How to Enforce Your Legal Rights to Obtain Special Education Services

Why are legal services sometimes required?

Issues often arise between the school system and the parents concerning eligibility for special education services, the type of services that are legally required, and the environment in which services are going to be provided. Disputes also arise from time to time about whether an agreed upon individualized education program has actually been implemented by the system. When those disputes cannot be resolved at the local level, legal services are sometimes required.

What can you do if you have a disagreement with the system and you have been unable to resolve it?

You have the right under IDEA to request a hearing before the State Department of Education. This is called a "due process" hearing. A hearing officer will be appointed and he will resolve the issues between the parties. The hearing officers are not employees of the State Department of Education; they are administrative law judges who have a duty to make a fair and impartial decision under the law.

Why do you need an attorney?

Because the due process hearing is a legal proceeding, it is best to have an attorney to represent you in this hearing. The hearing is somewhat like a trial--although there is only a judge and the hearings are somewhat more informal than traditional court proceedings. Nonetheless you should be represented by an attorney.

Do you need further information or help in evaluating your situation?

Our firm can provide you with an opportunity to consult with an attorney who has had extensive experience in the field of education to evaluate your situation and to represent you in Due Process hearings.