Education Law

Welcome to North Star Education Law, a division of North Star Law Group. We understand that navigating the complex world of special education can be overwhelming and confusing. That is why we are here to offer our assistance. Our team of experienced attorneys is dedicated to advocating for the civil rights of children with disabilities and their families. We firmly believe that every child deserves access to quality education, regardless of their abilities.

We offer a range of services to help families navigate the special education process, including Individualized Education Program (IEP) development and review, due process hearings, mediation and negotiation with school districts, Section 504 accommodations, and disability discrimination claims. We understand that every family's situation is unique, which is why we take a personalized approach to each case. Our education law attorneys will work closely with you to understand your child's needs and develop a strategy that best meets those needs.

Our law firm is dedicated to delivering both compassionate and effective legal representation. We represent students with disabilities and their families, as well as organizations that support the students with disabilities. As a member of the Council of Parent & Attorney Advocates (COPAA), we do not represent school districts. Instead, our philosophy is centered on empowering families to advocate for their children and ensuring that their voices are heard. If you are seeking a law firm of attorneys who possess a deep understanding of Education Law and who can genuinely empathize with the unique challenges your child is facing, your search ends here. Contact us today to arrange a consultation and explore how we can aid you in navigating the special education process.

Our legal team expertly handles a wide range of education matters, including but not limited to:

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (click to see text below)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that ensures that children with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) that meets their unique needs and prepares them for further education, employment, and independent living. The law applies to children from birth to age 21 who have one or more of the 13 disabilities listed in the law, including autism, deafness, blindness, intellectual disability, and emotional disturbance.

IDEA requires schools to provide individualized education programs (IEPs) for each eligible student with a disability. An IEP is a written plan that outlines the student's present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, annual goals, special education and related services, accommodations and modifications, and progress monitoring. The IEP team includes the parents or guardians, teachers, school administrators, special education professionals, and the student (if appropriate).

IDEA also mandates procedural safeguards to protect the rights of students with disabilities and their families. These safeguards include notice of meetings and decisions, parental consent for evaluations and services, access to educational records, mediation and due process hearings for disputes, and the right to appeal decisions.

Schools must provide FAPE in the least restrictive environment (LRE) appropriate for each student. This means that students with disabilities should be educated with their non-disabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate. However, if a student's disability requires more intensive services or a different setting than the general education classroom, the school must provide those services in a separate classroom or school.

IDEA is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Schools that violate IDEA can face corrective action plans, loss of federal funding, or legal action by parents or advocacy groups.

If you believe that your child has been denied FAPE or other rights under IDEA, you may need legal assistance to advocate for your child's rights. A knowledgeable North Star Education Law attorney can help you understand your legal options and work with you to develop an effective strategy for resolving disputes with your child's school district.

Section 504 (click to see text below)

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal statute that bestows certain rights upon individuals with disabilities. It mandates that all recipients of federal funding, including public schools from early childhood programs through college-level institutions, as well as private schools or universities that receive federal funding, cannot discriminate against individuals based on their disability. This statute applies to any student with a disability, and some may require a 504 Plan to accommodate their needs. A 504 Plan can include special education and related services, outlining specific accommodations required by the student. Unfortunately, schools may sometimes refuse to provide a student with a disability with a 504 Plan, or fail to follow it appropriately.

If you believe that your child is not receiving appropriate services under Section 504, or that they are entitled to accommodations under this statute, North Star Education Law can evaluate your claim.

Testing & Accommodations (click to see text below)

Although students with disabilities are entitled to receive testing accommodations by law, they are frequently denied by school districts, colleges/universities, professional licensing boards & credentialing services, or private testing agencies. Our legal team has experience handling cases where students with disabilities have been unjustly denied accommodation during testing.

School Discipline (click to see text below)

Students who are facing disciplinary action, such as suspension or expulsion, are entitled to certain rights. These rights include receiving a written explanation for the suspension or expulsion, the opportunity to present their side of the story, and the right to a hearing before an impartial hearing officer or the school board.

Additionally, students have the right to an attorney at their expulsion hearings. Students with disabilities, even those without an IEP or 504 Plan, are granted additional protections against school discipline. College and university students may also encounter disciplinary issues, such as being placed on academic probation, facing accusations of conduct violations or plagiarism, or disputes with the school regarding enrollment status.

If you or your child is facing disciplinary action at school or if disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against you, we encourage you to contact North Star Education Law for a consultation.

Bullying & Harassment (click to see text below)

Regrettably, bullying continues to be a pervasive issue in many school environments. When a student is subjected to bullying to the point where their well-being and education are at risk, it is the responsibility of the school to take action and provide protection and aid to the student. This is especially crucial when the bullying is motivated by a disability, as the student's entitlement to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) under the IDEA mandates that they receive the necessary assistance.

If your child has been a victim of bullying or has had their FAPE rights violated, North Star Education Law is available to offer support and guidance.

Title IX (click to see text below)

Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex at educational institutions that receive federal funds. This includes public schools, as well as some private schools and universities. The law provides protection to victims of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault that occur on campus.

Additionally, Title IX claims can be made if the discrimination, harassment, or assault occurred off campus but is connected to an educational program or activity. These protections apply to all students and employees, regardless of gender identity. Schools have a legal obligation under Title IX to take proactive measures to prevent illegal gender-based conduct. They must also establish reporting procedures for gender-based harassment, discrimination, and violence, and provide accommodations to victims of discrimination.

Furthermore, Title IX prohibits schools from retaliating against students who exercise their rights under the law.

If you suspect that your child has a Title IX claim or you are a student seeking to assert your rights under Title IX, do not hesitate to contact North Star Education Law.

Attorneys:  Matthew Overcast