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(2.3) Does my child have to be referred to the student study team before assessment for special education?

(2.3) Does my child have to be referred to the student study team before assessment for special education?

No. A referral for special education assessment must initiate the assessment process and timelines and any use of the student study team (SST) process does not affect this obligation. There is no authority in law or regulation to require a pupil go through an SST before a referral for special education may be processed. 

While the law requires the school district to consider and utilize, where appropriate, the resources of the regular education program before making a referral for special education [Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56303], the SST process cannot act as a substitute for or delay the special education assessment and IEP timelines without your consent. [Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56321(f).]

School districts may conduct screenings of students to determine instructional strategies for students who are not yet eligible for special education. But screening may not delay a special education evaluation, which must be completed within 60 days of receiving parental consent. [Letter to Torres (2009) Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services [OSERS] 53 IDELR 333.]