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June 26, 2006
Family Declines Special Ed Services

The Willow* family, who are Home School Legal Defense Association members in the Region Nine Education Service District, recently decided to remove their daughter from the special education program she was participating in at the local public school. Mr. and Mrs. Willow contacted HSLDA seeking help in removing their daughter from the public school program and looking to find out what their options might be.

HSLDA staff explained that the Willows could legally decline services from the public school and meet their daughter’s special education needs privately. While the local school officials had not attempted to pressure Mr. and Mrs. Willow to put their daughter into the public school full-time, they did not believe the public special education setting was the best for their daughter. The entanglement with the public school was also troubling to Mr. and Mrs. Willow, especially since the school had recently requested to observe their child at home.

HSLDA Staff Attorney Tj Schmidt contacted the school officials and informed them that Mr. and Mrs. Willow were declining the school special education services and instead would have their daughter’s needs met through a privately developed plan (PDP).

Under Oregon law a parent can create a PDP team with one or more private service providers to address their child’s special education needs. While not required in Oregon to homeschool a special needs child, forming a PDP would enable an alternative method of evaluation instead of a standardized achievement test. In other words, the PDP team would conduct the evaluation at the end of the third, fifth, eighth, and tenth year to demonstrate satisfactory education progress.

HSLDA expects the Willow family to be able to provide for their daughter's special education needs privately with no interference from the local public school.

* Name changed to protect family’s privacy.