Education Law

You would be hard-pressed to find a lawyer with the kind of background in education and school law that Igor Raykin has. After being a teacher and administrator for several years, Igor knows the system from the inside and also knows many key decision-makers in public education. Moreover, Igor understands how to communicate with educators. A "bulldog" approach generally is highly ineffective against educators who aren't used to confrontation and avoid it. Such an approach may lead many educators to dig in their heels and rely on stubborn school district lawyers. Ultimately, relying on aggressive tactics may make things worse rather than better for your kids.

With more "zero-tolerance" policies in schools and the substantial number of students who are being identified as in need of "special education" services, issues in education law are becoming increasingly common. Luckily for parents and students, schools can be highly cooperative in addressing student and parental needs - but only if school officials are dealt with properly.

Most issues in school law come down primarily to two areas: discipline and special education.

  • With respect to discipline, the most important things to bear in mind are that schools are giving students due process when they discipline them and that the school is following its own procedures. Bear in mind that most school districts do not allow schools to expel or kick out students on their own. Instead, prior to expulsion, the student brings his or her parent(s) to an expulsion hearing, and then provides reasons for why they should not be expelled.
  • Special education plans: the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) governs the approach schools take to dealing with students who have special needs and/or learning disabilities. When a student has been identified as being in special education, the school must assemble a plan for how it will address that student's education needs. Parents must and should have input into this plan.
  • Special education plan enforcement: once a special education plan has been put in place, the school must follow its own plan.
  • LRE - the least restrictive environment. One of the core principles of IDEA is that every special education student should be in the least restrictive educational environment as is necessary. This means that if a student can learn in a general education setting, then that is where he or she should be placed, rather than being in a special education classroom.
  • Special education and discipline: students with special education needs frequently are the ones who are responsible for a large percentage of the discipline incidents in a school. Understand, however, that a school generally may not expel students for conduct that is "manifestation" of their disability.