In Montana, a student who has turned age 18 has the right and responsibility to make certain legal choices, unless those rights have been legally taken from the student.
What are the responsibilities of the school?
When the student reaches age 18, the school will provide notice to both the student and parents of the transfer of rights.
What does this mean for students with disabilities?The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) gives Montana the authority to transfer educational decision-making rights to individuals at the age of majority. In Montana, the age ofmajority is 18 and at that time students become responsible for their educational program.
Beginning at least one year before the student reaches age 18, the student’s IEP must include a statement that the student has been informed of the rights that will transfer to him or
her at age 18. All of the educational rights previously provided to the parents transfer to the student.
Can parents continue to retain educational rights after a student reaches the age of 18?In certain circumstances a court can appoint the student’s parent, or another appropriate individual, as the legal guardian. Guardianship is intended to assist individuals who need guidance inmaking decisions in regard to education, where to live, employment, money and finances, legal issues, and medical concerns. Guardianship can be limited to education decisions, or it caninclude more than one major life area. If guardianship is awarded, the guardian will make educational decisions as part of the IEP team. Montana statutes provide for appointment of aguardianship under 72-5-301 et seq, MCA. Guardianship is a legal process, and parents may wish to seek the assistance of an attorney to accomplish this.