Frequently Asked Questions about Special Education Law

Why do I need a special education attorney?

It is understandable to be hesitant to approach a school lawyer. Parents often think that the presence of an attorney or an advocate will make their School District more defensive or in the worst case lead to retaliation against their child.

The truth is that the consequences for retaliation against Parents or Students can be more serious than the consequences for the infraction you contacted a school lawyer for in the first place. School districts are prohibited from retaliating against families of students with special needs for advocating for their children and exercising their legal rights.

A special education lawyer can not only advise you of your student’s rights, but she can also provide insight into how school departments operate. During IEP meetings, the attorney can take note of anything school district personnel say that may be a violation of the law. The attorney also knows if the proper personnel are included in the meeting (failure to have certain staff there may also be a violation). Even if you choose to attend IEP meetings on your own, attorneys can advise you of what to ask for and what to look out for. And is is always a good idea to consult an attorney before signing any IEPs or amendments.

Additionally, a consultation with a lawyer who has knowledge of school related issues can assist you in determine whether your matter is worth pursuing. This firm will not take cases that do not have legal merit.

We are always willing to consult with families that believe they have suffered injustice at all levels of education. Call a lawyer at Holly Lynch Law today for a free case assessment.

How much does an education attorney cost?

There is no predetermined answer to this question. Every case has unique challenges. What we can say is that we work within each client’s budget to ensure that we are able to advocate for children at all income levels. Often times children in lower income school districts need the greatest level of advocacy. It is never an excuse for a district to tell you that they cannot afford to provide your child with an appropriate education. Lack of financial resources should never be a reason to not advocate for a child. At Holly Lynch Law, we can tailor the scope of the representation to fit your economic situation.

Is there any difference between Massachusetts and New Hampshire education law?

Yes. New Hampshire laws mirror the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), whereas Massachusetts adds some parent-friendly protections. Some differences include timelines: evaluations in Massachusetts must be completed within 45 days of the parents signing the consent form. In New Hampshire, districts have 60 days. Another difference is requesting the student’s educational records: schools in Massachusetts have 10 school days, but in New Hampshire, the law allows for producing them in “reasonable time.”

My child cannot learn remotely. Do I have any rights?

Even during COVID, school districts have an obligation to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). If your child is unable to complete work in a remote environment–whether it is difficulty logging on, concentrating, or even submitting assignments remotely–he or she is not accessing the curriculum, which violates FAPE. Additionally, school districts still have an obligation to fulfill the services on the IEP. If your child is struggling to learn in this format, it is highly advisable that you contact an attorney.

I’m so confused, I need help, what do I do?

This is not unusual! Especially for parents who have no experience in education. How are you supposed to know what you are entitled to? Yes, school districts are required to provide you with procedural safeguard notices, but these notices can be complicated to read and are general resources that are not specific to the facts of your particular case. At Holly Lynch Law, based on the specific details of your case, we can help to inform you as to what legal or equitable remedies may be available to your child.

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