What's it like to work with F3?
Embedded, approachable, empathetic, practical, devoted: these are words our clients often use to describe working with F3. The law is complicated, and if an attorney comes along who truly understands your job, every inch of the law, and is ready to take on your burdens as their own in a way you find effective, satisfying, and even fun, that’s an attorney you keep calling. That’s who the special education lawyers at F3 strive to be every day.
What can F3 solve for you?
When it comes to special education, school districts come to us for the everyday stuff and the hard stuff. In addition to the responsibilities that apply to all students, you have a host of specific legal responsibilities for serving the needs of special education students. From ensuring compliance to providing focused training sessions and to resolving disputes, F3 attorneys are ready to advise you on both meeting your obligations and achieving your educational mission with every type of learner.
Top Issues in Special Education
“F3 Law attorneys provide practical and effective legal guidance to school districts, helping them navigate the complex web of federal and state laws and regulations, while ensuring that students with disabilities receive the education they are entitled to and deserve.”Dee Anna Hassanpour, Partner
Schools may not be an “industry,” but they are regulated as if they were – perhaps even more so because they are responsible for the development of our most valuable asset: children. And because children don’t all learn in the same way, rules that govern education have evolved to accommodate those with every type of learning ability. Few law firms are as prepared as F3 to counsel California’s school districts on meeting the legal requirements governing special education because education law – all of it – is what we live and breathe every day. We are proud that we can offer educators the kind of detailed knowledge and broad experience it takes to effectively meet their mission and mandate: to meet each where they are with the right educational services each student requires. It’s our mission and mandate, too.
Public schools, required to provide services to students with special needs, have laws to comply with at every level, and those laws change based on new research, new technology, and changes in the cultural and physical environment. The questions we respond to are nearly as varied as the students our answers affect. F3 attorneys are daily advising public schools on administering federal laws such as Section 504 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). We field district questions on complex California special education statutes covering everything from access to technology and more, along with the many new Assembly Bills proposed at each legislative session. Districts count on F3 to respond to specific questions, help develop individual instruction plans (IEPs), attend meetings, train administrators and teachers, research allegations, and help resolve disputes in administrative hearings, mediations and arbitrations, and in court when needed.
Training educators on special education and the law
As with every area of F3’s practice, our attorneys who work on special education issues spend a great deal of time on prevention: how to avoid allegations, conflicts, and administrative hearings. We do this by training administrators and teachers on the unique special education provisions of federal and state law and district policies. We conduct state-wide symposia on special education law 12 times a year, often with more than 1,500 attendees. Rarely does a day go by when we’re not conducting an in-person or zoom training session in a symposium, for various consortia of districts, or in response to a specific district’s request. Recent training topics have included:
- IEP team member roles and responsibilities
- Non-discrimination in the classroom
- Uniform Complaint Process investigations
- Custody issues and parental rights
- District obligations to parentally-placed private school students
- Managing the manifestation determination
- The intersection of HR and special education
- In-home placement and services for students with disabilities
- Writing transition plans
As a sidenote, special education has become so rife with acronyms, that F3 has published online “The ABC’s of Special Education,” a list of 79 special education-associated acronyms and their meanings.
Resolving complaints and disputes
In spite of the extensive training we offer and the diligence with which school districts seek to be in compliance or even exceed requirements, complaints, accusations, and disputes often occur. Disputes cover such issues as entitlements to services, procedural errors, physical access, complaints of discrimination, curriculum accommodations, etc. F3 attorneys support districts in such forums as arbitrations, mediations, litigation in federal and state courts, due process hearings, IEP meetings, California Department of Education (CDE) compliance investigations, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) investigations, and Section 504 meetings and hearings.
Assisting with IEP documents and meetings
Developed by parents and district employees familiar with the needs of a child, an “individualized education program” (IEP) is a legal document created for every public school student requiring special education. F3 attorneys regularly participate in IEP meetings to discuss, develop, and review a student’s IEP. School districts count on F3 to guide them through the IEP rules and help ensure the objectives of the meeting are achieved.