Concord Special Education Parent Advisory Committee

  (Concord SPED PAC)

Page Index - Click on the topic, and it will take you to that place on the page.



SPED Regulations (State)


What law overrides, trumps or takes precedence over another?
Accessing Student Records (State and Federal) Regulations
Physical Restraint Regulation
No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
Overview of the laws

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State and Federal Special Education laws

There are two Regulations / Rules of which parents need to be aware. One is the state regulations and other is federal register.

We highly recommend you read and familiarize yourself with the two following documents.  They are easy to read and you will educate yourself about your child's rights:

SPED Regulations (State):
Massachusetts Special Education Regulations
603 CMR 28.00, In effect January, 2001

These Regulations are the Department of Education (DOE) interpretation of state law.
The regulations are a total of 40 pages, quite readable for the lay person.  We highly recommend you print out a copy and read these regulations.
(Note that in September, 2000 there were major changes to the law, which are reflected in these regulations).

To implement the Special Education laws (State & Federal) the government agencies have published detailed rules and regulations describing how the law applies.

Massachusetts Special Education Regulations Table:


Topic: Sections:
Class size 28.06: Placement and Service Options
Complaints 28.08: Continuum of Options for Dispute Resolution
Disabilities 28.02: Definitions
Effective Progress  28.02: Definitions
Full Special Education Evaluation
       (used to be referred to as Core Evaluation)
28.04: Referral and Evaluation *
Hearing - BSEA 28.08: Continuum of Options for Dispute Resolution
Independent evaluation (IEE)
       (private or outside evaluation) 
28.04: Referral and Evaluation *
IEP content 28.05: The Team Process and Development of the IEP *
Least Restrictive Environment 28.06: Placement and Service Options
Mediation 28.08: Continuum of Options for Dispute Resolution
Methodology 28.05: The Team Process and Development of the IEP *
Observations 28.07: Parent Involvement
Out of District Placement (private school) 28.09: Approval of Public/Private Day and
Residential Special Education School Programs
PAC 28.07: Parent Involvement
Progress reports 28.07: Parent Involvement
School evaluation reports (report content) 28.04: Referral and Evaluation *
Private schools at private expense 28.03(1)(e): Administration and Personnel
Schools (private, vocational, parochial), Principals Responsibilities 28.10: Administration and Personnel
Special education purpose (very short, 3 paragraphs) 28.01: Authority, Scope and Purpose
Specially designed instruction 28.02: Definitions
Stay Put (Student's right to IEP services and placement) 28.08(7): Continuum of Options for Dispute Resolution
Summer (ESY) 28.05: The Team Process and Development of the IEP *
Time frames 28.05: The Team Process and Development of the IEP *
Timelines 28.04: Referral and Evaluation *
Transportation 28.05: The Team Process and Development of the IEP *
28.06: Placement and Service Options
(key: * = These are larger sections and are referred to more then other sections.)

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IDEA (Federal):

IDEA 2004 - Regulation

34 CFR Parts 300 and 301, in effect August, 2006


User friendly website of the regulations:


Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 Regulations (IDEA 2004) new tag



Part B: (IDEA 2004 was approved August 3, 2006 and Published August 14, 2006)
HTML  (text, no formatting)        PDF  (3 column format, actual manual format)
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IDEA 2004 - Law

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 Law (IDEA 2004)

IDEA 2004, Federal law  (text no formatting)

This new version aligns IDEA closely to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), helping to ensure equity, accountability and excellence in education for children with disabilities.


IDEA five major sections in the law:
Topic IDEA
Law Sect.
Part A - General Provisions IDEA 2004
Law Purpose Section 601
20 U.S.C. §1400 Congressional Finding and Purpose Subpart A - General
Definitions Section 602
20 U.S.C. §1401 Definitions Subpart A - General
State Eligibility Section
(Catch-all Section)
20 U.S.C. §1412 State Eligibility Subpart B
State Eligibility

Subpart C
Local Educational Agency Eligibility
Evaluations, eligibility, IEPs,  placements Section 614
20 U.S.C. §1414 Evaluations, eligibility determination, IEPs and education placements Subpart D
Evaluations, Eligibility Determinations,
Individualized Education Programs, and Educational Placements
Parent Safeguards Section 615
20 U.S.C. §1415 Procedural safeguards Subpart E
Procedural Safeguards

IDEA 2004 - Regulation Table
These are some of the IDEA regulations we are often referring to:
|A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |



IDEA 2004
 Law Section

Page 118 &

Part A - General Provisions

IDEA 2004

IDEA 97 Regulation

Accessing Student Records



Type of Procedures
also refer to our state regulation (return to top of this webpage)

Sec. 300.501
Opportunity to examine records; parent participation in meetings.
Sec. 300.613 Access rights.

