Debra F. Schneider practices law that supports children in our schools.
Our children are protected under both federal and state law. The Individuals With Disabilities Act (IDEA) and Rehabilitation Act protect our children under federal law.
The IDEA is a law that requires public school systems to make available to all children with disabilities a free appropriate public education, referred to as FAPE, that is appropriate for their individual needs to succeed. Once a child is determined to be disabled, they are entitled to services in the least restrictive environment that will enable them to reach their full potential. The goals and objectives for a child with disabilities are set forth in an Individual Education Plan (IEP). Along with the Case Management Team, the parents are entitled to fully participate in the process that results in the IEP. Mediation and Due Process are remedies available to the parents on behalf of their child if they do not agree with the IEP.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability under any program that receives Federal financial assistance. Our public schools receive such assistance. This section of the law requires our schools to provide reasonable accommodations/modifications for children who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. A 504 Plan rather than an IEP is developed by the school and the parents. If your child has a disability but does not qualify for special education services under the IDEA, that child may be protected under Section 504 of this law.
The Law Against Discrimination (LAD) is a NJ law that prohibits discrimination in school. Part of the N.J. Administrative Code called Parental Rights in Special Education (PRISE) sets out the rights of parents who have a child with disabilities as well as the rights of the child.
NJ has one of the strictest bullying laws in the US (NJAC 18A:37-13 through 17). This law, known as the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act prohibits harassment, intimidation, and bullying (HIB) in our public schools. The related law can be found in the NJ Administrative Code, NJAC 6A:16-7.7.