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Rochelle’s Special Education Tips
Form Over Substance
If it has not been clear before, it should be clear by now: When the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) investigates a State complaint, it will ding a school system based on documentation. MSDE investigators will not accept verbal explanations that contradict the documentation. Therefore, it is more important than ever that your Prior Written Notice (PWN) be complete. Do not leave out the summary of important conversations. Hearing Officers in due process hearings have also been known to defer to the documentation over verbal explanations. It does not matter that what was written was obviously inaccurate based on a reality check. Moral of the story: Check your PWN before you send it out. Ask, would someone who was not at the meeting be able to explain what occurred at the meeting?
Rochelle’s Special Education Tips (“Tips”) are designed to be helpful and thought provoking, but should not be considered legal advice as they may not be accurate for use in all situations. Tips are based on my opinions and positions in accordance with federal and Maryland law and my over 35 years of experience in the special education legal field. – Rochelle S. Eisenberg, Esquire
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