COTTER LAW GROUP

Education Law

As parents, we are the most important advocates for the academic success of our children. Unfortunately, school districts may prioritize financial considerations over what is in the best interest of the child. School districts often take advantage of the fact that parents are not aware of the applicable laws or the type of services that are available for their child. Our firm is committed to ensuring that parents know their rights when it comes to the school district’s responsibilities in educating our children.

Whether parents are seeking to obtain an initial evaluation of their child’s needs, a change in the services already approved for their child, or in confronting disciplinary action taken against their child, our firm is here to help.

Based on federal and state laws, your child is entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). Since every child’s educational needs are different, what constitutes an appropriate education and the least restrictive environment is based on the individual child and her or his needs.

Our objective is to assist you in receiving the full array of services which your child is entitled to under the law. This may involve our assistance at meetings with the school district, including at Committee on Special Education (CSE) meetings, 504 meetings, or at an impartial hearing after filing a due process complaint against the district. Simply put, our goal is to advocate on behalf of your child and to assist you in being an effective and successful advocate for your child.

The Educational Needs of the Student

Parents have the right to ask the school district to perform a variety of assessments in order to determine whether the child qualifies for special education services. It is important to note that even if a child does not qualify for the full panoply of services under the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA), she or he may still be entitled to services under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. We can assist parents with obtaining the services needed to assist their child with obtaining the appropriate level of education required by law. Some of these services may include extended time for taking tests, the use of calculators, one-to-one aides, receiving copies of class notes, or additional time to complete tasks.

Most parents are not aware that there are a variety of educational placements available for their child. While the school district will most likely suggest the most economical placement, our firm is committed to obtaining the most appropriate educational placement for your child. This may mean that we advocate for your child to remain in a mainstreamed classroom, a class with a smaller student-teacher ratio, home instruction or an alternate placement such as a private school or a school for students with special needs. It is important to remember that the school district may be responsible for contributing to the whole, or partial, cost of an alternative placement for your child. Our goal is to support you in obtaining the proper placement and services for your child.

Disciplinary Matters

Although a school district is entitled to punish students for inappropriate conduct, the district does not have free reign in terms of the type or duration of such sanctions. This is especially true in the case of a student who already has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) in place. However, regardless of whether the child is classified as a special education student, our firm can assist you in resolving the disciplinary situation in such a way that results in the least possible disruption to your child’s education.

Our firm supports parents in negotiating acceptable resolutions to all types of disciplinary matters, including those involving informal meetings with the district and the more formal superintendent hearings. Our goal is always to ensure that the child is not wrongfully punished or does not receive an penalty which is inappropriate.

Support for the Child and the Family

School Districts tend to take advantage of the fact that parents are not familiar with the law when it comes to the education of the child. While most parents believe that the school prioritizes the best interest of the child, the fact of the matter is that many times this is not the case. Our firm is ready to assist you in fighting for what’s in your child’s best interest, whether this involves a request for an initial evaluation, a change in classification, a change in services, a change in placement, or in dealing with a disciplinary matter.