The prior written notice must contain all of the following:
- A full explanation of all procedural rights available to the student, including rights to pursue due process procedures and rights to confidentiality of information as provided in federal special education regulations;
- A description of the action proposed or refused by the district, an explanation of why the district proposes or refuses to take the action, and a description of any options the district considered and the reasons why those options were rejected;
- A description of each evaluation procedure, test, record, or report the district used as a basis for the proposed or refused action;
- A description of any other factors that are relevant to the district’s proposal or refusal; and
- A statement that the parents have certain rights and how the parents can obtain a written description of those rights.
- The notice must be written in language that is understandable to the general public and provided in the native language or other mode of communication of the parent, unless it is clearly not feasible to do so.
[20 U.S.C. Sec. 1415(c); 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.503(b) & (c).]
The information contained in a written notice is crucial to a parent making intelligent and informed decisions. In Union School District v. B. Smith, 15 F.3d 1519, 1526 (9th Cir. 1994), a federal court of appeals ruled that notice provisions were not merely technical requirements but substantive rights, and precluded the district from arguing the appropriateness of a placement that had been verbally offered by the district and refused by the parents, but never officially offered in writing to the parents under the written notice requirements described above.