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Mandy Gina Leigh

Mandy Leigh’s Answers

13 total

  • What should I say or ask the school principal?

    Mandy’s Answer

    The answer is "No". You should retain legal counsel immediately to assist you to avoid any delays to your child's assessment. In California the California Depatrment of Education (CDE) put out specific guidelines related to assessments for children- each state has its own guidelines. Here is the link and the relevant guidelines:
    Special Education Assessments
    Must LEAs continue to conduct special education assessments while providing distance learning?

    Yes. The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) has not waived the requirement for LEAs to conduct a full and individual initial evaluation for a student suspected of having a disability, nor has the USDOE waived requirements relating to triennial assessments. Additionally, 34 C.F.R. §§ 300.101(b) and 300.124(b) are still in effect and require that an IEP or individual family service plan (IFSP) is developed by the third birthday of a child participating in Part C programs and who will participate in Part B preschool-age programs. The USDOE has encouraged LEAs to work with parents to reach mutually agreeable extensions of time, as appropriate, if the LEA or parent feels additional time is needed.

    Can special education assessments be conducted in-person at this time?

    Yes. Current guidance from the California Department of Public Health and the CDE does not expressly prohibit in-person assessments. Further, the CDPH’s “Cohort” Guidance of August 25, 2020 permits in-person instruction and services, including assessments, if done in compliance with the Guidance, or if an elementary school has received a waiver of the school closure mandate from its local public health officer in accordance with the July 17, 2020 Framework for re-opening schools.

    As stated in the CDE’s April 9 2020 updated special education guidance (, any in-person services or supports should “seek to comply with federal, state, and local health official’s guidance related to physical distancing, with the goal of keeping students, teachers and service providers safe and healthy as the primary consideration”. Each LEA will need to monitor current health conditions and determine appropriate measures regarding in-person assessments. Some assessments, or components of assessments, may be conducted virtually, and, in some cases, existing data may be used. As with all assessments, the LEA can work together with parents to determine which assessments are necessary and appropriate in order to evaluate eligibility for special education services.

    The California Association of School Psychologists (CASP) has developed several resources related to assessments and COVID-19, including considerations and recommendations for conducting in-person assessments. Those resources can be accessed by visiting the CASP website at link opens in new window or tab. .

    Are the special education timeline waiver provisions included in Section 8 of Senate Bill 117 (Chapter 3, Statutes of 2020) still in place?

    No. On September 18, 2020, the Governor approved Senate Bill (SB) 820 (Chapter 110, Statutes of 2020). Section 56 of SB 820 rendered SB 117, Section 8 inoperative on July 1, 2020. LEAs must adhere to all state and federal special education timelines, including those related to assessments and access to educational records.

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  • We are seeking an attorney who deals with education, particularly cases involving abuse of children with special needs.

    Mandy’s Answer

    It sounds like your issue is with the private school for failing to accommodate his needs but its unclear. In some cases private schools are governed by Section 504 and the ADA. If the reason your son was removed or forced to be removed is because of his disability and there was a failure to engage in the interactive process to accommodate, you might have a case against the school. Please consult with an attorney as there may be statute of limitations issues that affect your case.

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  • Is it legal for schools/school districts to enforce punishable school rules outside of school time and boundaries?

    Mandy’s Answer

    Absolutely they can. In California it is codified in the conduct code that for public school activities as well as coming to and from public schools the school district maintains jurisdiction over behavior.

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  • What is the best course of action for dealing with an at school molestation

    Mandy’s Answer

    First, may sure your daughter is safe. Is she reporting any and all acts to you?
    I would set up a time to meet with the school principal and other relevant administrators as soon as possible and get something in writing regarding the safety measures in place. You are entitled to assurances that your daughter is protected. If your daughter has been harmed, you may need to file a tort claim within 6 months of the time of the incident to preserve your right to sue for damages. You can also ask that the student be provided adult supervision with a 1:1 aide. I would seek counsel to make a demand if nothing else works.

