Prior to the initiation of any action requiring parent involvement, consent, and signatures, a surrogate parent must be assigned to ensure that the rights of a student are protected when:
- the student is a ward of the State or
- no parent can be identified or
- after reasonable efforts by the school district, the whereabouts of a parent cannot be discovered
To meet state and federal regulations, a surrogate parent is someone who:
- has no interests in conflict with the student's interests
- is not employed by a public agency involved in the care or education of the student
- is knowledgeable about: state and federal requirements, school district special education guidelines, and student's needs, disability and strengths
- is skilled, knowledgeable, and adequately able to represent the student
To adequately represent the child and effectively advocate for an appropriate education, surrogate parents may do the following:
- learn about the child's educational needs by observing or talking to the student at school; reviewing the child's class work, assessment reports, and/or ARD reports; and by talking with teachers, therapists, caseworkers, counselors, or other professionals involved in the student's education
- participate in school meetings to plan or make changes in the student's individual educational program
- serve as the child's advocate by requisitioning appropriate educational services
- represent the student in any complaint or due process procedure
- The campus alerts the special education supervisor that a Surrogate Parent may be needed to represent the student.
- The special education supervisor determines the need for a Surrogate Parent by filling out the form titled “Procedure for Determining Whether a Student Needs Surrogate Parent”. The form is placed in the student's folder.
- The special education supervisor contacts the Surrogate Parent and arranges a time for the Surrogate Parent to visit the school (to become familiar with the student, the student's records, and the student's teachers).
- The special education supervisor has the Surrogate Parent fill out the form entitled “Surrogate Parent Written Agreement”. This form is placed in the student's folder.
If you have comments, suggestions or would like to obtain additional information about Surrogate Parents, please contact Special Education Support Staff at the numbers or mailing address below:
Special Education Office
(903) 236-7483 (Fax)
Longview ISD Special Education Department
1301 East Young
Longview, TX 75602
Cindy Verhalen, M.Ed.
Director of Special Programs