What is a School District's Obligation to Implement an IEP?
A school district must implement all components of a child's IEP. (20 U.S.C. § 1414(d)(2)(A); 34 C.F.R. § 300.323(c).) However, a school district must implement only those portions of the IEP which the child's parents have consented to. School districts cannot implement any portion of the IEP to which parents have not agreed. And, more importantly, school districts will not held liable for not implementing a portion of an IEP if the child's parents have withheld consent to a proposed component.
What Happens if a School District Doesn't Implement a Student's IEP?
A school district's failure to implement any component of a child's IEP may result in a denial of a free appropriate public education ("FAPE"), but only when the failure is determined to be material. A material deviation occurs when the programs, supports, or services fall significantly short of those required by the child's IEP. In order to show that the school district materially deviated from the IEP, parents do not necessarily have to show that their child suffered educational harm.
Determining Whether a Failure to Implement the IEP is a Material Deviation
There is no bright-line rule so the determination must be made based on the specific facts. To have your questions answered regarding whether your child's school district materially deviated from the IEP, contact a special education attorney who has experience dealing with this nuanced area of special education law.