Lawyer Monthly - July 2022

Finding Success in Special Education Litigation JUL 2022 | WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM entitlement of all students in the United States. The right to a FAPE is a civil right rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment, which requires schools to provide students with disabilities with special education and related services, at public expense, designed to prepare those students for the future. To provide FAPE to a student, schools must provide students with an education, including specialised instruction and related services where necessary, designed to prepare the child for “further education, employment, and independent living”. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), federal and state laws require that children with disabilities and their families have specific educational rights and procedural protections for exceptional students. The law provides for specialised instruction in the least restrictive environment possible that meets these students’ challenges – whether physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, behavioural or emotional disabilities, or sensory impairment. ever have to feel this way while trying to advocate for their child. Therefore, my law practice focuses on helping parents understand how the law works so that they can make informed decisions that protect their children's safety, future and best interests. At The Hull Firm, I litigate matters involving the violations of students’ and parents’ special education rights during the process of identification and eligibility, educational program development, and service implementation. What is Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and what does it cover? The right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is an educational Special education litigation is a very niche area. How did you get involved in this type of work? I remember sitting in my first special education meeting and feeling overwhelmed and under-prepared. As the meeting progressed, I felt like I was observing a meeting about my child’s education instead of participating in a collaborative effort. I did not understand the terms the administrators were using, the data they presented to me, or whether I should even trust the teachers and administrators to do what was best for my child. I felt hopeless and alone. I firmly believe that no parent should MY LEGAL LIFE - NICOLE HULL The field of special education litigation is not one that many lawyers include among their specialisations, but for students with specialised education needs, it is a service that can be legitimately life-changing. In this feature, we have the pleasure of speaking with experienced special education litigator Nicole Hull, who explores the struggles faced by children and families during the litigation process and how her practice works to achieve the best possible outcome for those with no other recourse. 17 The onset of the pandemic made school districts nationwide vulnerable to pandemic-related special education litigation.

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