With recent threats from a local school board to sue the New Jersey State Commissioner of Education because of cuts to school funding, we’re reminded of the importance of understanding the rights that parents and teachers have when it comes to the education of special needs children. The Brick Township Public School board is suing because they believe that the proposed cuts to funding are unfair, especially in light of the unique educational requirements of their special needs students.
Special needs laws can be tricky, especially because legal rights associated with the benefits entitled to special needs children require a high burden of proof. At the Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. we care not just about successfully fighting for your rights, but also about pursuing the holistic wellbeing of your child. We’re here to help you ensure that your child gets the education and care that he or she deserves.
In order to complete your special needs child’s education in the most fulfilling, supportive, and cost-effective way, it’s important to understand not just what your child deserves, but what he or she is entitled to under law.
The Special Needs Laws in New Jersey
On May 17, 1954, segregated schools were deemed unequal by the United States Supreme Court, because separating children of the same or similar age and qualifications deprived students of equal treatment under the law. This ruling sparked a revolution in education law because it made it possible for families with special needs children to start filing suits against their individual school districts for segregating students based on disabilities.
Since then, many rulings have been implemented protecting the educational rights of special needs children, including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, Public Law 94-142 (Education for all Handicapped Children Act of 1975), the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004.
So what do these laws make possible for special needs children? Federal law requires that every child is able to receive a free and appropriate education in the most supportive environment possible, regardless of disabilities.
How to understand if your child’s rights aren’t being met
Your child is entitled to fair and equal treatment not only to ensure a safe and proper education, but also to protect against the unnecessary emotional stress or the damaging psychological effects of feeling inferior. And you as the parent deserve these rights because completing your child’s education without financial help is often unaffordable, and constantly fighting for your child’s education is stressful and unfair.
With the help of an attorney, you can determine if your child’s school is ignoring your child’s rights and needs. We encourage you to meet with your child’s teacher for an initial evaluation to see if an individualized Education Program (IEP) can be established, allowing for the personalized requirements needed for an adequate education for your child. If you feel that a request regarding the IEP is not being honored, we can help you understand the legal requirements.
How to Intervene when Necessary
Sometimes, the requests you make on behalf of your child are not granted. To find out if and how you should pursue legal steps, don’t hesitate to ask an expert New Jersey special needs lawyer like the Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.