Administrative Code

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

Virginia Administrative Code
Title 8. Education
Agency 20. State Board Of Education
Chapter 81. Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia
12/5/2020

8VAC20-81-170. Procedural safeguards.

A. Opportunity to examine records; parent participation. (34 CFR 300.322(e), 34 CFR 300.500 and 34 CFR 300.501; 8VAC20-150)

1. Procedural safeguards. Each local educational agency shall establish, maintain, and implement procedural safeguards as follows:

a. The parent(s) of a child with a disability shall be afforded an opportunity to:

(1) Inspect and review all education records with respect to (i) the identification, evaluation, and educational placement of the child; and (ii) the provision of a free appropriate public education to the child.

(2) Participate in meetings with respect to the identification, evaluation, and educational placement of the child and the provision of a free appropriate public education to the child.

b. Parent participation in meetings.

(1) Each local educational agency shall provide notice to ensure that the parent(s) of a child with a disability has the opportunity to participate in meetings described in subdivision 1 a (2) of this subsection, including notifying the parent(s) of the meeting early enough to ensure that the parent has an opportunity to participate. The notice shall:

(a) Indicate the purpose, date, time, and location of the meeting and who will be in attendance;

(b) Inform the parent(s) that at their discretion or at the discretion of the local educational agency, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel, as appropriate, may participate in meetings with respect to the identification, evaluation, and educational placement of the child and the provision of a free appropriate public education to the child;

(c) Inform the parent that the determination of the knowledge or special expertise shall be made by the party who invited the individual; and

(d) Inform the parent(s), in the case of a child who was previously served under Part C that an invitation to the initial IEP team meeting shall, at the request of the parent, be sent to the Part C service coordinator or other representatives of Part C to assist with the smooth transition of services.

(2) A meeting does not include informal or unscheduled conversations involving local educational agency personnel and conversations on issues such as teaching methodology, lesson plans, or coordination of service provision if those issues are not addressed in the child's IEP. A meeting also does not include preparatory activities that local educational agency personnel engage in to develop a proposal or a response to a parent proposal that will be discussed at a later meeting.

c. Parent involvement in placement decisions.

(1) Each local educational agency shall ensure that a parent(s) of each child with a disability is a member of the IEP team that makes decisions on the educational placement of their child or any Comprehensive Services Act team that makes decisions on the educational placement of their child.

(2) In implementing the requirements of subdivision 1 c (1) of this subsection, the local educational agency shall provide notice in accordance with the requirements of 8VAC20-81-110 E.

(3) If neither parent can participate in a meeting in which a decision is to be made relating to the educational placement of their child, the local educational agency shall use other methods to ensure their participation, including individual or conference telephone calls, or video conferencing.

(4) A placement decision may be made by the IEP or Comprehensive Services Act team without the involvement of the parent(s) if the local educational agency is unable to obtain the parents' participation in the decision. In this case, the local educational agency shall have a record of its attempt to ensure the parents' involvement.

(5) The local educational agency shall take whatever action is necessary to ensure that the parent(s) understand and are able to participate in, any group discussions relating to the educational placement of their child, including arranging for an interpreter for a parent(s) with deafness, or whose native language is other than English.

(6) The exception to the IEP team determination regarding placement is with disciplinary actions involving interim alternative education settings for 45-day removals under 8VAC20-81-160 D 6 a. (34 CFR 300.530(f)(2) and (g))

B. Independent educational evaluation.

1. General. (34 CFR 300.502(a))

a. The parent(s) of a child with a disability shall have the right to obtain an independent educational evaluation of the child.

b. The local educational agency shall provide to the parent(s) of a child with a disability, upon request for an independent educational evaluation, information about where an independent educational evaluation may be obtained and the applicable criteria for independent educational evaluations.

