Did you know that DC schools must allow parents to observe their child’s virtual classes?
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires schools to allow parents to schedule a formal class observation visit. These federal laws mandate that parents have the right to schedule an observation as part of their meaningful participation in determining their child’s educational placement. These observations can help parents gather key information about their child’s behavior, classroom dynamics, and the appropriateness of a placement. To schedule an observation, DCPS parents must submit an Observation Designee Form, provided upon request from their child’s school. Charter parents should notify their LEA in writing, or use their LEA’s own form.
A recent hearing officer decision in DC clarifies that this right to observation extends to virtual classrooms. While schools are able to require authorization forms and confidentiality agreements before allowing a parent to attend a virtual class, DC area schools cannot ultimately prohibit a parent from observing a class session without denying FAPE.
The student in this decision attends a DCPS school and has an IEP to accommodate an ADHD diagnosis. When the student’s parents requested to observe a specialized virtual math class which had been recommended while reevaluating the student’s IEP, the school declined to admit the parents citing privacy concerns. Citing both the IDEA and D.C. Code § 38-2571.03, Hearing Officer Ruff determined that the school must allow the parents to observe this math class, as requested, to avoid denying the child a FAPE.
To learn more about this decision, you can view it here.