Seattle Public Schools

Family Involvement and Resources

Know Your Rights

Procedural Safeguards

Parents, guardians, and adult students will be provided with a procedural safeguards, a document required by IDEA and adapted by the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction or OSPI to help families understand their rights.


The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act or FERPA is a federal law that provides protection for privacy. Every student and family has a right to privacy.

We all owe respect for the privacy of others. Privacy, however, should not be confused with avoidance or segregation. All students and families deserve membership in our community and schools.

Links to Learn

Parental Consent

Parental Consent is required prior to four events: evaluation, reevaluation, providing services for the first time, and inviting representatives of other agencies to participate in Individual Education Program (IEP) transition meetings.

Link to Learn

Parental Consent A detailed explanation of parent’s rights Parent Center Hub

Age of Majority and Guardianship

In Washington state, the age of majority is 18. At 18, a child, or minor, legally becomes an adult. With that distinction, rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) protected for the parent/guardian on behalf of the child, transfer to the individual. This is referred to as transfer of rights. Like transition, arriving at adulthood is a planning process, even if it culminates in a single moment.


The majority of students receiving special education services will be ready to assume this responsibility. For some, the nature of their disability restricts their ability to. Families may choose to consider legal guardianship in this instance. It is important to note, though, that this is outside the purview of the district and requires legal guidance.

Link to Learn

Age of Majority Center for Parent Information and Resources (CIPR)

Federal Law and Guidance

Most education policy is decided at the state level, but state laws are built around federal requirements. Three key federal laws that protect students with disabilities are:

  • Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (504)
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

IDEA, in particular, introduces several key terms and concepts that families/guardians of students receiving special education services should become familiar with.

Links to Learn

History of IDEA U.S. Department Of Education

Comparison of ADA, 504, and IDEA Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)

Overview of federal laws and guidance U.S. Department Of Education

Key Special Education Terms Defined Center for Parent Information and Resources (CIPR)

State Law and Guidance

The Washington Administrative Code (WAC) contains all the state administrative laws. Those relating to special education are identified by the numbers 392-172A and are followed by a suffix associated with the specific area they address.

The Washington Education Association, through the Special Education Support Center, provides guidance for families and teachers seeking to better understand the WACs. Look for the link to Special Education in Washington: a handbook for parents and educators.


Special Education Support Center Washington Education Association

Guidance for Families: Special Education in Washington State Learn about your rights, and get answers to questions about how the special education process works.