2. Parental right to evaluation at public expense. (34 CFR 300.502(b) and (e))

a. The parent(s) has the right to an independent educational evaluation at public expense if the parent(s) disagrees with an evaluation component obtained by the local educational agency.

b. If the parent(s) requests an independent educational evaluation at public expense, the local educational agency shall, without unnecessary delay, either:

(1) Initiate a due process hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate; or

(2) Ensure that an independent educational evaluation is provided at public expense, unless the local educational agency demonstrates in a due process hearing that the evaluation obtained by the parent(s) does not meet the local educational agency's criteria.

c. If the local educational agency initiates a due process hearing and the final decision is that the local educational agency's evaluation is appropriate, the parent(s) still has the right to an independent educational evaluation, but not at public expense.

d. If the parent(s) requests an independent educational evaluation, the local educational agency may ask the reasons for the parent's objection to the public evaluation. However, the explanation by the parent(s) may not be required and the local educational agency may not unreasonably delay either providing the independent educational evaluation at public expense or initiating a due process hearing to defend the public evaluation.

e. A parent is entitled to only one independent educational evaluation at public expense each time the public educational agency conducts an evaluation component with which the parent disagrees.

f. If an independent educational evaluation is at public expense, the criteria under which the evaluation is obtained, including the location of the evaluation and the qualifications of the examiner, shall be the same as the criteria that the local educational agency uses when it initiates an evaluation, to the extent those criteria are consistent with the parent's right to an independent educational evaluation. Except for the criteria, a local educational agency may not impose conditions or timelines related to obtaining an independent educational evaluation at public expense.

3. Parent-initiated evaluations. If the parent obtains an independent educational evaluation at public expense or shares with the local educational agency an evaluation obtained at private expense, the results of the evaluation: (34 CFR 300.502(c))

a. Shall be considered by the local educational agency, if it meets local educational agency criteria, in any decision regarding the provision of a free appropriate public education to the child; and

b. May be presented by any party as evidence at a hearing under 8VAC20-81-210.

4. Requests for evaluations by special education hearing officers. If a special education hearing officer requests an independent educational evaluation for an evaluation component, as part of a hearing on a due process complaint, the cost of the evaluation shall be at public expense. (34 CFR 300.502(d))

C. Prior written notice by the local educational agency; content of notice.

1. Prior written notice shall be given to the parent(s) of a child with a disability within a reasonable time before the local educational agency: (34 CFR 300.503(a))

a. Proposes to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement (including graduation with a standard or advanced studies diploma) of the child, or the provision of a free appropriate public education for the child; or

b. Refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of the child, or the provision of a free appropriate public education for the child.

2. The notice shall include: (34 CFR 300.503(b))

a. A description of the action proposed or refused by the local educational agency;

b. An explanation of why the local educational agency proposes or refuses to take the action;

c. A description of any other options the IEP team considered and the reasons for the rejection of those options;

d. A description of each evaluation procedure, assessment, record, or report the local educational agency used as a basis for the proposed or refused action;

e. A description of any other factors that are relevant to the local educational agency's proposal or refusal;

f. A statement that the parent(s) of a child with a disability have protection under the procedural safeguards of this chapter and, if the notice is not an initial referral for evaluation, the means by which a copy of a description of the procedural safeguards can be obtained; and

g. Sources for the parent(s) to contact in order to obtain assistance in understanding the provisions of this section.

3. a. The notice shall be: (i) written in language understandable to the general public; and (ii) provided in the native language of the parent(s) or other mode of communication used by the parent(s), unless it is clearly not feasible to do so. (34 CFR 300.503(c))

b. If the native language or other mode of communication of the parent(s) is not a written language, the local educational agency shall take steps to ensure that:

(1) The notice is translated orally or by other means to the parent(s) in their native language or other mode of communication;

(2) The parent(s) understand the content of the notice; and

(3) There is written evidence that the requirements of subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subdivision have been met.

D. Procedural safeguards notice. (34 CFR 300.504)

1. A copy of the procedural safeguards available to the parent(s) of a child with a disability shall be given to the parent(s) by the local educational agency only one time a school year, except that a copy shall be given to the parent(s) upon:

a. Initial referral for or parent request for evaluation;

b. If the parent requests an additional copy;

c. Receipt of the first state complaint during a school year;

d. Receipt of the first request for a due process hearing during a school year; and

e. On the date on which the decision is made to make a disciplinary removal that constitutes a change in placement because of a violation of a code of student conduct.

