Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
It’s indefensible for educators to neglect their legal responsibilities toward students. Schools often have overpopulated classrooms, and teachers don’t always have the training and skills to identify and address special education needs of students appropriately. However, there is no justification for denying the services and rights students are entitled to receive under federal and state laws. There are statutes to prevent unlawfully designed programs that try to tailor special needs programs to a “one-size-fits-all” concept. Also, there are legal protections against retaliation for parents and educators. Our employment law practice dedicates itself to seeking redress for all types of retaliatory acts against school staff. With an experienced and dedicated attorney at your side, you can pursue all legal options available.
There is nothing more heartbreaking to a parent than to watch their children denied assistance and special education services. If you are looking for a reliable and dedicated team of employment lawyers for school law and special education in Pennsylvania, call the law office of Andrew Shubin. We are known for our dedication and commitment to defending against unlawful school law and special education violations. Call (814) 867-3115 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys and give your son or daughter the rights they are entitled to receive.
Types of School and Special Education Employment Law Cases We Handle
You can file a legal claim against the school, educators, and even state regulators, since they all must oversee and correct problems. Educational settings rife with violence and a culture of intimidation shouldn’t be able to operate and conduct business as usual. You can file an administrative proceeding, a due process hearing, or litigation in federal court to pursue legal action involving special education, employment, and disability discrimination in public schools.
We can represent you in the following areas:
- Obtaining compensatory education
- Tuition reimbursement
- Special education Law
- Bullying or hazing
- Transgender rights
- Discrimination under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA)
- Institutional sexual or physical abuse
- Employment opportunities
- Disciplinary and code of conduct proceedings
Discrimination under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) Regulations
There are multiple laws and regulations that school officials often ignore or apply inconsistently. Sometimes parents don’t know that identifying a child’s needs is a legal obligation, as opposed to a nice thing to do. IDEA creates some significant obligations for educators and school officials in assessing the needs of students.
Child Find Laws and Individualized Family Services
“Child find” laws were instituted in to create a system of identification and services. According to 20 U.S.C. § 1435(a) schools are required to implement programs that will give school indications if a child has developmental delays and a “timely comprehensive, multidisciplinary evaluation of the functioning of each infant or toddler with a disability.”
Individualized Services Plans (IFSPs) are intended to help with the assessment and design of a child’s development plan to help parents and educators meet the needs of the child.
Special Education Services
The concept of “need” in special education is not always about whether your child has a disability, because it’s often not sufficient to be in one single disability category. Frequently, the entire academic setting is under review as to whether the “needs” can be met, and the principal question is whether there is an “adverse educational effect” for IDEA eligibility.
Some of the recognized disability categories include autism, developmental delays, emotional disturbance, hearing impairments, and intellectual disabilities. Special education means instruction in the classroom and other settings while “other services” relates to development, corrective, transportation, and other corrective services needed to assist a child.
Section 504 is a civil rights law designed to ensure that a child with a disability has equal access to education. What Section 504 does is require that students of all races and national origins to be treated equitably in the IDEA evaluation process, in the support they receive, and in the degree of restrictiveness of their educational environment.
Individualized Education Programs (IEP)
The development of the IEP is at the heart of the IDEA because the school has an obligation to designate a team of services intended to provide for students’ educational needs. The IEP generally consists of a written document intended to provide all children who have disabilities with a “free and appropriate public education” as provided under 20 U.S.C. § 1412(a)(1). The term “appropriate education” is the aspect of IEPs that can be unclear, but it’s defined based on the student’s level of academic achievement and functional performance. The IEP team consists of:
- Not less than one regular education teacher
- Not less than one special education teacher, when appropriate
- A representative of the local educational agency who is qualified and knowledgeable
School Discipline and When Conduct Is a Manifestation of a Disability
Generally, students cannot be penalized by schools in ways that deny their constitutional due process. Academic proceedings and discipline hearings must follow certain guidelines for every student. However, when IDEA laws protect the student, there are discipline provisions, including:
- If excluded from school for less than ten days, then they can be treated like all students.
- If excluded for more than ten school days, they are entitled to a determination of whether their behavior is a manifestation of their disability.
- If the behavior was a manifestation of their disability, the student could not be excluded from school for more than ten days unless exceptions exist. The school should also perform a functional behavioral assessment and establish an intervention plan.
This IDEA provision gives parents another layer of protection to ensure that school officials are servicing the child’s needs appropriately.
Call a Penn State College Employment Lawyer Today
Shubin Law offers a broad range of legal services to parents and students in Pennsylvania. These services include representation in employment contracts, school code compliance, student discipline, administrative hearings, special education law, and many other topics affecting students and educators in Pennsylvania. Call (814) 867-3115 to schedule a free consultation today.