§300.562 Access rights

Behavior Intervention Plans (BIP or BMP), consideration



Consideration of special factors

Sec. 300.324(2)
Consideration of special factors.

§300.346 (2) Development, review, and revision of IEP.

Disabilities, list



Child with a disability

Sec. 300.8
Child with a disability.

§300.7 Child with a disability

Discipline Procedures



Placement in Alternative Education Setting

Sec. 300.536
Change of placement
because of disciplinary removals.

§300.519 Change of placement for disciplinary removals

Discrepancy Model  Response to Intervention (RTI) and Specific Learning Disability



Specific Learning Disabilities
also refer to: No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Federal law

Sec. 300.307(a)(1)
learning disabilities.


Electronic mail, if available a parent may elect to receive notices by email 1415(d) 2719 Electronic mail Sec. 300.505
Electronic mail.

Eligibility and Re-determination of eligibility 



Additional Requirements for Eligibility and Reevaluations

Sec. 300.306 (b)
rule for eligibility determination.

§300.534 (c) Determination of eligibility

Evaluation (what tests will the school use)



Evaluation procedures

Sec. 300.304
Evaluation procedures.

§300.532 Evaluation procedures

Extended school year (ESY) services (summer program) 1412(a)(1) 2677 School during the summer. Sec. 300.106 Extended school year services §303.309
Extended school year service
Extracurricular activities 1412(a)(5) - Nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities including meals, recess periods Sec. 300.117 Nonacademic settings. §300.306 Nonacademic services

Free appropriate public education (FAPE)



Free appropriate public education

Sec. 300.17 Free appropriate public education.

300.13 Free appropriate public education

GED 1412(a)(1)(B)-(C) 2677 Mass. residents who are working on their GED may access special education Sec. 300.102 Limitation - exception to FAPE for certain ages. (added)
Highly Qualified Teachers (HQT) 1401(10)   Highly Qualified Teachers (HQT) Sec. 300.18
Highly qualified special education teachers.
IEP Development 1412(a)(1), 1412(a)(12)(A)(i), 1414(d)(3), (4)(B), & (7) and 1414(e) 2677 Content,  regular education teacher Considerations, updating IEP Sec. 300.324 Development, review, and revision of IEP. §300.347 Content of IEP

IEP for 3 years



Multi year IEP, Pilot program (Mass. not participating)

Sec. 300.306 Determination of eligibility.


IEP Measurable goals



Individualized Education Program

Sec. 300.320
Definition of individualized education program.

§300.347 Content of IEP

IEP Meeting Attendance



Excusal of Team member

Sec. 300.321(e)
 IEP Team attendance.


IEP Meeting, using Technology



Alternative Means of Meeting Participation

Sec. 300.328
Alternative means of meeting participation.


IEP Team



Individualized Education Program Team

Sec. 300.321 IEP Team.

§300.344 IEP team

Insurance, private or Medicaid 1412(a)(12) & (e)   Methods of ensuring Services Sec. 300.154
Methods of ensuring services.

Learning Disability (LD)

1401 (30)


Specific Learning Disability
also refer to: Discrepancy Model and SLD 1414(b)(6)

Sec. 300.8 (10)
Specific learning disability.

§300.7 Child with a disability




Prohibition on Mandatory Medication

Sec. 612(a)(25)


Outside.Evaluation  Private Evaluation, or Independent Education Evaluation (IEE)



Type of Procedures

Sec. 300.502
Independent educational evaluation.

§300.502 Independent educational evaluation

Parent 1401(23) 2650 Defines parent,
adoptive, foster, guardian.
Sec. 300.30 Parent. (added)

Parent input to child's placement



Educational Placements

Sec. 300.501(c)
Parent involvement in placement decisions.


Participation in sports



A statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services

Sec. 300.42 Supplementary aids and services.

§300.306 Nonacademic services

Personal (evaluators, therapist, special education teacher, etc.)



Highly Qualified Teachers (HQT) also refer to: No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Federal law and Supervision of paraprofessionals (Title 1)

Sec. 300.18
Highly qualified special education teachers.

§300.23 Qualified personnel

Prior Written Notice before any change, PWN



Written prior notice to the parents

Sec. 300.503
Prior notice by the public agency; content of notice.

§300.503 Prior notice by the public agency 

Private School
(students in)

See Service Plan for Private School, below



Children Enrolled in Private Schools by Their Parents

Sec. 300.132
Provision of services for parentally - placed private school children with disabilities - basic requirement.

§300.401 Responsibility of State educational agency

Progress Reports  towards measurable goals



Individualized Education Program

Sec. 300.320 (3)
Definition of individualized education program.

§300.347 Content of IEP

Related Services (transportation, (aide) paraprofessional, OT, PT, SLP, audiology, etc.): 



Related Services

Sec. 300.34
Related services.