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  • Do i apply for unemployment or family leave for a sick family member

    Mandy’s Answer

    A few things:
    1. Are you the conservator of your adult son? If not, you should retain a lawyer to do this for you.
    2. Although FMLA leave is unpaid, employees may be allowed (or required) to use their accrued paid leave during FMLA leave. When an employee's FMLA leave ends, the employee is entitled to be reinstated to the same or an equivalent position, with a few exceptions. Something to consider. Also, I don't know what your employment is but you may have some paid coverage.
    3. In California you could apply for IHSS services. It's tough and you want to explain that you cannot leave your son unattended without care but you can be paid to care for your son.

    Just a few options

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  • Should I have a lawyer present when I meet with my son's school district to review 2 high school grade challenges?

    Mandy’s Answer

    In the state of California you have the right to a records challenge if you believe a school record is inaccurate or misleading. Other than that you will have a very tough case to make unless you can show that is the case.

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  • What kind of lawyer do I need to take my child's school to court for harassment?

    Mandy’s Answer

    You would need a special education attorney and someone who also practices in civil rights. If you feel like the CPS calls are due to your IEP advocacy, that is unlawful and it may be a violation of several state and federal laws. There are statute of limitations and the process could require a special education filing first before you file a state or federal civil rights claim. It is something that as an attorney we have unfortunately seen particularly in the case where the child has many individual needs.

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  • Can my child be held longer than 72 hours on a 5150 hold?

    Mandy’s Answer

    A social worker can hold a child on a 5150 for up to 72 hours by law and no you cannot have her released without the hospitals okay. She is part of the mental health hold (welfare and institutions code) that requires the county to hold anyone who may be a danger to themselves or to others. She may be doing fine but they want to keep a watch on her while she has presented a threat. You can ask: 1. Has she been evaluated 2. Who has evaluated her and who is making the call to hold her 3. The person shall be released
    before 72 hours have elapsed only if the psychiatrist directly
    responsible for the person's treatment believes, as a result of the
    psychiatrist's personal observations, that the person no longer
    requires evaluation or treatment. However, in those situations in
    which both a psychiatrist and psychologist have personally evaluated
    or examined a person who is placed under a 72-hour hold and there is
    a collaborative treatment relationship between the psychiatrist and
    psychologist, either the psychiatrist or psychologist may authorize
    the release of the person from the hold, but only after they have
    consulted with one another.

    Have you reached out to those individuals?

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  • Which kind of attorney should I seek? Defamation, Employment or Education?

    Mandy’s Answer

    While at first blush you might require a labor law attorney actually laws affecting educators are very unique to their field. As a labor law attorney who also represents teachers it is critical that you contact an attorney who specializes in representing teachers (there aren't many of us).

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  • Should I be concerned and or look into legal representation at this point?

    Mandy’s Answer

    Bullying for several years is a serious issue. An attorney can assist you in coming up with strategies to put into place with the school district to ensure that the bullying ends. Also, by law school districts do have an obligation to be proactive regarding bullying.

    Continue to document in writing the bullying and the efforts you have made to reach out to the school to problem solve and come up with a plan.

    You cannot drop in without permission. You must follow and adhere to all school rules regarding observation.

    I'm also curious about the academic and behavioral issues- you have had several meetings but no referral for a special education assessment?

    I definitely think you should communicate with an attorney to sort this out.

    Mandy G. Leigh, Esq.
    Attorney At Law
    Leigh Law Group, P.C.
    San Francisco (main office)
    870 Market Street, Suite 1157
    San Francisco, CA. 94102
    Fax: 415-795-3733

    Sausalito Office
    Leigh Law Group, P.C.
    180 Harbor Drive, Suite 104
    Sausalito, CA 94946
    Fax: 415-795-3733

    Walnut Creek Office
    Leigh Law Group, P.C.
    1220 Oakland Blvd, Suite 350
    Walnut Creek, CA 94596
    Fax: 415-795-3733

    [email protected]

    The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. -

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