Seeking Civil Justice for Special Needs Children: Where do I begin?

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Every day parents of children with disabilities ask what I can do to ensure that my child receives a free appropriate public education and related services under the law. There are a number of steps these parents can take to seek “justice” for their children with disabilities.

The first step is to be able to pinpoint, if possible, when a school system is not providing appropriate instruction, services, programming or educational placement for their child. Many parents can express a “gut” feeling their child is not receiving an appropriate education but do not know what to do about it.

For many parents, they may post questions on social media such as Facebook, listservs, and to advocacy organizations to secure answers about their child’s special education program. Other parents may email, text, or call an educational professional, advocate, or other parent for advice. Most of the time, this may be enough to satisfy their immediate concerns. But in some cases, parents may continue to be find that their problems with the school system cannot easily be resolved through informal communications with teachers and administrators.

The next steps to seek justice for children tend to be harder.

Some parents may contact a parent advocate or special education attorney for advice on how to handle their situation. For many parents of children with disabilities this is a big step because of the financial commitment for professional advocacy services. It is also perceived at times by parents as creating a conflict or controversy with the school system by retaining such professionals. However, virtually all school systems have experience dealing with parent advocates and Lawrenceville GA special education attorneys. There really is little no resistance or retaliation by the school system for parents to retain advocates and attorneys to act on their behalf. Most of the time, when a parent retains an advocate for their child for an IEP meeting or other related special education matter, the parent and school system are usually able to resolve their differences. There are times, however, parents and school systems are unable to informally resolve their differences. In these cases, parents often retain the services of a special education attorney to file a complaint with the State Department of Education, the Office for Civil Rights, or file a due process complaint alleging violations of special education laws and regulations against the school system.

Thus parents can seek justice for their child with a disability at many different levels. Whether parents can obtain justice for their child with a school system depends on a number of factors, such as the parents’ and school system’s willingness to compromise, the parties’ ability to address multiple and sometimes complex educational issues, and the parents’ financial commitment for professional services and litigation. For a valuable resource on this subject, read www.wrightslaw.com.


captureThanks to our friends and contributors from Torin Togut Attorney at Law for their insight into seeking justice for children with special needs.

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