Elizabethtown Education Law Attorney

What's the law?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (also known as IDEA or IDEIA) is a federal law that ensures students with disabilities are afforded a "free appropriate public education." This is provided by identifying those students with special needs and providing them with services that meet those needs. The school bears the burden of identifying a child who may have a disability. Children may qualify for services in a wide range of categories based on their underlying disability and how that disability manifests in a hardship to their education.

The process under the law is the same, though individual cases may vary. The school must have policies and procedures in place to identify students who may qualify for services under IDEA and have that student tested to see if he or she does in fact qualify. A parent can also request this testing for their child by making a request to the school, in writing. It is very important to keep a record of all communications with the school. Once a child is tested the Admissions and Release Committee (ARC) hosts a meeting to determine whether the child qualifies for services. There may be a number of people at this meeting, including the parent and child. A parent has the right to attend any and all of his or her own ARC meetings, and must be careful not to waive this right. You also have a right to have an attorney present. The school must notify parents about any and all ARC meetings scheduled in regards to that parent's child and provide them with the purpose of calling the meeting. ARC meetings are a way to be involved first-hand in educational decisions made regarding your child.

How do I know my child needs a lawyer?

Each individual case varies as to whether your child needs a lawyer. If you are unfamiliar with IDEA, ARC meetings, or a child/parents rights in education, the process can be daunting. Dowan Law Offices provides an initial consultation free of charge if you suspect your child needs educational advocacy.

  • Your child has behavioral problems at school that arise from a prior diagnosis.
  • You suspect your child may have a disability, but have been unable to receive any help from the school to accommodate him or her.
  • Your child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 Accommodation Plan (504 Plan) but it is insufficient or not being followed.
  • Your child was expelled from school or excessively disciplined for a behavioral incident that arose as a manifestation of his or her disability.
  • The school is testing your child to see if he or she qualifies for services, but you're unsure what to ask for/what your rights are.
  • Your child had an IEP or 504 Plan, but the school stopped providing services.
  • Your child is in an alternative placement that is not providing proper education for your child.

This list is certainly not an exhaustive list of scenarios that may indicate your child's need for a lawyer. To set up a free consultation to discuss your specific situation, call (270) 234-0760.