Policies and Procedures Handbook


Last Updated: 1/07/05
Garrett County Public Schools
40 South Second Street
Oakland, MD 21550
(301)334-8900

GARRETT COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION PARENT SURROGATE GUIDELINES

Board Policy

         The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that parents be involved in decisions regarding their children's special education needs.  In cases where a parent is not available, a parent surrogate must be appointed to represent the student and protect the student's rights in matters relating to the identification, evaluation, placement, and the provision of a free appropriate public education.

    Under State law (Education Article 8-414 of the Annotated Code of Maryland, 1996), public agencies that are responsible for providing educational services to students with disabilities must request that the local school superintendent appoint a parent surrogate whenever:

    1.  a student is under the age of 21;
    2.  is believed to be, or determined to be, in need of special education services; and
    3.  a parent cannot be identified or located.

Definitions

  1. LOCAL SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT means the school system superintendent or any individual in charge of a system or program that provides educational services to children.

  2. CHILD means a person under the age of 21 who:

        a. has been determined through appropriate procedures to be disabled and in need of special education; or                          
          b. is believed to be disabled and in need of special education.                                   

    3.  EDUCATIONAL DECISION MAKING PROCESS means all procedures relating to the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of a child and the provision of
         a free appropriate public education, including the appeal procedures provided for by 8-415.    

    4.  PARENT means natural parent; a guardian; a person acting as a parent of a child, such as a relative or step-parent with whom a child lives including those relatives
           or step-parents who are foster parents; or any other individual who is legally responsible for a child's welfare.  Parent does not include a social worker or a foster
           parent, unless appointed as a surrogate.

    5. PARENT SURROGATE means a person who is appointed by the local school superintendent to act in place of a parent of a child in the educational decision making
        process.

    6.  PUBLIC AGENCY includes the State Department of Education, local education agencies, and other agencies that are responsible for providing education to disabled
         children, including the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Mental Hygiene Administration, the Mental Retardation Administration, the Department of Juvenile
           Justice, and the Maryland School for the Deaf.  The Maryland School for the Blind shall be considered a public agency.

    7.  UNKNOWN means not known and not ascertainable by reasonable diligence or after reasonable inquiry and efforts to identify the child's parent by a public agency.

    8.  UNAVAILABLE means that a public agency, after reasonable efforts, cannot discover the physical whereabouts of a child's parent.

    9.  WARD OF THE STATE means a child for whom a State or county agency or official has been appointed legal guardian, or who has been committed by a court of
           competent jurisdiction to the legal custody of a State or county agency or official with the express authorization that the State or county agency or official make
           educational decisions for the child.

    A public agency shall request that the local school superintendent appoint a parent surrogate to represent a child at any point in the educational decision making process if it is suspected that the child may be disabled and if:

    1.  The child is a ward of the State; or
      2.  The parents of the child are unknown or unavailable.

Sources: COMAR 13A.05.01/16
                   MSDE- The Parent Surrogate Appointment Process, June 12, 1996


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Instruction 345.44 WWM
Adopted 1/11/79 (Adopted by MSDE 3/30/79)
Revised 6/18/83 (Revised and Adopted by MSDE 8/12/83) Revised 7/18/84, 2/9/99