Parents Rights In School


Special Education

Parents rights in schoolAt times a student needs extra help from teachers to do well with their academics and many parents are familiar with Special Education and parents rights in school, but some may not be aware that there are advocates who can assist them in ensuring their child gets a fair education.

Whether the child has been in Special Education for a short time, or for most of their education, there are always rights ensured to the child and to their parents.

Providing reasonable accommodations for student’s courses are worked out through a plan that is coordinated with the parent and teachers. If a parent feels that their input has not been taken into consideration, they may benefit from contacting a Special Education attorney and/or advocate.

When determining if a student qualifies for Special Education, there may be a series of assessments performed that are physical and psychological. At all points, the parent has the right to be informed of the nature of the assessment and the results as well as the right to give or decline consent for those assessments. Because the disabilities categories have grown, over time, to include Specific Learning Disabilities, Autism, Other Health Impairment, Emotional Disturbance, and Behavior, a parent might find themselves pressured into having their child placed in Special Education services.

Mental health symptoms, behavioral health symptoms, learning challenges, may be attributable to medical illness or ailment. This is highly researched and at this time there are even functional mental health professionals that practice in medical testing to find underlying physical causes for why a student is not performing well. The medical tests are performed and the parent and child are shown the results of traditional tests that show what needs to be medically handled, whether it is a food allergy, hormone imbalance, thyroid imbalance, chemical sensitivity, toxic exposure and many more.

Dr. Doris Rapp has worked since the 1960s to help parents and their children in terms of testing for food allergies and chemical intolerances. Her work is well documented and interviews with Dr. Rapp and her patients can be found on Youtube.

Physicians who specialize in rare blood diseases, thyroid testing, and many more, are looking thoroughly into the physical condition of the child and relying on medical science to lead them to the cure of what ails the child.

Consider this, a real-life example of a young 7-year-old boy who was not doing well in school. The school personnel spoke with the mother repeatedly about bringing her son to a mental health professional for a diagnosis and treatment, the school personnel spoke repeatedly to the mother about the boy’s need to be in Special Education. The mother knew her son well and knew that the boy was a smart, well-behaved child and refused to cave under the pressure being applied to her. She had her son tested, by a traditional medical professional, for food allergies. By medical test results, she noticed that the foods her son was allergic to happen to be most of the foods served at the school cafeteria for lunch. Instead of having her son get lunch in the cafeteria, she began packing a homemade brown-bag lunch and not once afterwards did she receive complaints from the school that her son was misbehaving or that his grades were suffering.

In addition to the option to get your child a thorough physical exam, you have the option to contact Special Education Advocates and Attorneys.

Always, the student has a right to a fair education and parent’s rights in school are assured at all times!

Protection and Advocacy—Mental Health Help

In order for someone to understand protection and advocacy in the area of mental health or to receive mental health help, it is vital to understand the legal concept of Express and Informed Consent.

Many of us may take iProtection and Advocacy--Mental Health Helpt for granted, understandably so, that a medical professional would naturally tell us, the patient, of the risks and the alternatives to any proposed medical treatment or procedure. Respect for the medical community can tend to blind us to the fact that most of the time, in regards to mental health treatment, the patient is not assured their right to Express and Informed Consent.

To begin with, Florida has its own law that assures protection and advocacy by the patient, if he or she is aware of this law.

Per the law, “It is the intent of the Legislature that health care providers understand their responsibility to give their patients a general understanding of the procedures to be performed on them and to provide information pertaining to their health care so that they may make decisions in an informed manner after considering the information relating to their condition, the available treatment alternatives, and substantial risks and hazards inherent in the treatment.”

Florida Statute 381.026, Florida Patient’s Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, assures each Floridian that they have the right to individual dignity and information. They have the right to be given information concerning diagnosis, planned course of treatment, alternatives, risks, and prognosis.

The fact that the individual has the right to know of the risks and the alternatives implies he or she has the right to decide for him or herself and their children, whether they want to receive the treatment or an alternative treatment.

In the specific case of minors and the subject of involuntary commitment, through the Baker Act, a minor, therefore the parent still has the right to Express and Informed Consent to treatment. The typical line of treatment within a psychiatric ward is a psychiatric drug. These mental health drugs carry severe risks, listed by the FDA, of mental health symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, suicidal thoughts, homicidal thoughts and actions, psychosis and many more. Parents have the right to know these risks and the right to know that there are medical professionals, throughout the state and throughout the country, who specialize in medical testing for underlying physical causes of unwanted mental health symptoms.


Express & Informed Consent regarding minors and the Baker Act, per Florida Statute 394.459(3), the following:

“Prior to requesting consent to treatment, the following must be provided and explained in plain language:

  • The reason for admission or treatment,
  • Proposed treatment, including psychotherapeutic medications
  • Purpose of treatment
  • Alternative treatments
  • Specific dosage range for medications
  • Frequency and method of administration
  • Common risks, benefits and short- term/long-term side effects
  • Contraindications
  • Clinically significant interactive effects with other medications. Similar information on alternative medication, which may have less severe or serious side effects.
  • Potential effects of stopping treatment
  • Approximate length of care
  • How treatment will be monitored, and that
  • Any consent for treatment may be revoked orally or in writing before or during the treatment period by the person legally authorized to make health care decisions for the person.

Please note that in the 394.459(3) wording it says “similar information on alternative medication…” The individual, the parent and the child, still have the right to alternative treatment as stated in Florida Statute 381.026. You do have the right to decline any proposed psychiatric medication for your child while he or she is held under the Baker Act.

As a special note, parents, please be aware that ultimately the law supports your right as guardian, regarding the Baker Act, unless you are not available. Per Florida Statute 743.065(1) and (2), “Medical care or treatment includes ordinary care but excludes surgery, general anesthesia, psychotropic medications or other extraordinary procedures requiring a court order.

Emergency medical care or treatment can be provided by a physician or EMS for an acute illness, disease, or condition when parental consent cannot be immediately obtained.”

Emergency medical care to a minor refers to an individual who has “been injured in an accident or who is suffering from an acute illness, disease, or condition if, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, delay in initiation or provision of emergency medical care or treatment would endanger the health or physical well-being of the minor.”

Again, this applies if the parent is unable to be reached in order to give consent. It is not beyond real-life terms that a physician would deem that psychiatric treatment falls in the category of Emergency medical care. Parents are able to assert their rights as long as they are aware that their child has been brought to a facility under the Baker Act.