2. The local educational agency may place a current copy of the procedural safeguards notice on its Internet website if a website exists, but the local educational agency does not meet its obligation under subdivision 1 of this subsection by directing the parent to the website. The local educational agency shall offer the parent(s) a printed copy of the procedural safeguards notice in accordance with subdivision 1 of this subsection.

3. The procedural safeguards notice shall include a full explanation of all of the procedural safeguards available relating to:

a. Independent educational evaluation;

b. Prior written notice;

c. Parental consent;

d. Access to educational records;

e. Opportunity to present and resolve complaints through the due process procedures;

f. The availability of mediation;

g. The child's placement during pendency of due process proceedings;

h. Procedures for students who are subject to placement in an interim alternative educational setting;

i. Requirements for unilateral placement by parents of children in private schools at public expense;

j. Due process hearings, including requirements for disclosure of evaluation results and recommendations;

k. Civil actions, including the time period in which to file those actions;

l. Attorneys' fees; and

m. The opportunity to present and resolve complaints through the state complaint procedures, including:

(1) The time period in which to file a complaint;

(2) The opportunity for the local educational agency to resolve the complaint; and

(3) The difference between the due process and the state complaint procedures, including the applicable jurisdiction, potential issues, and timelines for each process.

4. The notice required under this subsection shall meet the prior notice requirements regarding understandable language in subdivision C 3 of this section.

E. Parental consent.

1. Required parental consent. Informed parental consent is required before:

a. Conducting an initial evaluation or reevaluation, including a functional behavioral assessment if such assessment is not a review of existing data conducted at an IEP meeting; (34 CFR 300.300(a)(1)(i))

b. An initial eligibility determination or any change in categorical identification;

c. Initial provision of special education and related services to a child with a disability; (34 CFR 300.300(b)(1))

d. Any revision to the child's IEP services;

e. Any partial or complete termination of special education and related services, except for graduation with a standard or advance studies diploma;

f. The provision of a free appropriate public education to children with disabilities who transfer between public agencies in Virginia or transfer to Virginia from another state in accordance with 8VAC20-81-120;

g. Accessing a child's public benefits or insurance or private insurance proceeds in accordance with subsection F of this section; and (34 CFR 300.154)

h. Inviting to an IEP meeting a representative of any participating agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for secondary transition services. (34 CFR 300.321(b)(3))

2. Parental consent not required. Parental consent is not required before:

a. Review of existing data as part of an evaluation or a reevaluation, including a functional behavioral assessment; (34 CFR 300.300(d)(1))

b. Administration of a test or other evaluation that is administered to all children unless, before administration of that test or evaluation, consent is required of the parent(s) of all children; (34 CFR 300.300(d)(1))

c. The screening of a student by a teacher or specialist to determine appropriate instructional strategies for curriculum implementation; (34 CFR 300.302)

d. Administration of a test or other evaluation that is used to measure progress on the child's IEP goals and is included in the child's IEP;

e. A teacher's or related service provider's observations or ongoing classroom evaluations;

f. Conducting an initial evaluation of a child who is a ward of the state and who is not residing with his parent(s) if: (34 CFR 300.300(a)(2))

(1) Despite reasonable efforts, the local educational agency cannot discover the whereabouts of the parent(s);

(2) The parent's rights have been terminated; or

(3) The rights of the parent(s) to make educational decisions have been subrogated by a judge and an individual appointed by the judge to represent the child has consented to the initial evaluation.

3. Revoking consent.

a. If at any time subsequent to the initial provision of special education and related services the parent revokes consent in writing for the continued provision of special education and related services: (34 CFR 300.300(b)(4))

(1) The local educational agency may not continue to provide special education and related services to the child, but must provide prior written notice in accordance with 8VAC20-81-170 C before ceasing the provision of special education and related services;

(2) The local educational agency may not use mediation or due process hearing procedures to obtain parental consent, or a ruling that the services may be provided to the child;

(3) The local educational agency's failure to provide the special education and related services to the child will not be considered a violation of the requirement to provide FAPE; and

(4) The local educational agency is not required to convene an IEP meeting or to develop an IEP for the child for the further provision of special education and related services.

b. If a parent revokes consent, that revocation is not retroactive in accordance with the definition of "consent" at 8VAC20-81-10.

