The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (I.D.E.A.) requires school districts to provide all students with disabilities a free, appropriate public education ("FAPE"). School districts must identify, appropriately assess, and provide appropriate education for all students with disabilities. Even students placed in private schools have certain rights as well. Under the I.D.E.A., the parent's only recourse is due process.
Education law is complex, and it takes more than a law degree to navigate the realm of special education. Many parents turn to special education attorneys to assist them with their child's Individualized Education Program (I.E.P.) or due process.
We are passionate about helping students and their parents to receive their FAPE, whether through the IEP or 504 process or through due process.
Contact us today for a free consultation and discuss options for your child.
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U.S. Supreme Court alert:
October 4, 2017
A petition for certiorari has been filed in the 9th Circuit case M.C. v. Antelope Valley Union High School District. In this case, a California school district is challenging the 9th Circuit's ruling that it denied a blind high school student a free appropriate public education (FAPE) when the district increased the number of service minutes in the student's IEP without his parent's knowledge or consent. The court of appeals held that the unilateral IEP amendment impeded the parent's participation in the IEP process by hindering her ability to monitor the implementation of her son's services.
Petitions also have been filed and are currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court in other special education cases:
Gohl v. Livonia Public Schools (6th Circuit, Michigan) regarding physical mistreatment of a 3-year old by a special education teacher; and
Ms. M. v. Falmouth School Department (1st Circuit, Maine) regarding prior written notice.
In N.E. v. Seattle School District (9th Circuit, Washington) regarding stay-put and a "two-stage" IEP, cert was denied, so the 9th Circuit decision stays intact.
E.F. v. Newport Mesa Unified Sch. Dist. (9th Circuit, California) regarding assistive technology evaluation was sent back to the lower court for re-examination in light of the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District.
We will continue to monitor the status of these cases.
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Experience and Compassion
Monumental Supreme Court Case
In the landmark 2017 special education case Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, the first special education case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court since Rowley in 1982, the Court was asked to clarify exactly what kind of “educational benefits” an IEP must provide, or more specifically, "what is the level of educational benefit that school districts must confer on children with disabilities to provide them with the free appropriate public education guaranteed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq.?"
"Disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of individuals to participate in or contribute to society. Improving educational results for children with disabilities is an essential element of our national policy of ensuring equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities."
20 U.S.C.§1400(c)(1) (2007)
Special Education Attorney
San Diego, California