Parents want to know their kids will get the best education possible. That is especially important when a child has special educational needs. What happens, though, when the system fails to provide for a kid's needs in accordance with the law? A special education lawyer can point you toward one of these four possible options.
Presumably, you've had quite a bit of contact with your school district about the situation. However, the best tactic may be to negotiate with the understanding you've retained counsel. Some districts simply don't take parents seriously and assume they'll buzz off if the school ignores them long enough.
Once they know you have counsel, they should refer the matter to an attorney they keep on retainer. With any luck, the school's counsel tells the district to straighten things out before it leads to a lawsuit.
In some cases, the harm involved can't be undone. While you may be able to negotiate a solution that addresses future needs, you might seek compensation on behalf of your special ed child to address previous concerns that the district didn't handle well. If the district sees the harm or at least listens to their counsel, that might mean a settlement. Usually, a settlement will include practical remedies for whatever was wrong and financial compensation for the harm to the child.
Some situations require court intervention. This doesn't necessarily mean you'll see a lawsuit all the way to a trial. However, a special education lawyer may ask a judge for an injunction.
An injunction is a court order intended to stop harm while a matter is pending legal consideration. Suppose a school board announced it plans to cut a program a student needs. The student's family might seek an injunction to prevent the cessation of the program.
Generally, a judge will encourage the parties to try to sort things out through negotiation. However, a district might not concede to special education students' needs. If that remains the case after you've exhausted other potential remedies, you may have to sue the school.
Typically, districts don't take such matters all the way to trial. Once the court and the parties conclude discovery, the district may settle if the child's family likely has the upper hand. If the district's case is bad enough, your attorney may even ask the court for a summary judgment against the school.
However, if nothing else resolves the matter and the judge recognizes the validity of your case, the court will likely order a trial. A jury will hear both sides' arguments, determine who is in the right, and decide what the remedy should be.