Since 2018, MoDE Foundation has empowered individuals receiving special education services and their families through grassroots advocacy and by promoting inclusivity.

MoDE Foundation is represented by one registered lobbyist in Jefferson City, as well as many volunteer MoDE Foundation advocates. We believe anyone can advocate and should advocate. Often it is even a family affair.

Parental Consent to implement or make significant changes to IEPs

When a student has disabilities, a team consisting of the parents or guardians, teachers, administrators, specialists, and school psychologists work together to develop an IEP (Individualized Education Program) for the student. Parents or guardians are required to sign the IEP so that it can go into effect. Even more, once the IEP is in effect, the team may decide to make changes to the existing IEP. While developing and maintaining the IEP should be a collaborative effort, there are times the parents or guardians do not agree with what the school decides regarding the implementation or changes being made. While they may choose not to sign consent, it still goes into effect after ten days. Parents or guardians have only ten days to file due process to stop the IEP from being implemented or changed. Some states have passed laws requiring parental consent for changes made to the IEP. By making sure all parties are in agreement, this law encourages collaboration by the IEP team.

Burden of Proof

When parents or guardians and the IEP team cannot come to an agreement on the IEP, the parents or guardians may choose to file due process. In the state of Missouri, the burden of proof that IDEA requirements have not been met is on the parents. Many states rightfully place the burden of proof on the school districts, since the school is required by law to meet the IDEA requirement of providing FAPE (free and appropriate public education) for the student.

The Supreme Court ruled that while the burden of proof lies on the parents or guardian, states may pass laws to change this. Currently nine states and Washington, DC, have laws that place the Burden of Proof on the school system.

“Stay Put” through Mediation

When there is a disagreement with the IEP, there are various methods of resolution available to the team. If a change is being made to an IEP that the family does not agree with, they only have 10 days before that change goes into effect. In those 10 days, the family must file a Due Process complaint to invoke something called “stay put.” This is a protective measure that will pause changes from being made until a hearing officer can make a ruling on the disagreement.

Due Process is currently the only resolution method that grants “stay put” provisions. Due Process can also be expensive, drawn out, and difficult. Mediation is a faster and completely free option to resolve conflict, but it is not utilized as often because families are seeking that “stay put” method of protection that they can only attain through Due Process. By allowing “stay put” to be invoked through mediation, families and schools can avoid expensive legal proceedings of Due Process and quickly resolve disagreements.

Seclusion & Restraint

  • When there is a disagreement with the IEP, there are various methods of resolution available to the team. If a change is being made to an IEP that the family does not agree with, they only have 10 days before that change goes into effect. In those 10 days, the family must file a Due Process complaint to invoke something called “stay put.” This is a protective measure that will pause changes from being made until a hearing officer can make a ruling on the disagreement.

Due Process is currently the only resolution method that grants “stay put” provisions. Due Process can also be expensive, drawn out, and difficult. Mediation is a faster and completely free option to resolve conflict, but it is not utilized as often because families are seeking that “stay put” method of protection that they can only attain through Due Process. By allowing “stay put” to be invoked through mediation, families and schools can avoid expensive legal proceedings of Due Process and quickly resolve disagreements.

More Info: Seclusion & Restraint

Past Legislative Initiatives

Missouri is a one-party consent recording state, meaning that only one person in a conversation needs to know that the conversation is being recorded for it to be legal to record. For years, the large majority of Missouri schools prohibited parents and guardians from recording meetings related to special education, including their children’s IEP and 504 meetings. Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin and Rep. Chuck Basye sponsored legislation which would allow parents to record meetings and protected teachers from retaliation. This legislation was amended onto HB432 and signed into law on July 14, 2021. Now school districts cannot prohibit parents and guardians from recording IEP meetings. Read the language of the new law below.