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Seeking 'free and appropriate' public special education

Perhaps you live in a large school district. Your child attends a school in your district that is adequate, but you suspect that a different school within the district would better serve your child’s special educational needs. What do you do? Some districts offer open enrollment and other programs that allow parents freedom of choice to enroll their children in whatever school best fits their needs. However, many school districts have strict policies that do not allow for movement between schools within district lines.

If you live within a district that will allow you to transfer your student to a school that better fits his or her needs then you may make that decision if it best fits your family’s situation. However, if your district does not allow for such movement, you may benefit from speaking with an attorney experienced in special education law.

Your child is entitled to free and appropriate public education under the law. The “appropriate” nature of your child’s education must fit his or her special educational needs. If these needs are not being met at the school closest to your home, an attorney may be able to help you transfer your student or receive a more appropriate education at his or her current school.

It is not always easy to effectively advocate on behalf of students with special needs. Thankfully, parents need not advocate alone. Attorneys experienced in matters involving special education law can help to give your child a voice and to secure the education that your child is entitled to under the law.

Source: Bridge, “How parents can negotiate their child’s path through special education,” Sarah Alvarez, Dec. 16, 2014

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