Law Office of Michelle Ball Federal Laws,Special Education Ways Special Education Services Can End

Ways Special Education Services Can End


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Last Updated on March 8, 2022 by Michelle Ball

By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995

How can special education services stop for a student in a public elementary, junior or high school? There are a few ways and sometimes there are prerequisites.

African American student with stack of books
An IEP team may remove a student from special education if they assess them first and find they no longer qualify.

IEP Team Kicks Student Off an IEP

One way a student may be removed from special education and their IEP (Individualized Education Program) is by an IEP team decision. However, this cannot just “happen.”

Requirements for IEP Team Termination of Special Education

Under federal law, there are some hoops that school districts must go through to exit a student from special education, including assessment(s) prior to termination.

Per the United States Code, volume 20, section 1414 (c):

(5) Evaluations before change in eligibility

(A)… a local educational agency shall evaluate a child with a disability in accordance with this section before determining that the child is no longer a child with a disability.

A parent also is entitled to prior written notice of the proposed ending of special education services and the basis for such a reasonable time in advance of the change.

Generally, if there is no evaluation prior to ending a student’s special education, a termination of services is illegal (but see below).

Parent Termination of Services

Assessments before termination of special education may not be required if a parent rejects special education and asks for the student to be exited from their IEP.

Parents can exit a student at any time from special education. If a school wants to argue about it, they can request a hearing on the issue to try to force services on the student.

"Class of 2021" drawn in snow
If a IEP student graduates with a regular diploma, all special education services end.

Special Education Terminates Upon Graduation

Another way special education services can stop for a student is when the student graduates from high school with a regular diploma. Per the same code cited above:

(C)(5)(B)(i)…The evaluation … shall not be required before the termination of a child’s eligibility under this subchapter due to graduation from secondary school with a regular diploma

When a student graduates high school, services end.

Aging Out of Special Education

Students also may age out of special education. Many parents don’t know, but students on an IEP may be entitled to services up until age 22. When they hit this magic age, however, their special education services end.


Special education lawyer Michelle Ball has assisted special needs students since the 1990s. As an attorney in Sacramento California, she can represent students statewide in Burlingame, Santa Maria, San Jose, Roseville, Seaside, Capitola and many more locations.