Adam Dayan, Esq.
What does it mean when a CSE or CPSE indicates that your child is being "parentally placed" at a particular school? Many parents fall into this hidden trap unwittingly. Essentially this is a way for the committee to take an easy way out, a loophole, and avoid having to give you a program recommendation. Under federal law, a free appropriate public education means special education instruction (i.e. the program recommendation) and related services. When a parent says that she is keeping her child in a private school, the committee takes that to mean that you are not interested in a program and are only interested in related services. The team sometimes tries to coerce those magical words out of parents' mouths. They will indirectly ask you if your child is currently in such-and-such private school, and many parents innocently say yes, not knowing the ramifications of that kind of statement. The CPSE/CSE has a vested interest in doing this because (a) it reduces their obligation to the parent since they don't have to provide a program, and (b) it reduces the likelihood of a parent receiving tuition reimbursement for the private school program. In order to obtain tuition reimbursement, a parent has to show that the city failed to provide an appropriate public school program, and if the parent was always planning to keep her child in private school, it'll be difficult to argue convincingly that the parent was truly interested in something else. Parents should be aware of the difference between an IEP (Individualized Education Program) and an IESP (Individualized Education Services Program) and know that stating that your child is parentally placed could have important ramifications.