Most of the time parents and teachers can work through the minor issues that arise when educating students such as homework completion, off task behavior, and miscommunication. But when teachers start talking about IEPs, BIPs, and IDEA, it can seem like the school staff are speaking another language. Students with disabilities are afforded protections under the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act as well as the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Attorneys can assist parents in navigating and understanding these protections as well as advocating for their child’s needs.
If I have been asked to attend an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting, should I bring an attorney?
An attorney can meet with parents and provide education and guidance in advance of an IEP meeting so that parents feel prepared to attend on their own. Attorneys can also attend an IEP meeting with parents to ensure that the decisions made represent what the child needs and should be afforded under the applicable laws.
Will the school staff think I am taking an adversarial position and treat me differently if I bring an attorney to a meeting?
It depends on the personality of the school staff and the personality of the attorney. Our attorneys work respectfully and collaboratively with school staff focusing the meeting on agreements to benefit the child. Both Mr. Chance and Mrs. VanCleef were teachers first and they have intimate knowledge of public school dynamics and decision making processes. This experience is invaluable to parents not only in understanding the law and legal protections but why school teams recommend certain programs and instructional approaches.
What should I do if I do not agree with decisions made at an IEP meeting?
Consulting an attorney as soon as possible can ensure that you access and utilize the necessary dispute resolution mechanisms set forth to protect your child. Time can be of the essence where the disagreement involves a change of placement or disciplinary removal. Our attorneys are extremely knowledgeable and experienced in the field of education and can assist parents in choosing the mechanism that best suits their child’s needs as well as advocating on behalf of the child.