Raising A Special Education Student: Knowing Your Child’s Rights

Far too many parents believe that special education programs limit their child's potential. However, the truth is that children who participate in these programs are provided many legal rights that other students may not receive. It is these rights that will help your child to realize their true potential, but only if you understand these rights and how they can be used to advocate for your child.

The Right To Be Informed

Any time that a change is made to your child's education plan, both you and your child have the right to be informed of this change before it goes into effect. Furthermore, both you and your child have the right to be present at any meetings regarding your child's education and proposed changes to their individual education plan. If you or your child disagree with the proposed changes, you have a right to challenge the school district's decision, and in some cases, you will even have the right to refuse the proposed services. If your child's school district failed to inform you of any changes to your child's special education services, you should contact a special education attorney like those at the Law Office of Mark W Voigt or advocate immediately to explore your legal options.

The Right To Be Forgiven

Children with special education needs often suffer from physical, mental, or emotional handicaps that may limit their ability to behave in the same way as a general education student. Consequently, it is expected that these students will make mistakes throughout their educational career that may result in serious consequences for a general ed student.

If your child has been the subject of a disciplinary issue, it is important to understand that special education laws protect your child from certain types of discipline if their actions were a result of their disability. This is determined through what is known as a manifestation meeting. If it is found that your child's behavior was a manifestation of their disability, educational services cannot be taken from your child as a result of this action. Furthermore, the amount of time that your child is to remain out of school as a consequence for their action will be severely limited. During this time, tutoring services may be made available to your child.

The Right To Legal Counsel

All special education students and their parents have the right to be represented by legal counsel during any meetings regarding the child's education. If you are unable to retain counsel prior to a meeting or if your counsel is unable to attend at the originally scheduled time, you have the right to request the meeting be rescheduled in order to allow your counsel to be present. Furthermore, your student has the right to continue receiving educational services until the meeting can be rescheduled.