Legal minute with Cooley Shrair: Special Education law

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Mass Appeal) –  How would a parent know if their child was in need or eligible for special education? Attorney Shawn Willis from the Law Offices of Cooley Shrair in Springfield shared more.

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How would a parent know if their child was in need or eligible for special education?
Every school aged child in Massachusetts is entitles to a free education that is fair and appropriate. State and Federal law requires public school districts to identify and evaluate every child that is suspected of having a learning disability that impairs their ability to make adequate academic progress. If a parent believes their child has such a disability, they can request that the school evaluate their child to determine what disabilities they may have and what type of services they may need to help them achieve adequate academic success in the least restrictive environment as possible.

If a parent thinks their child is struggling in school and thinks their child might have a learning disability but the school is not doing anything about it, what can they do?
Parents can make a request to the school and for an evaluation of their child. At that time the parent should complete a consent form. After making a request the law requires the school to complete an evaluation within 30 days and they are required to assemble a special education TEAM and schedule a meeting within 45 days of the parents consent.

Should the Parent expect to participate in the meeting?
Absolutely. The school should not schedule any TEAM meeting without giving the parents advance notice of the date and they have to provide the parents with any evaluations, assessments or reports that are going to be considered at the meeting. Also, upon request, the school must provide the parent with their student’s complete academic record. I suggest every parent make that request early on so they can be as informed about their child’s progress as they need to be.

About Cooley Shrair:
Cooley, Shrair P.C., founded in 1946 by Judge Sidney M. Cooley and Attorney Edward B. Cooley, is a progressive law firm located in Springfield, MA. Cooley Shrair provides unequaled service to its clients. Our unparalleled response time to our clients’ needs is the foundation of our mission statement.

At Cooley Shrair, family and business have always had a way of blending together. We know the importance of balancing the boardroom and the courtroom with the living room from time to time. We listen carefully to understand our clients’ concerns and work vigorously with them to develop strategies for success. It’s not just business, it’s personal.

We pride ourselves in being the most responsive lawyers in the area, covering virtually every area of practice for individuals and multinational corporations across the United States and Canada. Cooley Shrair is recognized consistently for exceeding client expectations and providing competent, integrated, and cost-effective legal services.

Our attorneys are each distinguished in their respective areas of concentration and are complemented by a professional support staff. Cooley Shrair is a formidable opponent who fiercely advocates on behalf of our clients and we take pride in our commitment to provide unparalleled response and unparalleled solutions.

We’re a family, and to us, that’s very personal business.

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