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Special Education Law
NJ School law provides important rights for children with disabilities and their parents not available to regular education students. Lentz & Gengaro LLP has a specific practice focus on NJ special education law and we advocate for the rights of disabled children and adults throughout New Jersey. We represent parents of children with learning disabilities engaged in disputes with local school districts. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act – otherwise known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or for those children not classified under the IDEA, a Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), gives parents of special education children the right to some of the following:
- Assessment and testing to determine special education eligibility and needs, including district-funded second opinions (independent evaluations)
- Access to their children’s school records
- The development of an appropriate Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 Plan
- Develop appropriate goals and objectives that match the child’s potential
- Develop a written IEP plan with your local school district’s personnel
- Dispute resolution with the school through an administrative and legal process
- The right to attend private school placements, including residential placements, at the expense of your local school district
- The right to attend public schools run by other school districts or other government entities at the expense of your local school district
- Services, such as a 1:1 aide, 1:1 instruction, social skill programming as well as speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy
- The right to accommodations in both school districts and private schools that accept tax dollars
Many special education cases in New Jersey can be settled through private settlement conferences or mediation with your local school district. This provides hope for both parents trying successfully address issues and meeting a student’s educational and special needs. Lentz & Gengaro LLP provides legal assistance to New Jersey clients in obtaining appropriate special education services and protecting children’s civil rights in educational matters, and it is prepared to litigate these cases in a court of law and handle appeals if necessary to Federal District Court.
Our NJ Education Attorneys Handle Disability
and Civil Rights Cases
Disabled children and/or children with behavioral problems can be subjected to inappropriate discipline to address undesirable behaviors. However, such methods may be ineffective and improper and act to reinforce the bad behavior rather than discourage it. Also, disabled children are often the victims of bullying or other forms of abuse by not only other students, but also staff in schools. If your child has been a victim of school imposed negative reinforcement techniques or bullying, a skilled NJ special education lawyer should be consulted to determine your legal options.
Of the nearly six million U.S. disabled students, all have the right to a free and appropriate education under the IDEA, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 504. The purpose of these federal laws is to provide disabled children with a meaningful education and the development of social skills. Under the federal law, disabilities are defined broadly and include:
- Mental retardation/Cognitive Delays
- Mental illness
- Emotional problems
- Hearing impairments
- Visual impairments
- Brain injuries
- Other learning disabilities
Confusions over the law may cause your school district to disagree that your child is disabled or to misdiagnose (inappropriately classify in the case of the IDEA) your child and/or offer him or her an inappropriate placement or program. A skilled NJ school law attorney can help ensure your child is properly evaluated and that an individualized education plan (IEP) or Section 504 Plan is developed for him or her.
Civil Rights Claims
Your child also has civil rights including the right not to be bullied, intimidated, or harassed. Anti-bullying laws prohibit written, verbal, or physical acts that inflict mental or physical harm on your child and his or her property. In addition to existing anti-bullying laws, New Jersey recently passed a new law requiring schools to adopt policies prohibiting electronic bullying through emails and websites. If your child has suffered such harassment, an education law firm in NJ can advise you of your rights and the legal remedies available in your situation.
New Jersey State Agencies: Disputes with the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) and the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF)
Our lawyers also can assist you with disputes with New Jersey State agencies, such as DDD, DYFS and DCF, including applications to have a child residentially placed or provided other services.
Special Education Attorneys That Advocate
For Parents and Children
Whether your child’s special education needs are not being met or he or she is the victim of civil rights violations, or if you need help in any kind of special education dispute resolution, civil rights violations, our NJ education law firm can help you find the right solution to the problem and achieve your legal goals.
Why Lentz & Gengaro LLP?We will provide you with personalized and thoughtful legal guidance and be available at your convenience. We will carefully outline your options, recommend the best available strategies and respond promptly to your inquiries. Whether we are negotiating an agreement, forging a new business, planning for the special education needs of a child or litigating a dispute, we work together with our clients to reach the desired result at an affordable rate.