What is FAPE?
FAPE is an acronym for a free and appropriate public education. FAPE is guaranteed to students under federal law through the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act. “What is FAPE” is often times at the center of controversy and litigation between school districts and families. While a district may believe that they are providing an appropriate education, or a FAPE, a parent may not see it as such. When there is a potential denial of FAPE, and parents that the district can not work it out on their own, parents may consider exercising their educational due process rights and letting a hearing officer determine if in fact an appropriate education has been provided. A parent may go through the due process proceedings pro se (without an attorney) or they may consider hiring a special education attorney to assist them through the process.
As parents, it is important to remember, that IDEA entitles children to an appropriate education, not the best education. What is appropriate? That is the subject of another Q&A. If you have a questions involving special education law that you would like answered on this blog, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and remember the material on this web site is provided for educational purposes only, it is in no way meant to be construed as legal advice.