As staunch and experienced child advocates, we ensure that school districts comply with education laws and regulations, provide appropriate educational services with typical peers to the maximum extent possible and make needed accommodations for allergies and other disabling conditions. We also strive to prevent discrimination against those with actual or perceived disabilities, and address violations of the constitutional rights of parents or students. In addition, we represent parents who are seeking guardianship of their children when they reach age 18.
We also assist parents when their children are being harassed or bullied by other students or adults, or when they have questions about their child's rights when they are ill and unable to attend school.
As consultants, we provide guidance on many other educational issues, including discipline, drug testing, test accommodations, changing class or teacher assignments, early admission to kindergarten or first grade, changing grades and participation in interscholastic activities.
Special Education Consultation
Parents often seek our help in navigating the special education process under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. We guide them, on their children's behalf, through issues such as eligibility, evaluations, preparation and enforcement of Individualized Education Programs (IEP's), placement in programs with typical peers and funding for private school placements and early intervention services. We represent children who are being discriminated against because of a disability or when a school district refused to make accommodations for allergies or other disabling conditions. We also provide consultation on obtaining services and accommodations through Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act or New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
Mediation and Litigation
When disputes arise, parents rely upon us to represent them in mediations and to handle litigation before the Office of Administrative Law, Commissioner of Education, and federal and state courts. We have represented parents and students in precedent-setting educational cases in federal court involving, among other issues, compensatory education, standard for appropriate education and when damages can be awarded.
Advocacy for Changes in Laws and Regulations
When the United States Supreme Court reversed long-standing case law placing the burden of proof on school districts in special education administrative hearings, some school districts used this to make it more difficult for parents to obtain the services their children required. We worked with parents and advocacy groups to enact a state statute placing the burden of proof back on school districts. We were also co-counsel in litigation objecting to changes in state special education regulations, and succeeded in setting aside, or getting the state to modify, some of the proposed regulations that were detrimental to students.