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Old 01-13-2005, 02:43 PM   #11
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 44
Re: They want her out of the school!!

Every child is entitled, by law to a free and appropriate education. If your school system cannot provide your daughter with this, then they must pay for a non public school that can. Sounds simple, right? Wrong! The very first thing you need to do is file for a Due Process Hearing. Write a letter to your state's Special Education Hearing Office requesting a Due Process Hearing. Don't worry about what is going to happen at that hearing. You can always withdraw your request. Step two is to hire a lawyer or advocate. Attorney fees are only recoverable after you have filed for Due Process. The school district is also not required to reimburse attorney's fees billed for IEP meetings either, so keep that in mind if you want an attorney present during and IEP meeting. Generally, having an attorney at the meeting is overkill if you already know you are going to sue the district. It's fun to watch them make all the bad guys squirm, but bottom line is that it's $1000 for the pleasure watching the Principal put on the spot for non-compliance. I would recommend going to the IEP without your attorney, and let the school continue to hang themselves. Attorney's love IEP's like that. Chock full of evidence for a Due Process Hearing.

Bottom line, there are two ways you can go: Keep your child in the public school system, with a major overhaul to her educational and behavior plan (does the school even have a behavior plan for her? If not, more ammo for an attorney), or send her to a Non Public School that can meet her educational and behavioral needs, funded by your school district due to their failure to provide her with an appropriate education. What will happen is that you will be offered a mediation hearing to see if you and the district can come to a settlement. School Districts hate to have cases go to Due Process, and prefer to settle. Your attorney will do all the negotiating at mediation. If you cannot come to an agreement at mediation, then you go forward with Due Process, which is like a trial. All of this can be very expensive, and I know it is a lot to think about. Part of a mediation settlement or Due Process victory is reimbursement of expenses, both for the attorney, and anything else you may have accrued (educational testing, speech therapy, psychologist, etc.),

Yes, I have been down this road, and I'm more than willing to pull the Due Process card again if I feel the situation warrants it. I settled my lawsuit in September, and now have my son at a wonderful school where he is thriving. Take a deep breath and dive in. No one will fight harder for your daughter than you. Good luck.