St. Louis Disability Law Practice
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that ensures children with disabilities receive the special education and related services they need. IDEA requires that every child with a recognized disability receives a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) that is tailored to the child’s individual needs. Another core principle of IDEA is that every student with a disability should be educated in their least restrictive educational environment (LRE). This means a student cannot be placed in a segregated classroom setting solely because the student is disabled. Rather, a student who has a disability should be educated with non-disabled peers to the greatest extent that is appropriate.
IDEA requires public schools to evaluate children with suspected disabilities at no cost to the parents. If the evaluation report determines a child has a recognized disability and is in need of special education services, then the school district must draft and implement an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP is a formal contract outlining the special education services and support the school will provide in order for the child to benefit from the educational program. An IEP must be implemented before a student can begin receiving special education services and it must be reviewed and updated each year.
IDEA also outlines specific procedural safeguards to help parents advocate for their child’s educational well-being. IDEA requires public schools to allow parents to participate in all meetings concerning their child, examine their child’s school records, request an independent evaluation and agree or disagree with placement decisions. IDEA also require school district give sufficient notice to parents regarding all meetings concerning their child as well as any proposed amendments to the IEP or placement decisions.
IDEA is a complex law that can be difficult to navigate alone. The Kennedy Hunt, P.C. can assist you in understanding the procedural process, evaluating the school district’s conduct and pursuing any necessary legal action. When a school district fails to conduct a satisfactory evaluation, we assist parents in securing an independent evaluation and seeking reimbursement for the cost. We also counsel parents on developing an appropriate and enforceable IEP.
The Kennedy Hunt, P.C. practices in the following Missouri locations: St. Louis city, St. Louis County, St. Charles County. In Illinois: Alton, Belleville, Bloomington, Collinsville, Columbia, East St. Louis, Edwardsville, Fairmont City, Fairview Heights, Granite City, O’Fallon, Springfield, Waterloo.
If a dispute arises with your school district, the Kennedy Hunt, P.C. has the experience necessary to aggressively pursue due process litigation through the hearing procedures outlined by IDEA.