4. Refusing consent.

a. If the parent(s) refuses consent for initial evaluation or a reevaluation, the local educational agency may, but is not required to, use mediation or due process hearing procedures to pursue the evaluation. The local educational agency does not violate its obligations under this chapter if it declines to pursue the evaluation. (34 CFR 300.300(a)(3) and (c)(1))

b. If the parent(s) refuses to consent to the initial provision of special education and related services: (34 CFR 300.300(b)(3))

(1) The local educational agency may not use mediation or due process hearing procedures to obtain parental consent, or a ruling that the services may be provided to the child;

(2) The local educational agency's failure to provide the special education and related services to the child for which consent is requested is not considered a violation of the requirement to provide FAPE; and

(3) The local educational agency is not required to convene an IEP meeting or to develop an IEP for the child for the special education and related services for which the local educational agency requests consent. However, the local educational agency may convene an IEP meeting and develop an IEP to inform the parent about the services that may be provided with parental consent.

c. If the parent(s) of a parentally placed private school child refuses consent for an initial evaluation or a reevaluation, the local educational agency: (34 CFR 300.300(d)(4))

(1) May not use mediation or due process hearing procedures to obtain parental consent, or a ruling that the evaluation of the child may be completed; and

(2) Is not required to consider the child as eligible for equitable provision of services in accordance with 8VAC20-81-150.

d. A local educational agency may not use a parent's refusal to consent to one service or activity to deny the parent(s) or child any other service, benefit, or activity of the local educational agency, except as provided by this chapter. (34 CFR 300.300(d)(3))

5. Withholding consent.

a. If the parent(s) fails to respond to a request to consent for an initial evaluation, the local educational agency may, but is not required to, use mediation or due process hearing procedures to pursue the evaluation. The local educational agency does not violate its obligations under this chapter if it declines to pursue the evaluation. (34 CFR 300.300(a)(3) and (c)(1))

b. Informed parental consent need not be obtained for reevaluation if the local educational agency can demonstrate that it has taken reasonable measures to obtain that consent, and the child's parent(s) has failed to respond. (34 CFR 300.300(c)(2))

c. If the parent(s) fails to respond to a request to provide consent for the initial provision of special education and related services, the local educational agency follows the provisions of subdivision 4 b of this subsection. (34 CFR 300.300(b)(3) and (4))

6. Consent for initial evaluation may not be construed as consent for initial provision of special education and related services. (34 CFR 300.300(a)(1)(ii))

7. The local educational agency shall make reasonable efforts to obtain informed parental consent for an initial evaluation and the initial provision of special education and related services. (34 CFR 300.300(a)(1)(iii) and (b)(2))

8. To meet the reasonable measures requirement of this section, the local educational agency shall have a record of its attempts to secure the consent, such as: (34 CFR 300.322(d) and 34 CFR 300.300(a), (b), (c) and (d)(5))

a. Detailed records of telephone calls made or attempted and the results of those calls;

b. Copies of correspondence (written, electronic, or facsimile) sent to the parent(s) and any responses received; and

c. Detailed records of visits made to the parent's home or place of employment and the results of those visits.

F. Parental rights regarding use of public or private insurance. Each local educational agency using Medicaid or other public benefits or insurance programs to pay for services required under this chapter, as permitted under the public insurance program, and each local educational agency using private insurance to pay for services required under this chapter, shall provide notice to the parent(s) and obtain informed parental consent in accordance with 8VAC20-81-300. (34 CFR 300.154)

G. Confidentiality of information.

1. Access rights. (34 CFR 300.613)

a. The local educational agency shall permit the parent(s) to inspect and review any education records relating to their children that are collected, maintained, or used by the local educational agency under this chapter. The local educational agency shall comply with a request without unnecessary delay and before any meeting regarding an IEP or any hearing in accordance with 8VAC20-81-160 and 8VAC20-81-210, or resolution session in accordance with 8VAC20-81-210, and in no case more than 45 calendar days after the request has been made.

