Student and Parent/Guardian Rights 


Request for Special Education Evaluation

A school professional may recommend that a child be evaluated to determine if the student has a disability. Parents/guardians may also contact the child’s teacher or another school administrator to request an evaluation. This request may be verbal, but it’s best to put it in writing. Once the written or verbal request is made, within 10 days the school will either issue a “Permission to Evaluate” (PTE) or a Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP) to explain, in writing, why the evaluation request is denied. For questions, please contact the Special Education Compliance Monitor assigned to your student’s school.


Request for 504 Service Plan

A parent/guardian can request for their student to have a 504-service plan. The request should be made in writing and the parent/guardian should include any relevant medical records along with specific services or accommodations the parent/guardian believes the student needs and/or the modifications the parent would like the school district to make if the parent/guardian is requesting a modification. These requests can be provided to the student’s teacher, the counselor, or another school administrator.


Request for Language Access

Parents/guardians have the right to communications and information from the district and the student’s school in their preferred language. If parents/guardians speak and/or write a language other than English, an interpreter must be provided for calls and meetings with school staff, and written communications from the school must be translated into their preferred language. Teachers and school staff should use multiple resources to provide language access, such as Language Line, bi-lingual counseling assistants, and translation request forms to engage with the District’s English learners and multilingual parents/guardians. Schools must record a parent/guardian’s preferred language and provide parents/guardians information about their rights to language services and how to access resources in their preferred languages. Parents can request a call-back from an interpreter on the Family and Community Engagement website.


Students Experiencing Homelessness

The School District of Philadelphia considers students who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, as experiencing homelessness. This includes children and youth who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason, living in motels, parks or campgrounds; or children or youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a sleeping accommodation by human beings; or children or youth living in cars, abandoned buildings or substandard housing or similar situations; refugee or migratory children because they are living in circumstances like those described above.


Unaccompanied youth also fall under this category and can be described as a youth not in the physical custody of a legal parent or guardian and youth living on their own in any of the homeless situations described above. Children and youth who meet the criteria of being homeless, even if

unaccompanied by a guardian, must be given full and equal access to an appropriate public education and success in the educational program. The permanency and adequacy of the housing conditions will be considered when determining if a student qualifies. These children and youth may enroll in:

  • The school the student attended when permanently housed (school of origin).
  • The school in which the student was last enrolled (school of origin).
  • Any school that non-homeless students who live in the catchment area in which the child or youth experiencing homelessness is actually living are eligible to attend (new neighborhood school).

An unaccompanied homeless youth with a disability may also need to have a surrogate parent appointed by the district within 30 days if the youth have no one to serve in this role.


For more information, contact Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness (ECYEH) in the following ways:   Phone: 215-400-4830 (option 4) | Email: | Referral form HERE.


Student Discipline

Students receiving disciplinary action can expect that school officials will:

  1.  Give the student an opportunity to respond to concerns by writing or sharing a statement and/or presenting relevant additional information
  2. Permit the student to choose not to provide a statement
  3. Discuss the student’s behavior challenges and partner with the family to provide ways to address it
  4. Inform the student and parent/guardian of disciplinary action and/or next steps to be taken
  5. Document the problematic behavior, intervention, agreements reached in conferences.
  6. Provide documents in the student and parent/guardian’s preferred language


Students in Foster Care

A child in foster care will remain in their school of origin (the school where the child was enrolled at the time of placement), unless a determination is made that it is not in their best interest to attend that school. If a student in foster care has experienced a change in placement, a Best Interest Determination (BID) meeting will be held to determine if the student should remain in the school of origin or if they should transition to a new school. Foster parents and/or foster care workers should not make any changes to enrollment for students who are in foster care without a BID meeting being held first. Please contact the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities for additional information.


Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students

Transgender and gender non-conforming students are afforded certain rights under School Board Policy 252, which are:

  1. The right to privacy, and this includes the right to keep one’s transgender identity private at school.
  2. School personnel should not disclose information that may reveal a student’s transgender identity or gender nonconformity to others, including parents and other school personnel, unless the student has authorized such disclosure.
  3. Students have the right to be referred to by their chosen name and pronouns.
  4. The right to be included in the group that corresponds to their gender identity.
  5.  The right to have access to the restroom or locker room that corresponds to their gender identity.

If there are any concerns regarding this policy, please notify Central Office by emailing


Parent/Guardian Appeals

The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities is responsible for reviewing decisions made by school and/or central office staff to determine if the decision was made in accordance with school district policies, procedures, and protocols.  The following decisions can be appealed:


  1. Disciplinary Hearing Decisions- Decisions made pursuant to a disciplinary hearing
  2. School Selection- School assignments made through the annual school selection process.
  3. Homelessness Designation- Decisions regarding whether a student is experiencing homelessness (“McKinney-Vento eligible”).
  4. Parental Exclusion Letters- Decisions made that exclude parents/guardians from a school building (without an appointment), for a specified amount of time, as a result of threatening or unsafe behavior.
  5. Bullying/Harassment Findings- Findings of an investigation into allegations of bullying, harassment or discrimination.
  6. Decisions related to a Title IX Formal Complaint: Decisions made related to a Title IX Formal Complaint, including, Dismissal of a Title IX Formal Complaint and the Determination for a Title IX Formal Complaint.


More information on the appeals process can be found on the Student Rights and Responsibilities website.


Expunging Records for Expelled Students

A student who has been permanently or temporarily expelled by the affirmative vote of a majority of the School Board, may apply to The School District of Philadelphia to have the records of expulsion expunged.


Expunging records occurs at the discretion of the superintendent or the student’s designee and is not subject to review or appeal to the school board or the courts.


The complete Board Policy No. 233, including the criteria and process for readmission and/or expungement of records, may be found on The School District of Philadelphia’s website by clicking here.


School Safety Officer Complaint Process

This procedure is intended to ensure that all students and parents/guardians have a process to submit complaints pertaining to the conduct of School Safety Officers (SSO) and that the complaint process is accessible to all, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, or disability status.


The complaint process shall be used by any student or parent/guardian of the School District of Philadelphia to report an incident that pertains to the conduct of an SSO. It may be used to document information regarding SSO misconduct. In order for timely review of the facts, including interviewing witnesses, the complaint should be filed as soon as possible. Students may file a SSO complaint via the School District of Philadelphia’s website by clicking here.


The Office of Family and Community Engagement

The Office of Family and Community Engagement (FACE) offers a wide array of programs and services for families, students and community members. FACE answers inquiries both over the phone and in person. They have staff ready to help in a variety of locations and in a variety of languages.


FACE Liaisons generally help facilitate the resolution of family concerns by supporting families in connecting them to the appropriate people and resources to address their needs. If any parent/guardian would like to speak to one of their team members, Family Engagement Liaisons are available to speak with you at your child’s school or you can stop by the Parent and Family Resource Center at the School District of Philadelphia’s Administration Building. For additional information and support requests, please visit the FACE website or reach out in person via the Parent and Family Resource Center (PFRC) or by phone via the Call Center 215-400-4000.


Victim Services

If a student is the victim of a school related incident, victim services can be sought by contacting the Pennsylvania Office of Safe Schools Advocate at phone number 215-656-5381, e-mail: Ra-


If a student is a victim of a school related incident the school should create and institute a safety plan for that student, if appropriate. Parent/Guardians should be a part of the planning process and contribute to its final version. Parent/Guardians must sign and receive a copy of the plan once completed.