, which may include exceptional student education information, is in accordance with the retention schedule approved by the Bureau of Archives and Records Management, State of Florida. The parent/guardian or eligible student has thirty (30) days after graduation, transfer or withdrawal to request a copy of student service and for/exceptional education information. All records will be destroyed five to seven years after student graduates.