b. The right to inspect and review education records under this section includes:

(1) The right to a response from the local educational agency to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of the records;

(2) The right to request that the local educational agency provide copies of the records containing the information if failure to provide those copies would effectively prevent the parent from exercising the right to inspect and review the records; and

(3) The right to have a representative of the parent inspect and review the records.

c. A local educational agency may presume that a parent has authority to inspect and review records relating to the parent's children unless the local educational agency has been provided a copy of a judicial order or decree, or other legally binding documentation, that the parent does not have the authority under applicable Virginia law governing such matters as guardianship, separation, and divorce.

2. Record of access. Each local educational agency shall keep a record of parties, except parents and authorized employees of the local educational agency, obtaining access to education records collected, maintained, or used under Part B of the Act, including the name of the party, the date of access, and the purpose for which the party is authorized to use the records. (34 CFR 300.614)

3. Record on more than one child. If any education record includes information on more than one child, the parent(s) of those children have the right to inspect and review only the information relating to their child or to be informed of the specific information requested. (34 CFR 300.615)

4. List of types and locations of information. Each local educational agency shall provide a parent(s) on request a list of the types and locations of education records collected, maintained, or used by the local educational agency. (34 CFR 300.616)

5. Fees. (34 CFR 300.617)

a. Each local educational agency may charge a fee for copies of records that are made for a parent(s) under this chapter if the fee does not effectively prevent the parent(s) from exercising their right to inspect and review those records.

b. A local educational agency may not charge a fee to search for or to retrieve information under this section.

c. A local educational agency may not charge a fee for copying a child's IEP that is required to be provided to the parent(s) in accordance with 8VAC20-81-110 E 7.

6. Amendment of records at parent's request. (34 CFR 300.618)

a. A parent(s) who believes that information in the education records collected, maintained, or used under this chapter is inaccurate or misleading or violates the privacy or other rights of the child may request the local educational agency that maintains the information to amend the information.

b. The local educational agency shall decide whether to amend the information in accordance with the request within a reasonable period of time of receipt of the request.

c. If the local educational agency decides to refuse to amend the information in accordance with the request, it shall inform the parent(s) of the refusal and advise the parent(s) of the right to a hearing under subdivision 7 of this subsection.

7. Opportunity for a hearing. The local educational agency shall provide on request an opportunity for a hearing to challenge information in education records to ensure that it is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of the child. (34 CFR 300.619)

8. Results of hearing. (34 CFR 300.620)

a. If, as a result of the hearing, the local educational agency decides that the information is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of the child, it shall amend the information accordingly and so inform the parent in writing.

b. If, as a result of the hearing, the local educational agency decides that the information is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of the child, it shall inform the parent of the right to place in the child's education records a statement commenting on the information or setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decision of the agency.

c. Any explanation placed in the records of the child under this section shall:

(1) Be maintained by the local educational agency as part of the records of the child as long as the record or contested portion is maintained by the local educational agency; and

(2) If the records of the child or the contested portion is disclosed by the local educational agency to any party, the explanation shall also be disclosed to the party.

9. Hearing procedures. A hearing held under subdivision 7 of this subsection shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures under 34 CFR 99.22 of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. (20 USC § 1232g; 34 CFR 300.621)

a. The local educational agency may:

(1) Develop local procedures for such a hearing process; or

(2) Obtain a hearing officer from the Supreme Court of Virginia's special education hearing officer list in accordance with the provisions of 8VAC20-81-210 H.

10. Consent. (34 CFR 300.32; 34 CFR 300.622)

a. Parental consent shall be obtained before personally identifiable information is disclosed to anyone other than officials of the local educational agency unless the information is contained in the education records, and the disclosure is authorized under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. (20 USC § 1232g).

b. Parental consent is not required before personally identifiable information is disclosed to officials of the local educational agencies collecting, maintaining, or using personally identifiable information under this chapter, except:

(1) Parental consent, or the consent of a child who has reached the age of majority, shall be obtained before personally identifiable information is released to officials of any agency or institution providing or paying for transition services.

