Is it possible to sue a school district for not following special ed. procedures and retaliating against my disabled child?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Compton, CA

I have been harrassed for two school years by a school district employee whom I don't know. I reported this person to the principle and other administrative employees who did nothing to resolve the issue. I filed a uniform complaint and requested the school secure the safety for myself and my son or I would not bring him back to school. During the investigation I requested a temporary placement, In-home teacher and I even requested the work be sent home. My requests were denied or ignored. On the 10th day of my child's absence I received a letter saying he had missed too many days and he was removed from the school while the investigation was pending. IEP's were held after my child was removed from school by the district. The team agreed to the in-home teacher, but we never got one.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Seth Adam Schwartz

    Contributor Level 2

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    Lawyer agrees

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    Answered . Please keep in mind this is not legal advice. It is only information and opinion based on the limited information you've provided. You should consult an attorney.

    Harassment could rise to the level of a procedural violation of special education if it reaches the implementation of the educational program and causes an educational harm. For instance, if the employee is involved with the special education program and is working against the implementation and making that environment inhospitable to learning then you might have a special education claim underlying the harassment. Additionally, if the harassment is somehow arising out of the special education or related services there might be a claim. For instance, this district employee is involved in the IEP team and it can be shown that this employee is somehow retaliating against you and your child.

    You mentioned you filed a complaint and requested the school to temporarily change placement. Under the IDEA you have a right to call an IEP meeting to review, revise, and modify the educational program. It's not uncommon when parents are dealing with issues that impact on special education to call an IEP meeting to address issues that relate to the program or services. For instance, calling an IEP meeting will cause the school to hold a formal meeting on the issue(s) you need to discuss and document the concerns. In deciding if you should ask for an IEP meeting it's always a good idea to consider whether the situation is having a negative impact on the educational progress in a way that the IEP team can properly address.

    Generally speaking, harassment is an issue that can impact special education but raises other legal concerns. So, in evaluating whether the harassment is a special education issue will depend on the connection with the program or services.

    The last part of your description suggests you should go speak with an attorney. There are procedural protections to address removals from school. Additionally, there are protections for parent participation in IEP meetings. The district can hold an IEP without you after they go through some steps to secure your involvement. Your description is unclear on whether they followed those procedures. Additionally, if your child was supposed to receive services and they were not provided then there may be a failure to implement the IEP.

    Now, going back to your initial question, is it possible to sue a school district for not following special ed. procedures and retaliating against my disabled child? Yes. You should talk to an attorney to evaluate the strength of your claim(s). Special education provides a great deal of administrative procedure (from compliance to administrative court proceedings). You can visit the California Office of Administrative Hearings for more information on how to proceed and a list of attorneys that provide low-cost no-cost attorney services.

  2. Deborah Eshaghian

    Contributor Level 7

    Answered . If the School District is not following the IEP and not providing your child the services it is required to do, then you must take action. Students with special needs have rights! You have a few options. The best thing is to consult with an education attorney. Feel free to contact me for a free consultation. www.eshaghianlaw.com

    The answer provided is not legal advice. It is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an... more
  3. Stuart M Nachbar

    Pro

    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . If the School District is not following the IEP, you should file for mediation or a Due Process Hearing immediately. Do i via Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested so you have proof of mailing and receipt. Seek out an education specialist attorney in your jurisidiction.

    The previous information is solely for informational purposes only. If you have further questions, please contact... more

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