More recently, the Supreme Court rejected an argument that school districts should have the burden of persuasion due to an alleged advantage in information. The Court reasoned that Congress had leveled the playing field by requiring school districts to share information and protect the rights of parents by adopting the extensive system of procedural safeguards contained in the IDEA. Schaffer v. Weast 546 U.S. 49, 126 S.Ct. 528, 44 IDELR 150 (2005).
Section 615 of the IDEA is entitled “Procedural Safeguards,” and most procedural safeguards for parents are contained in that section. However, some procedural safeguards are found in other sections of the Act or in the federal regulations. In addition to the required Notice of Procedural Safeguards, Section 615(d), there are a number of specific procedural safeguards. The specific procedural safeguards include the following: independent educational evaluation , Section 615 (b)(1) and 34 C.F.R. Section 300.502; prior written notice, sections 615(b)(3)-(4) and (c)(1); informed parental consent, Section 614 (a)(1)(D); access to educational records, Section 615(b)(1); state complaints, 34 CFR Section 300.151, et seq; mediation, Section 615(e); child’s placement during a challenge or “stay put,” Section 615 (j); procedures for an interim alternative education, Section 615 (k); unilateral placement in private school when FAPE in issue, Section 612 (a)(10)(C); due process hearings, Section 615 (f); if a two tiered system, state appeals, Section 615 (q); civil actions appealing a due process decision, Section 615 (q); and attorneys’ fees, Section 615 (i)(C)(3).