§300.24 Related services

Response to Intervention (RTI) and Discrepancy Model and Specific Learning Disability (SLD)



Specific Learning Disabilities
also refer to: No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Federal law

Sec. 300.307
Specific learning disabilities.





Reevaluations with a new limitation.

Sec. 300.303 Reevaluations.

§300.536 Revaluation

Service Plan for Private School 1412(a)(10)(A)   Service Plan for Private School Sec. 300.37 Services plan. (added)

Stay put



Maintenance of Current Educational Placement (also refer to our state regulation)

Sec. 300.518
Child's status during proceedings.

§300.514 Child's status during proceedings

Student Safeguards
(see Prior Written Notice above)



Procedural Safeguards Notice

Subpart E--
Procedural Safeguards

Subpart E - Procedural Safeguards

Teachers (HQT) 1401(10)   Highly Qualified Teachers (HQT) Sec. 300.18
Highly qualified special education teachers.
Transition services for what happens after high school 1414(d)(6) 2715 Transition services at age 15 Sec. 300.43
Transition services.
Sec. 300.320(b)
Transition services.
Transition Services
Withdrawal of consent for special education and related services (The withdrawal must be in writing.  All services will stop )       Sec. 300.300 (b)(4)  

Why have the special education federal law?



Purpose of IDEA 

Sec. 300.1 Purposes.


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References about IDEA-2004:


MA DOE Administrative Advisory SPED 2007--1: IDEA-2004 Implementing Regulations
Has a chart of the key changes in regulations and describes the impact of these changes on school district.
View the Federation for Children with Special Needs IDEA-2004 slide presentation, from their workshop.

Wrights Law article:

10 Tips: How to Use IDEA 2004 to Improve Your Child's Special Education
by Wayne Steedman, Esq.
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Questions and Answers (Q&A) on Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) Requirements of the IDEA
    U. S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS)

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Implementing IDEA:  A Guide for Principals 

This guide contains National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) developed standards of excellence that directly relate to the principal's role in implementing IDEA. Along with the standards are guidelines principals may use when assessing themselves and their school community.

The standards and guidelines for the provision of special education, related services, and early intervention are organized around the same categories identified in the previously books developed by NAESP on general standards for quality elementary and middle schools.

Implementing IDEA: A Guide for Principals addresses the following five categories:

For each area, information related to IDEA is presented. An appendix contains a checklist that principals may use to assess themselves on the NAESP-developed standards and guidelines.  80 pages

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Our Special Education Laws:

Most of our members have found these regulations/rules to be easier to understand than the full text of the law.
These are two laws that govern Special Education:

State Law  (M.G.L. Chapter 71B, used to be known as Chapter 766) and the Federal Law (IDEA).
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What law overrides, trumps or takes precedence over another?

Here's what we have learned though the years:
  1. If Federal law - (IDEA) is more stringent, (benefits the student) it must be used.

  2. State law (Special Education Law) - State Department of Education regulations, IEP forms, or policies which violate the Federal law) which ever law is more stringent (benefits the student), then it is used.
    • School district policies, practices, forms and procedures, are overridden by both state and federal laws.

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State and Federal Regulation for Accessing Student Records:

Our state regulation Student Record Regulations 

When can you see your student's records?

The student record consists of your student’s transcript and temporary school record and includes health records, tests, evaluations, discipline records and other records pertaining to your student’s special education eligibility or program.

Personally identifiable information about your student is confidential and may not be disclosed to anyone other than teachers and educational officials without your consent.  You and your student (if your student is 14 or older) have a right to look at any and all of the student’s records within 10 days of your request and before any IEP meeting or due process hearing.

You may a lso have copies of the information upon request for a reasonable charge limited to the cost of
reproduction.  You may not be charged for costs associated with the search for and retrieval of your
student’s records. 

In addition, you can meet with professionally qualified school personnel to have the records explained.  You may also have your representative (advocate, consultant, or attorney) inspect, review, and interpret your student’s record if you give your specific, written informed consent. All of the rights associated with the student record are contained in the Massachusetts Student Record Regulations 603 CMR 23.00, 23.07(2)

This text is from "Parent's Notice of Prodcedural Safeguards" document, that you receive from your school district once a year.


The Federal regulation under IDEA 2004: Sec. 300.501 - Opportunity to examine records;  and   Sec. 300.613 - Access rights.

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA),  is the federal regulation.

Model Notification of Rights for Elementary and Secondary Schools

Some articles from Wrightslaw on FERPA:

In 1997, the Office for Civil Rights issued a Memorandum about test protocols and answer sheets. Test protocols used by psychologists to prepare reports are educational records. Test booklets that identify students are education records.
Booklets that include questions and answers are education records.

Your right to "inspect and review" your child's education records includes copies of test protocols and answer sheets. FERPA does NOT create an exception for "copyrighted materials."

