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Education Law Attorneys in Fishers

Helping Children Have the Best School Experience Possible

Raising a child may be the “toughest job you’ll ever love,” but parents of children with special needs often find it challenging—even frustrating—to deal with their schools. When children are at school, they do not enjoy the same rights as we do, and parents are at a real disadvantage when it comes to dealing with teachers and administrators. Do not try to fight for your child’s education rights alone. Get the help of Fishers education lawyers by calling Massillamany Jeter & Carson LLP today.

Let us deal with school teachers and administrators. Call (317) 434-1490 now or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with Massillamany Jeter & Carson LLP.

How Schools Stay Protected

The law provides substantial protections to public schools, as they operate under different laws and rules than the rest of us. These complex and confusing laws include Tort Claims Act notice requirements, immunities, and limitations on recovery. Many of them seem unfair to parents and their children. We are passionate advocates for children with disabilities and will fight for our clients to ensure they receive the services and support which they need in order to be successful in school.

We have the knowledge and experience to help parents even the playing field and navigate the uncharted waters of education law.

We represent families with claims against public school districts involving:

  • Due Process Hearings
  • Eligibility disputes
  • Evaluation requests
  • Suspensions and expulsions
  • Manifestation Determinations
  • Restraint and seclusion
  • Disability discrimination
  • Bullying
  • Personal injury
  • Sexual abuse
  • Neglect/abuse
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations
  • Section 504 plans
  • Civil rights

Special Education – It’s a Right, Not a Privilege

All children have the right to an education. The Indiana special education attorneys of Massillamany Jeter & Carson LLP have earned a reputation as leaders representing children with special needs.

Our firm represents many clients with special needs including:

  • Autism
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Down Syndrome
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Epilepsy and seizure disorders
  • ADD and ADHD
  • Mental illness, mood and conduct disorders
  • Speech impairment
  • Asperger Syndrome
  • Paraplegia/quadriplegia

In this era of staff shortages and budget cuts, many public schools are not providing the services needed by students with disabilities. Many parents don’t realize that federal law requires schools to provide services to special needs students.

In those cases, we may bring a Due Process hearing request against the school under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). These are administrative proceedings filed with the Indiana Department of Education, which appoints an Independent Hearing Officer to render a decision. Under IDEA, the State Department of Education has to have rules and policies in place to make sure that state-funded schools comply with federal law.

IDEA gives parents of disabled students the right to:

  • Assessments to determine the child’s eligibility for services
  • Inspect school records regarding their child
  • Attend case conferences and have input in an IEP
  • Request a due process hearing to resolve disagreements with the school over the special needs child’s education or IEP

IDEA requires public schools to identify and evaluate children with special needs and disabilities each school year. IDEA requires the school district to provide disabled students with specific education resources and services.

Some common examples of violations by schools include:

  • Poorly drafted IEPs (Individual Education Plans)
  • Failure to identify, locate and evaluate (Child Find)
  • Not implementing IEPs as written
  • Wrongful suspensions, expulsions or other removals from school
  • Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
  • Shortened school schedule
  • Wrongful restraint or seclusion
  • Inappropriate placement
  • Inadequate related services

Article 7 contains Indiana’s special education rules. These rules are designed to conform to the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA).

Article 7 sets forth the school’s responsibility to provide disabled students with a free appropriate education (FAPE). It requires the state to provide disabled students between the ages of 3-22 with a FAPE. Special education services must be rendered in the least restrictive environment (LRE), meaning that disabled students are integrated with their typical peers as much as possible.

Under Article 7, a student is eligible for special education services if he falls under one or more categories of disability:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Blind or visually impaired
  • Cognitive disability
  • Deaf or hearing impaired
  • Deaf and blind
  • Developmental delay
  • Emotional disability
  • Language or speech impairment
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Other health impairment
  • Orthopedic impairment
  • Specific learning disability
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

Cases involving other claims may be filed in state or federal court. We work closely with your child’s psychologists, therapists, mental health providers, and other professionals to develop a plan designed to maximize their potential.

