Know Your Rights

How to Work with Schools to Ensure Equal Education Opportunities

Schools do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, or disability in providing education services, activities, and programs, including vocational programs, in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.  Schools also shall provide a free, appropriate public education and necessary related services to all children with disabilities residing within their district, as required under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (hereinafter “IDEA”), and implementing provisions in Montana law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Free and Appropriate Public Education

FAPE: What does Free and Appropriate Public Education really mean?  
Understood aims to give parents a direct path to the support they need most to make them feel more confident and capable, less frustrated and alone. This site provides access to expert advice, practical information, resources, and tips to help parents work constructively with schools, professionals, and others in their community.


How IDEA Protects You and Your Child
This site focuses on the purpose of IDEA, potential services under IDEA, who is eligible, steps to accessing services and getting and individualized education program, and the role of the parents throughout the process.

Parental Rights under IDEA
This site provides information on the procedural safeguards that are designed to protect the rights of parents and their child with a disability and, at the same time, give families and school systems several mechanisms by which to resolve their disputes. The site focuses on eight safeguards that are relevant to the majority of parents.

PLANS that can help:

Individualized Education Programs (IEP) vs 504 Plans
This site looks at the differences between IEPs and 504 Plans. A table includes basic descriptions, eligibility, laws that apply, who develops the plans, and how parents and schools work together on issues surrounding the plans.

Individualized health care plans- Parent Center: Champions for Children with Disabilities (funded by the U.S. Department of Education)

Difference between Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) and Individualized Education Program (IEP)- Pacer Center

In Montana Schools

Montana Special Education Guidance- MT OPI
The Special Education Department within the Montana Office of Public Instruction houses information on state laws and regulations, training and curriculum resources for teachers, parent resources, administrative guidance, and links to other special education resources.