Education Law

Special Education Law

Our practice includes special education attorneys and a special education paralegal who advocates for our clients. We represent clients in New Jersey and New York. We understand the complexities of obtaining special education services from both personal and professional experience. We provide advice and counsel from infancy through adulthood. We provide parents with knowledge of their procedural and substantive rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA), and the New Jersey regulations implementing IDEA’s provisions in both public and private schools. Additionally, we review each child’s individual records, evaluation reports, planning reports, eligibility conference statements, and Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to provide parents with an accurate assessment of the services available to their child under these special education laws. Our goal is to help parents become more effective advocates for their children in addition to ensuring their rights are protected. We also provide parents, students, college students and adults in the workplace with advice and counsel regarding their rights under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (“Section 504”). Section 504 is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. This law applies to public schools, colleges and the work place and we assist parents, students and adults with obtaining rights under Section 504 in all these forums.

In connection with our representation of clients with special education needs our professionals:

  • Evaluate a student’s eligibility for special education and related services under IDEA
  • Explain the rights of parents and students under IDEA
  • Prepare parents for meetings with school districts, e.g., Planning Conference, Eligibility meetings & IEP meetings 
  • Review initial evaluation and reevaluation reports
  • Explain the right to an independent educational evaluation (IEE)
  • Represent parents at school district meetings
  • Conduct an annual review of student’s IEP 
  • Handle claims regarding failing to implement an IEP
  • Obtain compensatory education services
  • Negotiate resolution of programming and placement issues
  • Handle disputes regarding related services, e.g. speech and language, occupational therapy, physical therapy, transportation, 1:1 aide, etc.
  • Evaluate legal right to appropriate placement in public, private or residential out of district settings
  • Issue Unilateral Placement Notices in appropriate cases
  • Enforce legal rights under IDEA through mediation and due process
  • Assistance with Individual Services Plans (ISP)
  • Evaluate an individual’s eligibility for a Section 504 Plan 
  • Explain an individual’s rights pursuant to Section 504 Plan
  • Review Section 504 Plans and recommend revisions
  • Review Individualized Healthcare Plans (IHP)
  • Attend Section 504 meetings
  • Negotiate resolution of issues with accommodations and services
  • Seek legal redress for violations of Section 504 Plans 
  • Advocate for free, appropriate, public education (“FAPE”)

Special education disputes may be resolved through advocacy efforts with the school district in question, informal settlement negotiations and formal resolution conferences. In some cases it may be necessary to file for mediation and due process. We have the added benefit of having a special education paralegal who is able to attend meetings as an advocate for parents. Our attorneys provide skilled guidance to obtain FAPE pursuant to state and federal laws. Contact us today if you have questions or would like to schedule a special education consultation appointment.

Disciplinary Charges & Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying

Our professionals also handle matters involving student code of conduct & policy violations, harassment, intimidation and bullying allegations (HIB), academic violations and substance abuse violations for students of all ages. We will guide you through the difficult process of responding to the allegations, appealing the charges or disproportionate discipline.

Student Due Process Rights

Public School Students
State law requires that public school districts follow specific procedures in connection with both short and long term suspensions. A short term suspension is 10 days or less and a long term suspension is more than 10 days. Students have the right to due process in connection with any suspension and have the right to a full Board of Education hearing in connection with a long term suspension. Failure of a school district to follow its policies and procedures or the state regulations constitutes a denial of due process.

Private High School Students
New Jersey case law provides that a private high school is required to provide a student it is considering expelling with a two pronged process to satisfy a minimal level of due process. First the school must follow its written process and procedures which are usually contained in the school’s student handbook or code of conduct. Second, the school’s process and procedures must be fundamentally fair which generally includes notice and an opportunity to defend the charges.

College and University Due Process Rights
Both federal and state courts have held that collegiate students have due process rights as well. College students must be advised of the college’s rules and procedures prior to any violation. A student charged with misconduct must be provided with meaningful notice of the charges against the student and the student’s rights. The student must be provided with the opportunity to review the evidence. Finally the student must be given an opportunity to provide the student’s version of the events. Additionally, the colleges are required to follow the procedures set forth in their policies when investigating or pursuing charges against any student. Colleges provide the ability to appeal the charges and generally to have some form of hearing. College students should consult with an attorney regarding any charge that could lead to suspension, substantial loss of privilege or serious academic consequences. Generally, college students may not have their attorney or advocate conduct the disciplinary hearing but the student’s attorney or advocate is permitted to be present during the hearing. 

Special Needs Planning

As parents of children with special needs our attorneys understand that caring for a special needs child is a lifelong process and we provide assistance each step of the way.

Our professionals:

  • Develop special needs plans for your child
  • Prepare Educational Power of Attorney
  • File Guardianships
  • Draft Special Needs Trusts (SNT)
  • Revise Wills and Estate plans to ensure that any potential inheritance goes to the SNT
  • Assist with applications for governmental benefits, e.g., Social Security benefits, NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities, etc. 
  • File Social Security applications for reconsideration and appeals

Please contact us to learn more about our services or to schedule a consultation with an attorney or advocate.

Other Practice Areas