Education in New Jersey is both a right and a privilege. In fact, students here should be proud that NJ is consistently ranked at the very top of many renowned lists ranking the 50 states in a variety of educational areas. Gifted and talented programs are usually spotlighted in these lists. However, special education students here have just as much of a right to go to school secure in the knowledge that they are getting the education that best fits their needs.
Most school districts and child study teams in Camden County, NJ, work very closely with parents to make sure all children are provided for at the optimum level possible. However, there are times when schools do not feel children need to be evaluated, or the evaluation results don’t match parent expectations. At these times, it’s understandable when families feel their student’s rights are being violated.
If you feel your child’s legal right to a meaningful and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment is being violated by your school district, contact skilled attorney Howard Mendelson today; he is extremely knowledgeable about education law in NJ. You have a right to have your child evaluated. You also have a right to fight the district’s decision to evaluate your child. Mr. Mendelson will stand up to your Camden County school district and protect your child’s rights.
What Are Your Child’s Rights Regarding Special Education Services in NJ?
Parents generally know best. This is true, to some extent, even when it comes to matters of education. A parent may not be a teacher, but parents are able to recognize when their child needs assistance in school.
If you suspect your child is battling a learning disability, or if you are certain of his challenges and want to make sure he has access to all special education options available, you must request that your child undergo an evaluation by the school’s child study team.
Most of the time, the school’s child study team (CST) will follow protocol and take steps to initiate the evaluation process. If the school doesn’t take your request for evaluation seriously in short order, you may need to pursue a legal route to get what your child needs.
If you suspect your child is battling a learning disability, or if you are certain of his challenges and want to make sure he has access to all special education options, you must request that your child undergo an evaluation by the school’s child study team.
The CST is usually made up of a psychologist, guidance counselor and teacher. Other professionals may be included on your child’s team. For example, if your child has occupational or physical therapy needs, those professionals will be part of the CST. You as the parent have a right to be present for all CST meetings.
After the school district’s professionals complete their evaluations, skills-based, psychological, etc., an individualized education program (IEP) must be developed based on your child’s specific needs.
IEP: Under IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) all students who are receiving special education services must have an IEP. This is a document that essentially lists the services the child’s needs and that the school district will be providing. This plan must be developed by school professionals with the parents’ input and acceptance.
504 Plan: Some classified children with IEPs also have 504 Plans in place. However, a 504 Plan, which describes special accommodations that will be made by the school to assist the student, can be developed for non-classified students, as well. Untimed testing, for children with anxiety issues, is a common example an a “accommodation” that may be included in a 504 Plan.
The rights of special education students are fairly straight forward, but negotiations between families and school districts are often anything but simple. If your child is being denied services you feel they are entitled to, you need to call us. If the school is trying to classify your child but you feel the amount of restriction is unnecessary, contact us today for a consultation about your child’s rights.
How a Voorhees Special Education Lawyer Can Help Your Family
The good news is that there are many different types of special education categories and environments that may be best for your child. The more challenging news is that many parents say, oftentimes in New Jersey, getting a child classified appropriately and in a timely fashion, is difficult.
If you can answer “yes” to some or all of the following questions, call a compassionate, child-centric law firm who will put your child first.
- Do you need help figuring out how to get started (getting your child evaluated by the school district?)
- Do you disagree with the findings of the evaluations?
- If your child is denied services, do you know your rights when it comes to being able to have your child re-evaluated at the school’s expense?
- Has the school held individualized education program (IEP) meetings about your child without inviting you?
- Have you been overruled or not listened to by school representatives at previous IEP meetings?
- Are your requests for the creation/changes to your child’s 504 plan being disregarded?
- Is the district denying what you think is necessary private or out-of-district school placement?
- Do you have any transportation issues arising from your child’s special needs that aren’t being resolved?
If it feels like you are fighting an uphill battle with your school district when it comes to getting the services your child needs, contact our offices today. We know that your child has every right to be educated in the most appropriate and least restrictive environment possible. If you live in Voorhees, Mt. Laurel, Medford, Moorestown, Cherry Hill or any other surrounding Camden County, NJ town, you can rely on Davis & Mendelson to join your fight and make sure your child’s rights won’t be denied.
Battling Your School District for Assistance with Your Special Needs Student’s IEP/504 Plan?
It’s not unusual for parents to find themselves “fighting City Hall” when it comes to getting what they want in a program their special needs child. Why? Often, a parent believes their child needs a more or less restrictive environment than the school’s assessment deems appropriate.
In other words, the school wants to put your child in a resource room but you think a mainstream environment with a teacher helper would be enough. Or, the child study team’s evaluation dictates that your child should be placed in a contained classroom but you think they would be better served by the more-costly out-of-district placement option.
IDEA requires that all New Jersey school district provide “fair and appropriate” educational services for special needs pupils. Failure to do so is illegal. Luckily, the in the vast amount of cases, Camden County schools do exactly what they are supposed to do and children receive the education they want, need and deserve.
However, if you do find yourself fighting “City Hall,” you have a right to have your own professionals fighting for your child’s right throughout the entire evaluation and IEP development process. Contact Davis & Mendelson today for a consultation.
Consult with a Skilled Lawyer Who Will Fight for Your Child’s Educational Rights
If your child needs educational assistance, you have the right to ask for it. After determining the most appropriate plan for your special needs student, the school district has the obligation to provide those services. If they don’t oblige or fail to accommodate your child to your satisfaction, take action.
Don’t give up your right to be heard if you feel your school district isn’t doing what’s best for your child. At Davis & Mendelson, we believe strongly that – at heart – you know what your child needs. We know what they are legally entitled to receive from your school district. Together, we can make sure your child thrives in the most appropriate educational setting possible. Contact our Voorhees, NJ office today for a full consultation about your case.