Practice Areas

Special Education

Public schools are required by federal and state law to provide students with disabilities a

Understanding the student's needs will determine whether or not the education the student is receiving is meeting federal and state requirements. The school is required to evaluate the child in all areas of suspected disability. The school must consider private evaluations and their recommendations if the family chooses to share those.

Disability Types

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Communication Impairment
  • Developmental Delay
  • Emotional Impairment
  • Health Impairment
  • Intellectual Impairment
  • Neurological Impairment
  • Sensory Impairment (Hearing/Vision/Deaf-Blind)
  • Physical Impairment
  • Specific Learning Disability

If it is determined that the student needs special education services (specialized instruction), the school must offer an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) which must address the unique needs of the student and be calculated to provide educational benefit. Parents are active participants and full partners in this process and if they believe that their child is being denied FAPE they have a right to challenge the school's decision at any time.

Many parents need assistance to achieve appropriate outcomes for their children because of the complexity of both the disabilities involved and the laws and procedures of the system itself.

Student Disipline

Before a public school can suspend or expel a student, whether or not they are on an IEP, certain procedures must be followed to insure the student's due process rights. If the suspension is for 10 or more days, or if the school is seeking expulsion, there must be written notice explaining the reason for the school's action with their supporting evidence and stating when and where the discipline hearing will take place. The student has the right to representation and to present their own case. If the student is on an IEP, a Manifestation Determination hearing must be held prior to the disciplinary hearing. Here, the Team must determine whether the student's conduct is a direct result of the district's failure to implement the IEP and/or whether the conduct has a direct and substantial relationship to the disability. Additional rights and protections apply to students receiving special education. As of July 1, 2014, all students will have access to educational alternatives when suspended or expelled.

Bullying and Harassment

Students have the right to a safe school environment. Federal anti-discrimination laws protect students from harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or disability, Massachusetts anti-bullying law prohibits bullying, cyber bullying, and retaliation. This law requires parental and law enforcement notification (in certain circumstances). Additional rights apply to students receiving special education.

Juvenile Law

When a student 17 years of age or younger is charged with a crime, whether a misdemeanor or felony, it can be very frightening for both the student and his/her family. The family should seek representation as soon as possible. Being represented by an attorney who knows the juvenile justice system and the special education needs of the student, if any, will be helpful in trying to resolve the case with the best possible outcome.


Contact Gold Advocacy:

Phone: 617-780-7753    |    Email:

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