Hollingsworth and Zivitz’s Education Law Team has one goal in mind; Your child’s success in education and in life. We believe that ALL children deserve an Education and should feel safe in the school they attend. We believe all parents deserve to be informed of their rights and their options as it pertains to their child’s education. We believe in creating positive relationships with schools, but we are not afraid to fight for your child when it is necessary.
Sometimes this means going to a due process hearing in order to force the schools to comply with the federal and state protections afforded to children with special needs.
Parents frequently do not know or understand what their children's rights are in terms of the education and services offered by the schools, and they often can feel intimidated by school staffs. Each child qualifying for services are required by federal law to receive an Individualized Education Program often referred to simply as an IEP. The IEPs are put together by a team within the schools and are supposed to include parents in this process. However, parents often feel as though they have little say as to what goes into an IEP for their child because they are unaware of what their child’s rights are. This can have serious impact and their children's progress can be impaired by that lack of knowledge. "What we have is what you get" is NOT what the federal and state laws provide. The schools are required, by law, to devise an IEP for each child qualified for services based on that child's individual needs (not on the school's staffing or budget problems) that is reasonably calculated to confer a meaningful educational benefit.
Anything less than that does not comply with the federal law, and is actionable through a due process proceeding.
Examples of how the schools commit violations:
- Failure to find child eligible for services despite evidence that the child was struggling academically or behaviorally.
- Failure to develop an appropriate IEP based on the child's individual needs.
- Failure to implement the IEP as written.
- Failure to involve the parents to meaningfully participate in the IEP development process.
- Failure of proper personnel to be present during the case conference committee meetings.
- Failure to give notice of rights.
- Failure of the school to prevent punishment of the child for actions or inactions that are manifestations of the child's disability (caused by the child's disability).
- Failure to train staff and aides in the child's areas of disability.
- Failure to train parents in the child's areas of disability.
- Failure to maintain proper records.
- Predetermining placement and services before the case conference committee meeting.
- Failure to conduct necessary evaluations of the child.
- Failure to provide education and services in the least restrictive environment, based on that child's individual needs.
- Failure to offer extended school year services to the child, resulting in regression of skills during the summer vacation that cannot be recouped quickly.
- Failure to convene a case conference committee meeting.
- Failure to provide records within 45 days when requested by parents.
- Failure to allow the special needs child to participate in extracurricular activities to the same extent as his non-disabled peers when the child could participate with accommodations provided by the school.