(2) If a child is enrolled, or is going to enroll in a private school that is not located in the local educational agency where the parent(s) resides, parental consent shall be obtained before any personally identifiable information about the child is released between officials in the local educational agency where the private school is located, and officials in the local educational agency where the parent(s) resides.

11. Safeguards. (34 CFR 300.623)

a. Each local educational agency shall protect the confidentiality of personally identifiable information at collection, storage, disclosure, and destruction stages.

b. Each local educational agency shall ensure that electronic communications via emails or facsimiles regarding any matter associated with the child, including matters related to IEP meetings, disciplinary actions, or service delivery, be part of the child's educational record.

c. One official at each local educational agency shall assume responsibility for ensuring the confidentiality of any personally identifiable information.

d. All persons collecting, maintaining, or using personally identifiable information shall receive training or instruction on Virginia's policies and procedures for ensuring confidentiality of the information.

e. Each local educational agency shall maintain for public inspection a current listing of the names and positions of those employees within the agency who may have access to personally identifiable information.

12. Destruction of information. (34 CFR 300.624)

a. The local educational agency shall inform parents when personally identifiable information collected, maintained, or used under this chapter is no longer needed to provide educational services to the child.

b. This information shall be destroyed at the request of the parents. However, a permanent record of a student's name, address, phone number, grades, attendance record, classes attended, grade level completed, and year completed shall be maintained without time limitation.

c. The local educational agency shall comply with the Records Retention and Disposition Schedule of the Library of Virginia.

H. Electronic mail. If the local educational agency makes the option available, parent(s) of a child with a disability may elect to receive prior written notice, the procedural safeguards notice, and the notice of a request for due process, by electronic mail. (34 CFR 300.505)

I. Electronic signature. If an electronically filed document contains an electronic signature, the electronic signature has the legal effect and enforceability of an original signature. An electronic signature is an electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record. (Chapter 42.1 (§ 59.1-479 et seq.) of Title 59.1 of the Code of Virginia)

J. Audio and video recording.

1. The local educational agency shall permit the use of audio recording devices at meetings convened to determine a child's eligibility under 8VAC20-81-80; to develop, review, or revise the child's IEP under 8VAC20-81-110 F; and to review discipline matters under 8VAC20-81-160 D. The parent(s) shall inform the local educational agency before the meeting in writing, unless the parents cannot write in English, that they will be audio recording the meeting. If the parent(s) does not inform the local educational agency, the parent(s) shall provide the local educational agency with a copy of the audio recording. The parent(s) shall provide their own audio equipment and materials for audio recording. If the local educational agency audio records meetings or receives a copy of an audio recording from the parent(s), the audio recording becomes a part of the child's educational record.

2. The local educational agency may have policies that prohibit, limit, or otherwise regulate the use of:

a. Video recording devices at meetings convened pursuant to this chapter; or

b. Audio or video recording devices at meetings other than those meetings identified in subdivision 1 of this subsection.

3. These policies shall:

a. Stipulate that the recordings become part of the child's educational record;

b. Ensure that the policy is uniformly applied; and

c. If the policy prohibits the use of the devices, the policy shall provide for exceptions if they are necessary to ensure that the parent(s) understands the IEP, the special education process, or to implement other parental rights guaranteed under this chapter.

Statutory Authority

§§ 22.1-16 and 22.1-214 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 25, Issue 21, eff. July 7, 2009; amended, Virginia Register Volume 26, Issue 08, eff. January 25, 2010.

Website addresses provided in the Virginia Administrative Code to documents incorporated by reference are for the reader's convenience only, may not necessarily be active or current, and should not be relied upon. To ensure the information incorporated by reference is accurate, the reader is encouraged to use the source document described in the regulation.

As a service to the public, the Virginia Administrative Code is provided online by the Virginia General Assembly. We are unable to answer legal questions or respond to requests for legal advice, including application of law to specific fact. To understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult an attorney.