Special Education Law
Attorney Curran will advocate on behalf of you and your child and ensure proper development and implementation of your child's IEP.
This advocacy can happen at the table or behind the scenes.
This advocacy will include, some if not all of, the following services:
- Provide a comprehensive document review and case analysis -highlighting strengths and weaknesses
- Advising families throughout the Team process and providing recommendations for next steps
- Assisting with assessing potential placement options
- Attend Team meetings, as appropriate, and communicate directly with the school district, again as appropriate
- Assist with obtaining an independent education evaluation
Attorney Curran can handle the legal aspects of your child's school discipline concerns.
The Individuals with Disables Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that gives students with disabilities a legal right to a Free, Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment, and provides procedural protections in school discipline matters. IDEA also requires schools to provide services that address behavior issues of students with disabilities including behavior that violates the school discipline code.
- A child with a disability can be disciplined in the same way was as students without disabilities for up to 10 days.
- An expulsion, suspension or other removal from school for more than 10 days is considered a "change in educational placement" for which IDEA provides increased protection.
- If the misconduct which led to the disciplinary action was a "manifestation" of the child's disability, the child should be returned to their placement, unless the team agrees to a new placement.
- Even if a student with a disability is suspended or expelled, they are still entitled to school services during the period of removal from school.
Teens have several rights that they may not be aware of such as being able to access their school records, the right to a safe and bully free learning environment and once they turn 18 years of age new legal expectations.
Attorney Curran can help education your teen regarding their rights.
What is the law on bullying?
- The law prohibits bullying and cyber-bullying in schools. It requires teachers to be trained every year on bullying.
- All school employees are required to report suspected bullying. All reports are then investigated by the principal.
What is “bullying”?
- Bullying is the repeated use of written, spoken, or physical acts or gestures directed at a victim that:
- Causes physical or emotional harm or damage to the victim’s property;
- Makes the victim fearful of harm to him/herself or of damage to her/his property;
- Creates a hostile environment for the victim;
- Infringes on rights of the victim at school; or
- Disrupts the educational process or the orderly operation of the school
For all above services, Limited Assistance Representation is available.
Limited Assistance Representation is when an attorney represents or assists a party with part, but not all, of his or her legal matter, instead of the standard full representation on an entire case. Limited Assistance Representation is much more economical and cost-efficient. The attorney and party enter into a detailed agreement defining what tasks the attorney will be responsible for and what tasks the party will be responsible for. Rather than paying for months or even years of legal representation, you can seek legal advice for select issues or tasks such as but not limited to:
Document review: thoroughly review IEPs, 504s, evaluations, assessments, progress reports and report cards and discuss and explain the content to you.
Consultation/Coaching: evaluate, analyze and help develop a strategy for a particular situation; given you legal advice and inform you of your options.
Specific Services: assist you with a specific service such as ghost-writing a response or request to the district regarding an issue or concern.
Limited-Scope Attorney Appearance: when appropriate I can attend meetings such as Re-evaluations, Eligibility Determination and other Team Meeting.
MA Dept. of Elementary & Secondary Education works with more than 350 local school districts to improve public education and provide educational programs and services.
U.S. Department of Education is a good source of guidance regarding legislation, regulations and policy documents related to Education.
Dept. of Mental Health currently serves about 27,000 adults, adolescents and children through an array of inpatient and community-based services, such as residential and intensive residential services, case management and community support in six areas of the state.
Dept. of Children & Families has a central dictate to strengthen families, where child abuse or neglect has occurred. There are currently more than 8,000 children in foster care across Massachusetts and more than 40,000 children in all served by the Department.
The Bureau of Special Education Appeals ("BSEA") conducts mediations, issues advisory opinions and holds hearings to help resolve disputes among parents and school districts.
DESE - Bullying Prevention and Intervention Resources this link will bring you the Massachusetts Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education’s “Model Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan” as well as links to resources to support a child/family dealing with bullying.