What if I find a private school that can do a better job teaching my child than the public school can?

This is an important point because a school district does not have an obligation to provide the best, most suitable learning environment. Paraphrasing from a famous case on this issue, a school district does not have to provide every service that loving parents would find desirable for their children. All loving parents want what is best for their kids. Unfortunately, the law does not require school districts to satisfy that lofty threshold.

A school district must provide an appropriate educational environment. “Better,” “best,” “ideal,” and “optimal” do not really have a place in this discussion. Parents and school districts frequently differ about what constitutes an appropriate program. If parents and the school district cannot agree about what that means, the parents are entitled to request an impartial hearing and that determination will be made by an impartial hearing officer.

NOTE: The above distinction between “best” and “appropriate” is just one example of the significant implications of using subtly different language. This applies to other areas as well and knowing about what language to use and avoid is another important reason to consult with an attorney experienced in this field. Making certain statements or taking certain positions without consulting an attorney first could result in rights being forfeited.

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