Is a School Denying Your Special Needs Child his or her Rights?

Tennessee special education lawyers ensure that every child receives the educational benefits they need in Nashville, Chattanooga, Memphis, and Jackson

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) guarantees qualified disabled children free, appropriate public education. This is defined as “special education and related services that are provided at the public’s expense under public supervision and direction, and which meet the standards of the State’s educational agency.” It must include appropriate preschool, elementary, or secondary school education in the state and be in conformity with an individualized education program (IEP), together with parental participation for each disabled child.

The objectives of IDEA and IEPs are to meet the unique needs of each disabled child, prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living, and to accomplish this in neighborhood schools rather than in specialized schools or institutions. For these purposes “neighborhood schools” include private, publicly funded, and charter schools. States are eligible for federal funding if they submit a fiscal plan that assures the federal government that they have in place policies that meet IDEA’s various conditions.

If your child has a disability and has been denied the needed supports and services, or is being segregated because of his or her disability, you should seek the counsel of a Tennessee special education attorney. The lawyers at Gilbert Russell McWherter Scott Bobbitt, PLC have a distinguished record of advocacy on behalf of special needs children. Trust the Gilbert Firm to assert your rights and those of your child.

How does the law protect children with special needs when parents, educators, and administrators disagree?

Parents should be able to provide valuable input about their child to help determine placement and other educational goals. Success requires ongoing two-way communication about decisions concerning a student. IDEA includes procedural safeguards to protect the rights of children with disabilities and their families, and to ensure that disabled children receive the benefits to which the law entitles them. These include:

  • The opportunity for parents to review their child’s full educational records
  • Parental participation in IEP team meetings and placement decisions
  • Prior written notice of IEP changes
  • The right of parents to request independent educational evaluations at public expense
  • Due process hearings
  • Mediation funded by the state education agency

Parents and teachers alike are able to challenge any decision they feel is inappropriate. If a disagreement arises between a parent and a school about the student’s special education, placement, or teaching, a due process hearing can be requested to resolve the issues. All parties are then able to tell their sides of the issue in a quasi-judicial setting. The alternative, mediation, is available in lieu of a due process hearing. If the outcome of a due process hearing or mediation is unsatisfactory to the parent or the school, a civil action may then be brought by either.

Let our Tennessee attorneys defend your special needs child’s rights  

The Gilbert Firm has built a solid reputation of success in special education law. Our attorneys represent clients in IDEA cases in due process hearings and federal courts. If you believe that your child is being wrongfully deprived of educational rights to which they are entitled by IDEA, we want to hear from you. Please call 888.354.FIRM (3476) to discuss your complaint with an experienced Tennessee special education lawyer, or fill out our contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our offices are conveniently located in Nashville, Chattanooga, Memphis, and Jackson.