When Due Process Fails: Filing a Lawsuit on Behalf of a Student with Special Needs

Federal law requires students with special needs or disabilities to have an Individual Education Plan (IEP). An IEP that in theory is created by a team from the school and parents to set forth the educational supports and services to help your child reach his or her learning potential. In reality, the process may be stacked against the parent and the child. The purpose though is to ensure that students with disabilities and special needs are supported equipped with the assistance and help to succeed in their educational programs. If you believe that your child is not getting the proper treatment or assistance and help that he or she deserves, you can challenge the IEP and file for a due process hearing.

According to Tennessee’s Department of Education, a due process hearing is a way for parents and school districts to resolve disputes. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will hear complaints regarding the education of your child, and all parties involved will provide evidence to show the facts of their arguments. Afterwards, the judge will establish a final written order that gives a solution and concludes the hearing.

While this may seem like an effective way for parents to advocate for their student’s needs, the due process hearing can fail if the parents disagree with the ALJ’s final decision, or their child is still not getting the help that they deserve. When this happens, the parents can appeal the decision and prepare to go to state or federal court.

Can I file a lawsuit if my child’s school does not create or follow an IEP?

If your child’s school fails to create or follow an IEP after an order was put in place by a judge, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the school district. Most parents are intimidated by large school districts and want to remain on good terms with their children’s schools, which often keeps them from fighting for their student’s needs.

However, the Law Office of Perry A. Craft, PLLC believes that your child could suffer in the long run if you do not ensure that he or she does not have the proper education that they need. Attorney Craft will remain by your side throughout the entire process, working endlessly to stand up and advocate for your student’s rights. Our law office takes these cases very seriously and will do everything we can to make sure your child gets the proper treatment and educational opportunities that they deserve.

How do I know if it is time to contact an education lawyer?

If you have gone through the necessary steps to ensure that your child receives the education that they deserve but your attempts have been ineffective, it may be time to contact an education lawyer. Once you contact a lawyer, they will listen to your experience, provide you with advice on what to do, and file a lawsuit on your student’s behalf. At the Law Office of Perry A. Craft, PLLC, we understand that your child comes first in your life, and we are here to make sure that they are treated with the utmost respect and fairness when it comes to their educational needs.

How can my child qualify for an IEP?

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) law, children with disabilities are legally required to have an IEP based on their learning needs. Therefore, when it is suspected that a child may have special needs, parents and teachers may request that they be tested. If the tests show that the child needs more assistance with learning, an IEP must be developed with the child’s needs in mind. Here are a few of the disabilities that may qualify your child for an IEP:

  • Hearing issues or impairments
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Emotional issues
  • Blindness or vision issues
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Learning disabilities
  • Autism
  • Developmental or functional delays
  • Health impairments
  • Language or speech issues
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Other health impairments

The Law Office of Perry A. Craft, PLLC believes that children with special needs have the right to educational opportunities that are tailored to their individual and unique needs. Therefore, we stand and fight with parents on behalf of their children to ensure that they receive the tools, materials, and resources to succeed as students.

If you are ready to talk to a lawyer about your questions and concerns regarding your child’s learning needs, contact special education Attorney Craft today. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a consultation. He is familiar and up to date on the various school districts around Nashville and will keep you informed on your case and what is next in the process.