Overcoming Deceptions in Special Education Due Process!

So you finally decided to file for a due process hearing, after many years of special education personnel denying your child needed services! Good for you! Due process hearings are a way to resolve conflicts between parents and special education personnel. Though more formal than an IEP meeting, they can be effective in helping children receive a free appropriate public education.In my book Disability Deception I state that: Parents can win a due process hearing if they have developed concrete evidence in their child’s school record, are properly prepared by having documentation, and keep the case simple. Proper preparation for a due process hearing takes hundreds of hours, especially learning what is in each document that you will use at the due process hearing.But what happens when the hearing begins, and special education personnel lie or tell deceptions on the stand. What is a parent to do then? Below are 5 ways to over come lies and deceptions:1. This is when the hundreds of hours of preparation will all be worth it! If you know what is contained in each document that is being used at the due process, you can try and find written evidence that disputes what the person said. I love using the schools records against them!For example: If a school psychologist states that your child is making progress with their academics, you could bring out your child’s standardized testing, ask questions about the scores, and use that to prove that he or she is not being truthful. Do not accuse the person verbally, just let the hearing officer figure it out for him or herself.2. Sequestration of witnesses is important because it prevents school personnel from hearing each other testify. Ask questions of another school person to prove that the last person that testified was not truthful in their testimony.For example: In the above case you could ask your child’s teacher; what was Mary’s scores in her standardized Math and Reading Tests. If they were low, then the hearing officer will start thinking that the school psychologist was not being truthful.I often find that the school social worker is a positive person that really cares about children. If you have a good relationship with the school social worker you could subpoena him or her, and ask questions. In a couple of due process cases that I advocated at the school social worker testified for the parent and child, and not what the other school people were testifying to.3. Have another person perhaps a spouse or friend that has attended the IEP meetings with you, or heard conversations, testify about what really happened or what was said. Parents should never attend an IEP meeting alone for this very purpose; another person to testify as to what happened.4. Use what the special education personnel said in a resolution meeting to prove that what they are testifying to is a lie! While mediation is confidential, resolution meetings are not! Anything said by school personnel can be brought up at the due process.In the above example the school psychologist stated at the resolution meeting that she did expect Mary to perform better academically than she currently was, due to her normal IQ; this can be brought up at due process. You could say; at the resolution meeting did you state _______________. She may say she does not remember, but ask another attendee, they will probably tell the truth. Also you can state what was said when you testify.5. Last way to overcome lies is to ask very specific yes or no questions and do not ask for opinions. Do not allow the person to go on and on and try to spin the information. Use your documents to ask questions and get the person in a corner, so that they cannot change their testimony.Due process can be a rough process, but I believe parents can prevail for the good of their child’s education! Good luck!