If you are the parent of a child who has autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, or another type of disability, you are your child’s best advocate to get him or her educational services. If you believe your child should receive special education but has been denied, you can still appeal this decision through a due process hearing. But what is a due process hearing and how do you win your case against the school?
For parents with a child with a developmental disability, a due process hearing is one of the most important legal tools afforded to you. Unfortunately, few parents know that these hearings exist and even fewer use them. However, every child with special needs deserves an equal education and it’s important that you know how to use the due process system to enforce your child’s rights and win your case.
Children in California who have a disability are entitled to an education tailored to their specific needs. If your child requires specially-trained educators, tutors, or special learning programs, then the public school system is obliged to provide them. These needs are determined through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team meeting, but many schools simply refuse to provide the services outlined in the IEP.
Thankfully, there is an appeal system known as a due process hearing. If a parent and a school cannot come to an agreement over what level of specialized education is fair to provide, the two parties can go to a due process hearing before an impartial third party known as a hearing officer. Most hearing officers are attorneys with a background in education law.
The hearing officer’s decision can be appealed, but the due process system is an excellent tool for parents who children’s rights are being overrun.
Very few parents take their child’s case to a due process hearing, which is tragic because the hearings cost nothing and can make a world of difference. Of the parents who do go to a hearing, however, the majority lose their case.
That may seem disheartening at first, but the factors that determine winning or losing a hearing are well understood. School districts can also initiate a hearing, which tends to go in their favor; parents who are proactive and take the first step are more likely to win.
More importantly, representation matters. Parents who go into a hearing alone are facing school district lawyers across from them with a knowledgeable attorney making the decision. Parents seldom have the background in law and experience necessary to win the case.
Parents who have an educational advocate for their hearing are far more likely to win. In fact, if they have a representative at initiate the hearing, they’re more likely to win than the school.
American Advocacy Group is your ally in planning a successful due process hearing strategy. We can research the hearing officer’s past decisions, prepare your case, and represent you at the hearing itself. This will make a dramatic difference in your likelihood of success.
Whether you’ve already got a hearing date or are just starting to consider the option, we can help. AAG offers a completely free consultation.
CONTACT US FOR HELP.
Dial (877) 762-0702 or email us at [email protected]