Establishing Eligibility for Special Education
Assisting parents with a referral to special education for an evaluation of a student who is not already receiving special education and related services in order to determine the student’s eligibility for such services.
Obtaining and reviewing educational and other records in order to determine if a student might qualify for
special education and related services and if already eligible, determining whether the student has received an appropriate special education program and placement consistent with the student’s needs, the parents’ concerns, and professional recommendations.
Acting as the parents’ advisor and facilitator by attending PPT meetings with parents, providing legal
representation, advocacy and support to set clearly defined goals, strategies and solutions to benefit the student. Asserting the parents’ and student’s position and by ensuring that those positions have been incorporated into the record of the PPT meeting. PPT meetings are legal proceedings where a record is being developed and formal decisions about a child are being made. The outcome of a PPT can often be a turning point in determining if there is a need for further proceedings.
Assisting parents with the development of the student’s IEP by ensuring that the parents’ concerns and professional recommendations are considered at the PPT meeting and incorporated into the framework of the student’s IEP.
Assisting parents in obtaining independent evaluations if they disagree with the school district’s evaluations.
Assisting parents in developing transition plans for high school students in order to prepare them for post-secondary education, employment, and independent living after high school.
Assisting parents in identifying a public or private educational placement that will meet the special education and related services needs of the student and advocating for that placement during the PPT meeting.
Assisting parents in challenging disciplinary measures in appropriate cases, including long-term suspensions and expulsions, generally exceeding ten school days, for students who are already receiving special education services or for students who should have been receiving special education services.
Mediation and Due Process Hearings: Advocating for the student’s state and federal special education rights following a PPT meeting by requesting Mediation with the State Department of Education, or by filing a formal Due Process hearing request with the State Department of Education, or by filing a request for an investigation by the State Department of Education through the agency’s informal Complaint Resolution Procedures program.
Civil Rights Complaints
Filing complaints with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights for violation of a student’s federal rights secured the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and/or the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Other Legal Proceedings
Pursuing any other administrative and judicial remedies involving the denial of state and federal rights by filing complaints with other state and federal civil rights enforcement agencies and/or by filing complaints (lawsuits) with the state and/or federal courts.
The Role of Attorney in the Special Education Process
Providing legal advice and representation as a licensed attorney in special education matters. The attorney
advocates on behalf of the parents with every step of the special education process, by attending PPT meetings, articulating parent concerns, advocating their legal position, developing the record of the PPT meeting, and advising parents of rights and available legal options, filing for Mediation and Due Process hearings, filing formal and informal administrative complaints, filing complaints with the state or federal courts, and negotiating with the school district and/or its attorney in order to achieve a fair and just resolution of a case on behalf of the student. School districts are often consulting with their attorney about your child’s situation and that is why you want an expert attorney to fight for your child’s educational rights to take any necessary action.