Although many parents may believe that they cannot afford a lawyer, there is a provision in the law which may enable us to get the school to reimburse your attorney fees. We are happy to review your child’s IEP for no charge and give you a free phone consultation to let you know your options and what remedies are available under the law.

The Indiana special education attorneys at Massillamany Jeter & Carson represent special needs students who have disputes with school districts. Call one of our special education lawyers for a free consultation.

Call Fishers education law attorneys today by dialing (317) 434-1490.

Pursuing Damages Against a School District

Generally speaking, you cannot recover monetary damages under IDEA unless there is evidence that a school district has denied your disabled child FAPE.

We may be able to get you one or more of the following remedies available under the law:

  • An Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) by a private psychologist
  • An IEP which addresses all of your child’s special needs
  • Goals and services (therapies or counseling) to meet special needs
  • Extra help, including tutoring or 1:1 support
  • Compensatory services
  • Extended School Year (ESY)
  • Reimbursement for private school, services or mileage
  • Private placement
  • Attorney fees

Student Discipline

The prospect of your child being kicked out of school is frightening. If he or she gets in trouble at public school, this can leading to suspension, expulsion, placement in an interim setting and even juvenile criminal charges. Sometimes schools will call parents (often repeatedly) asking them to come pick up their child from school early if the child is having a rough day. The law gives substantial protections to students in special education as well as those who do not yet have an IEP if the school had reason to suspect the child had a disability. We can advise you of your child’s rights and may be able to help keep him in school.

If your child is being suspended or expelled from school, we can advise you of your rights and try to keep them in school. Students in special education have certain protections under the law which may enable us to prevent an expulsion. In certain cases, these legal protections may apply to students not yet eligible for special education if the school had known that they were qualified.

Parents turn to us for legal advice regarding:

  • Expulsions
  • Suspensions
  • Manifestation Determinations
  • Interim Alternative Educational Settings

A removal of a student for more than 10 consecutive school days or a series of removals that constitute a pattern is considered a “disciplinary change of placement.” The law requires public schools to follow certain procedures before making a disciplinary change of placement of students with disabilities, so you should consult a special education lawyer if you find your child in this situation.

It’s a good idea to document every time you are called by the school to come pick up your child so you can keep track of the removals. You may be entitled to compensatory educational services to make up for the lost time.

Issues with student discipline procedures also affect special needs students. Many parents think they don’t have a choice when the school proposes putting their special needs child on a half-day schedule or asks them to come pick him up early. However, under IDEA, disabled students are generally entitled to attend public school for the same hours as their typical peers; they can’t be sent home early or put on a shortened school day schedule just because their behaviors are difficult to manage.

Injuries at School

The law requires schools to use reasonable care and supervision over students. If your child is injured at school as a result of negligence or abuse, you may be entitled to recover monetary damages from the school district.

We handle cases involving:

  • Premises liability
  • Assaults
  • School shootings
  • Sexual harassment or abuse

Bullying

Bullying has become an epidemic in our schools. Children are humiliated on social media, harassed, called names, teased, ridiculed, intimidated, tormented, and physically assaulted. Some victims are so terrified of being bullied that they develop a school-based anxiety disorder and want to stay home. In many cases, their parents have spent months—even years—trying to get the school to take them seriously and hear their cries for help, only to be brushed off or ignored.

If there is evidence that the school knew or should have known that your children were being bullied and they suffered harm as a result, the school may be legally responsible and you could be entitled to recover monetary damages in state or federal court.

The cruelest place in the world is the playground. Kids who are overweight, skinny, have special needs or are just “different” get picked on at school every day. It may seem like just teasing to some people, but the results can be serious. Schools have a duty to protect your child from bullying. If your child is being bullied at school, the Indiana education attorneys of Massillamany Jeter & Carson may be able to help.

If you believe your child is being denied special education services at school or have questions about your legal rights, contact us today for a free consultation. Dial (317) 434-1490.

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