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Parental Rights for Special Education Students in New Jersey

As parents, and taxpayers, you have a right to fight for every last bit of assistance your child needs and is entitled to receive in your school district.

For the most part, school districts throughout Camden County are incredibly responsive and work tirelessly to make sure children receive the best education possible based on their own specific needs. However, while school officials know special education laws, it does happen that teachers, guidance counselors and child study team professionals make decisions that parents feel are not in the best interests of their children.

As parents, and taxpayers, you have a right to fight for every last bit of assistance your child needs and is entitled to receive in your school district. In fact, you have special education parental rights. You also have the right to fight special education classification if you feel that’s in your child’s best interests. At the Education law firm of Davis & Mendelson, we will protect your parental rights regarding your child’s education. We will work tirelessly to make sure your child gets what they need to grow and prosper in school.

What are the Special Education Placement Options in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, your request to have your child evaluated and possibly classified must be taken seriously by every school district in Voorhees, Mt. Laurel, Cherry Hill and all New Jersey communities. The child study team in your school must do whatever is necessary to provide an appropriate and meaningful education in the least restrictive environment for your child. That’s the law in Camden County and throughout New Jersey.

It’s important to note, also, that a school may initiate the evaluation process. However, if parents do not want their child evaluated for special education classification, the school will need to get approval from the district’s administrator to move ahead with the evaluation.

Contact Davis & Mendelson when you need assistance challenging your school district’s decision to evaluate your child for special needs education.

Four Types of Special Education Classrooms

Following your child’s evaluation, and depending on the results, there are generally four types of environments where a student in NJ can be placed:

Inclusion or Mainstream Class: The child is placed in a regular classroom, with a regular teacher. The class is age appropriate and the child is learning alongside his or her peers. In many school districts, a special education teacher will be in the classroom to make sure your child is able to keep up with the pace and substance of the curriculum.

Resource Room: If a child needs assistance in one or more particular subjects, they can be placed in a resource room with a special education teacher for just those subjects. These classes are much smaller than traditional classrooms and allow the teacher to offer more individualized assistance.

Self-Contained Class: A special needs child who requires significantly more routine and structure based on skill level, learning capabilities and/or behavior will be placed in a self-contained classroom. This is a very controlled setting with a specialized curriculum.

Out-of-District Placement: Children with specific learning or behavioral or special education discipline issues may be placed in a school outside of the district. There, the student will have appropriate structure and curriculum. Note, some schools send students to a self-contained classroom that is in a different neighborhood but in the same district. Out-of-building placements are a question of logistics (that’s where the class best suited for the child takes place) rather than simply education programming.

Once a determination is made, the child study team works with the student’s parents to develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for the child. In most cases, this process is done as a team approach; both teachers and parents want what’s best for the child and will work together to determine the best way to meet a child’s special education needs.

However, as a parent, if you disagree with the findings of the evaluation, contact Howard Mendelson for swift legal action against your school district on your family’s behalf.

What is a 504 Plan?

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal civil rights law that makes discrimination against children with disabilities illegal in public schools. As such, if your child has learning or attention issues that require accommodations, you can request an evaluation in an effort to put a 504 plan in place.

The 504 plan, available for eligible public school students in kindergarten through 12th grade, will dictate how the school will meet your child’s special needs to, according to the Act, “remove barriers” to educational learning. While many children with IEPs also have 504 plans that list modifications that can be made for your child, such as untimed testing.

However, since the description of the term “disability” regarding a 504 plan is very broad, it’s not uncommon for students with no IEP to still have a 504 plan in place. Children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD) and similar learning and attention disabilities may have 504 plans, for example, but they may not need a special education learning environment.

Voorhees Attorney Helps Families Fight Special Education Evaluation Results in South Jersey

Do you disagree with the findings of your child’s evaluation? As parents, you have a right to play a full and active part in the decision-making process regarding with environment and special needs accommodations your child receives on a daily basis in school.

If you do not agree with the findings of the evaluations or if you are having trouble getting your child evaluated in the first place, you need to contact Howard Mendelson of the Voorhees, NJ-based law offices of Davis & Mendelson. He focuses his practice on fighting for the educational rights of students throughout Camden County. He will fight for your family, too.

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