Lately it seems not a week goes by that I don't accompany multiple families to IEP meetings (IEP: Individualized Education Program). My clients find great value in attorney advocacy for their children. When should you bring an attorney to an IEP meeting? When you are done being spun in circles by your child's school and/or wondering whether your child is receiving appropriate services to meet their unique needs.
IEP meetings can be confusing, tough, and yet, are rather important to a child's education and life. A student's life can change for better or worse with a well written IEP and proper services. This is because the purpose of the IEP meeting is the CHILD and their EDUCATION and meeting their UNIQUE NEEDS in the school. If the IEP is unclear, wimpy or does not address all areas of need, well, the child is being let down and somewhat thrown to the wolves.
Parents also are, whether they know it or not, warring over a limited pot of money (school funds) and the odds always favor the house, aka the school, not the child. Bringing an attorney is like bringing a big scary dog which the school is afraid will be unleashed on them. No, I am not a dog, but you get the idea. Attorneys can make school and districts lives difficult, and no one wants things to be difficult.
Think of IEPs this way: you are going to war, ALONE. No actual physical weapons are allowed. So this war involves you, inexperienced, puny and weak, against a bunch of full-time paid warriors (teachers, administrators, assessors) who are united, and have lots of experience in war and winning. Who is going to win? Well, unless you are a genius or can cheat, it is likely you won't. The attorney can help you even the odds.
Schools and IEP meetings seem like fluffy nonthreatening places, but the truth is, they determine the fate of millions and your kid is just a number. For your single, most important person, your child, the odds of helping them to succeed at school need to be raised. Bring an attorney to your next war: the IEP and give your child a better chance for a successful educational future.
Education Law Attorney
LAW OFFICE OF MICHELLE BALL
717 K Street, Suite 228
Sacramento, CA 95814