If you feel that your child is not receiving the appropriate level of education because a school or district has denied them either correct placement or classes for their special educational needs, you have the right to remedy the situation by filing a claim and requesting a hearing. The process can be complex, and you must be properly prepared, which makes it within your best interests to hire a special education attorney.
Due Process Complaint
You have the right to file a due process complaint which will lead to a hearing before a designated officer. Similar to a courtroom proceeding, but less costly and more time efficient, the purpose of the hearing is to determine whether your child has had access to the correct educational opportunities.
You do not have to go before a hearing officer alone. Instead, we can represent you during the hearing and ensure that your case is presented fully and accurately.
Be Specific in the Complaint
We can assist you in preparing your specific complaint. It is critical that you are able to clearly articulate your complaint in the fullest detail possible, including what led you to this point. Everything you submit will be read by the hearing officer, and we will make certain that nothing is omitted.
Prepare for Your Hearing
Preparing for your hearing involves spending time investigating what happened and gathering the appropriate evidence to prove your case. We will need to convince the hearing officer both that your claim is valid and that your child did not receive his or her entitled educational benefits.
To prepare, we will need to perform all of the following steps:
Gather Evidence – Provide any written correspondence you have had with the school, teachers, or administrators. Documentation on test or placement scores, class descriptions, and more can all be used to build a strong case. Speak with Expert Witnesses – Your child’s doctor, for example, could be an expert witness, testifying to the reason why your child needs to be part of a special education program. Prove Harm – If you are going to seek reimbursements or compensation beyond having your child placed in the appropriate classes, we will need to gather evidence to prove harm or financial loss. This may include receipts for a private tutor, the cost of private school tuition you have paid, and anything else related.
Options Before the Hearing
Just because you file a complaint, it does not necessarily follow that you will end up before a hearing officer. Very often the school or school district will try to settle the case outside of a hearing. In this situation, we can pursue mediation where both parties are able to negotiate back and forth without a binding commitment until an agreement has been reached.
If both sides do not agree, the hearing will proceed as scheduled. Either way, we will represent and counsel you every step of the process.
If you win, the law allows you to collect financial compensation for the following items:
Reasonable attorney’s fees
Cost of private tutoring or educational expenses
In-kind contributions for future educational opportunities
You Have Two Years
It's critical that you file your claim immediately because there is a two-year statute of limitations on special education cases. If you do not file in a timely fashion, you may be unable to do so—or at least be unable to recover any form of reimbursement or compensation.
Protecting Your Child
An experienced special education attorney can work to ensure that your school district honors the “Stay Put” provision so that your child is not impacted during the dispute process. If your child’s educational rights are not being represented, contact an attorney experienced in family law and special education.
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.
- FLORIDA INFORMATION PRESENTLY -
Request criminal background investigations, get self-help for Family Court and child support enforcement, check on active warrants, look up Court dates and traffic tickets, locate jail and prison inmates, get free legal services, download free legal forms for Court, be automatically notified of prisoner releases, check driver's license suspensions, verify status of professional licenses, research case law, look up statutes, code and ordinances, check a corporation's status, obtain fishing and hunting licenses, worthless check prosecution, criminal expungement information, copyright and trademark rights…
...and more resources and states coming soon.
PLEASE WATCH OUR
NEW ANIMATED "EXPLAINER VIDEO",
JUST CLICK ON BOX BELOW.