Special Education Law

If you are considering legal help for your special needs child you need a lawyer who is carefully attuned not just to the law, but to the needs of your child and your family. 

What is school like for your child?  Does he comprehend what he’s reading? Is she making progress, or running in place? Has he become isolated and lonely in school? What is the mix of academic, social and emotional challenges your child is facing; and how do they interact and affect one another? Do you and your child need someone to forcefully battle for you, or are you better served by behind-the-scenes, expert advice?

At Asher, Gaughran LLP we approach each case with intensive, individualized attention, a rich background of legal experience in special education law, and long history of collaborative relationships with the area's best clinicians. We will identify the most critical issues facing your child, and devise a legal strategy that is sensitive to your emotional and financial resources.

We know the terrain. We have successfully negotiated, advocated, litigated and settled cases in virtually every school district in Westchester County, and frequently represent students in New York City, Rockland, Dutchess, and Orange Counties. (Click here to see a partial list of where we work.)

Contact us to learn how our experience and commitment to client service can benefit you and your family. Please email or call us at 914 273 3187.

Tuition Reimbursement

To discuss tuition reimbursement, or to schedule an appointment with our attorneys, please email us or call us at at 914

If a school district fails to provide your disabled child with the help he or she needs, you may be forced to place him or her in a private school. You may also be entitled to reimbursement from the school district for the costs of this private school placement.

Asher, Gaughran LLP has extensive experience in successfully obtaining settlements for parents to help pay for tuition.  In addition, we are highly experienced in litigating such cases, both in administrative hearings and in federal court.

If you are considering placement of your child in a private school for students with disabilities, or if you already have a child in such a school, we can consult with you on how to preserve your rights and seek reimbursement from your school district.

To discuss tuition reimbursement, or to schedule an appointment with our attorneys, please email us or call us at at 914 273 3187.


Disciplinary Matters

Zero-tolerance policies and increased enforcement have resulted in skyrocketing numbers of disciplinary proceedings being initiated against students, from elementary school through graduate school. It’s critical that families seek out legal counsel with specific experience in education law whenever students are facing disciplinary charges. Students charged with violations of their schools’ Code of Conduct can face serious consequences with long-term implications, ranging from suspensions to expulsions and referral to the criminal justice system.

At Asher, Gaughran our approach is two-fold. We zealously protect your child’s procedural rights while seeking a resolution that is fair, rather than overly punitive. Where warranted, we collaborate with area’s leading criminal defense attorneys to ensure a coordinated approach to your child’s defense. And if the student has a disability, we ensure that he or she benefits from the special protections to which they are entitled.

Our representation includes:

    Section 3214 Superintendent's Hearings
    Manifestation Determinations
    Expulsion and Suspension Hearings
    College or University Disciplinary Matters

To discuss disciplinary issues, or to schedule an appointment with our attorneys, please email us or call us at at 914 273 3187.


Abuse in School

Sending your child to school is an act of trust.  On rare occasions, that trust is violated.  And unfortunately, children with disabilities suffer a disproportionate level of abuse from the adults charged with their care.  Federal courts have recognized that children have a constitutional right to attend public school free of excessive force.  Private schools are also held responsible for mistreatment of students on their watch.

Asher, Gaughran LLP has extensive experience successfully representing students who have been abused in school. We treat each case, and each client, with the consideration needed at this difficult time, while vigorously vindicating each child's right to attend school in a safe environment.

To discuss your concerns about abuse in a school or to schedule an appointment with our attorneys, please email us or call us at at 914 273 3187.


Bullying

Children cannot learn if they don't feel safe.  If your child is being bullied at school, you can do something about it.

Both federal and New York State law protect children against harassment and discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, color, weight, national origin, ethnicity, religion, or disability.

When notified of bullying, school districts are required to act.  Asher Gaughran, LLP can assist you in getting your child's school to focus on and address bullying and, if it fails to do so, in taking legal action to vindicate your child's right to attend school free of bias, bullying and harassment.

To discuss your concerns about bullying, or to schedule an appointment with our attorneys, please email us or call us at at 914 273 3187.


SAT/ACT and Other Test Accommodations

Students with disabilities often require special accommodations when taking standardized tests such as the SAT, the ACT, and the GRE. Extended time, a computer, a scribe, or a separate, quiet location can sometimes be necessary to ensure a level playing field with non-disabled peers. And a denial of these accommodations can be a devastating blow to a student who truly needs this support.

Asher, Gaughran LLP  has extensive experience in developing persuasive initial applications and successfully appealing wrongful denials of testing accommodations.

To discuss testing accommodations, or to schedule an appointment with our attorneys, please email us or call us at at 914 273 3187.


First Amendment Rights

The Supreme Court has held that, "it can hardly be said that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression at the schoolhouse gate."

While public schools can place some limits on teachers' and students' right to express their views, schools cannot bar ideas with which they disagree.  If your school district has limited your child's right to voice his or her views, or if you are a teacher or parent who has suffered retaliation or adverse consequences for speaking up, consider a consultation with Asher, Gaughran LLP.  

We are experienced federal court practitioners who have successfully litigated on behalf of clients who were deprived of their constitutional rights by school districts.

To discuss free speech issues, or to schedule an appointment with our attorneys, please email us or call us at at 914 273 3187.


Service Animals

The growing acknowledgment that service animals can be an essential support to some individuals with disabilities has been formalized in new U.S. Department of Justice regulations. Support might include pulling a wheelchair, guiding a person who is blind, alerting a person who is deaf, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other essential duties.

Under the ADA, state and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities wherever the public is normally permitted. And students are entitled to bring service animals to school if their presence is necessary to the provision of a free and appropriate public education.

If you or your child has been prevented from using a service animal, or if you have questions about the use of these animals in schools or in public accommodations, Asher, Gaughran LLP can help.

To discuss issues regarding service animals, or to schedule an appointment with our attorneys, please email us or call us at at 914 273 3187.


Disability Rights and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 require that state and local governments provide qualified individuals with disabilities equal access to their programs, services, or activities. These are landmark laws that ensure opportunity for people with disabilities; the laws have changed our society by improving access to the physical environment, to educational and other governmental programs and services, to employment, to transportation, and to communication.

The rights of the disabled extend beyond the physical world. Because of the Rehabilitation Amendments Act (Section 508) and the Telecommunications Act, there are now accessibility requirements for electronic and information technologies, websites, and some telecommunications products.

To discuss access issues, or to schedule an appointment with our attorneys, please email us or call us at at 914 273 3187.


Helping the College Age Student

Learning disabilities don’t go away when you graduate from high school. But your IEP doesn’t follow you to college. Instead, the burden is on you as the student to identify yourself to your school and ensure that the right programs and supports are put in place.

Asher, Gaughran LLP can help you navigate this new legal landscape to ensure that once in college, you have the services you need. We also work closely with local  counselors who specialize in college applications and placement of the college student with learning differences.

To set up a consultation, please email us or call us at at 914 273 3187.