Q: A parent has requested an evaluation pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) after revoking consent for the student’s special education services last year. Does the parent retain the right to request the evaluation after revoking consent?
A: Yes. Revocation of consent does not eliminate the parent’s right to request an evaluation pursuant to the IDEA. The district must treat the parent’s request as a request for an initial evaluation. If eligibility is established once again through the formal evaluation process, special education services may resume for the student despite the parent’s previous revocation of consent.
The IDEA requires parental consent for the provision of special education services; however, that consent may be revoked at any time. See 34 C.F.R. §§ 300.9(c)(3), 300.300(b)(4). When a parent revokes consent for special education, the district must provide “prior written notice” to the parent explaining the raimifications of the revocation and cease providing services. Once this notice is provided, the student is no longer an “eligible child with a disability” entitled to the IDEA’s protections and is considered a general education student for all intents and purposes. Although eligibility terminates upon revocation of consent, a parent retains the right to request an evaluation at any time.
Here, the district must treat the parent’s request as a request for an initial evaluation because there is no presumption that the student still qualifies as a “child with a disability” under the IDEA following the revocation of consent for services. If the district completes the evaluation and eligibility is established, the student is entitled to receive special education services from the district once again despite the parent’s previous revocation of consent. As always, contact your school attorney with specific questions regarding eligibility for special education services.