Read the letter from LeRoy Hooker, FERPA Compliance Officer, to learn about test protocols and answer sheets.

      Privacy, Education Records, FERPA

I Have a FERPA Problem - School Won't Help!

Here are two articles from Reed Martin, J.D, and his wife Connie Matthews, on FERPA,
(The Reed Martin website, defunct as of June 6, 2007)
We found two of his articles and converted them into PDF's (thanks to Dr. S. Lowe):
Access To Records Under IDEA  14
Acess to Child's Educational Records  14
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State Physical Restraint Regulation:

Our state regulation, 603 CMR 46.00:Physical Restraint, In effect April 2, 2001

46.02(5): Definitions:

"Restraint - Other: Limiting the physical freedom of an individual student by mechanical means or seclusion in a limited space or location, or temporarily controlling the behavior of a student by chemical means. The use of chemical or
mechanical restraint is prohibited unless explicitly authorized by a physician and approved in writing by the parent or guardian. The use of seclusion restraint is prohibited in public education programs."

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No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001
NCLB is for ALL children

"... NCLB applies differently to Title 1 schools than to schools that do not receive Title 1 grants. However, one way or another, this law covers all public schools in all states."

            Frequently Asked Questions

Teacher Quality FAQ

Article about Teacher Qualifications posted on Wrightslaw website:
Parents' Right to Know Qualifications of Child's Teachers

February 1, 2003 issue of The No Child Left Behind Newsletter (PDF format) to include a copy of this newsletter with your letter. 
newsletter on website.



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Overview of Federal disability laws

It is illegal to discriminate against a person with a disability. There are three federal laws that protect people with disabilities in the school and day care settings.  These laws have history of being successfully to protect the rights of children with disabilities.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

This law prohibits public schools and private schools that receive federal financial assistance from discriminating against anyone with a disability. You don't need to wait until discrimination occurs to seek the protections of this law. The first step is to have your child evaluated. Parents and school officials then meet and develop a Section 504 Plan. A Section 504 Plan would include the information listed for an "Education Plan" discussed in Chapter 10. Often, schools want to develop a Section 504 Plan so that everyone knows his or her responsibilities.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

This law covers children whose disability impairs their academic performance. It requires that students (age 3-22) be given a "free, appropriate public education." Your child may or may not qualify, depending on how their disability affects their ability to learn. If the student qualifies, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) will be developed with the school provides and parents. (An IEP is similar to a Section 504 Plan but would include specific measures to address your child's academic performance and needed special education and other related services.)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

This law expressly prohibits all schools and day care centers (except those run by religious institutions) from discriminating against people with disabilities.  Its definition of disability is the same as in Section 504.

Basically, these laws say that your child has the right to go to school, play a sport, join a club, and do everything else that kids without a disability can do. They also say that public schools and other covered organizations must make "reasonable accommodations" for the disability. Such accommodations are to be spelled out in the Section 504 plan, IEP, or other education plan.
For more information visit the
Americans with Disabilities Act website.

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References on Special Education Laws:

View the Federation for Children with Special Needs Basic Rights (under the special education laws) slide presentation, from their workshop. 

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History - Federal Special Education


Here's a little history about the Federal level law.  The original law (Public Law 94-142), was called the Education Handicap Act (EHA), passed in 1975 and revised several times.  It was renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1990, (Public Law 101-476).

In 1997 reauthorization of IDEA when an emphasis on access to the general curriculum was added to the statute.  By law, Congress must re-authorize this legislation every five years. 
IDEA 97 U.S. Department of Education Federal Register, 34 CFR Parts 300 and 303, went in effect March, 1999.

In 2003 round of IDEA reauthorization, emphasis was on revising the eligibility criteria.  After three years of work, the U.S. Congress completed its renewal of the federal special education law by passing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA-04) on November 19, 2004.  The President signed the bill into law on December 3, 2004, marking the first update to IDEA since 1997.
As  you see changing federal law is a long process, that takes a long time. The years of the changes are not in the exact time frames.

Need information on IDEA?
Visit our links, above this section.

U.S. Department of Education
The Switzer Building, Room 3006
330 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20202
(202) 205-5465

Legislative Tracking System lets you check on the status of any new bills (house or senate).

Federation for Children with Special Needs , check for information on the latest current issues.
Check our page on What's happening with the law.

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History - Massachusetts Special Education

25 year old Mass special ed law

Here's a little history about the Mass Special Education regulation. Year 2000 was the 25th Anniversary of the passage of Chapter 766, the Special Education Law and Regulation.  The chapter number has changed and it is now known as the "Special Education Law / Regulation".

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One of our original webpages, created October, 1999, by Melody Orfei
Webpage last modified on January 8, 2018 - V41, by Melody Orfei