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STUDENT DISCIPLINE & SCHOOL DISPUTES

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Whitbeck Bennett is prepared to help you with any problem students and/or parents may have with their local schools.

Behavioral Intervention Plans

If your child breaks school rules, their educational placement may be changed. However, before the school removes a child from a class, the relevant members of the individualized education program (IEP) team must meet immediately. In this meeting, the team will consider whether your child’s disability caused the misconduct, or whether the misconduct was a direct result of the school’s failure to implement your child’s IEP. If it is determined that the conduct was a manifestation of the child’s disability, the IEP team must conduct a functional behavioral assessment.

A functional behavioral assessment examines the underlying cause or functions of the behavior that interferes with the learning of the child or the learning of his or her peers. The functional behavioral assessment determines whether a Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP) is needed. A BIP uses positive behavioral interventions and supports to address behaviors that interfere with the learning of the child with the disability, interfere with the learning of others, and/or require disciplinary action.

If a parent disagrees with the IEP team’s behavioral assessment, the parent may request an expedited due process hearing.

Resolving Disputes

In the context of special education, dispute resolution may take many forms, including due process hearings, mediation and state complaint processes. 

A due process hearing is the most frequently used form of special education dispute resolution. A parent may demand a due process hearing if they disagree with the child’s identification, evaluation, or educational placement, or if the parent believes the child has been denied a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). In deciding the dispute, a hearing officer will hear evidence presented by the parent and the school and will then issue a decision. 

Mediation is another form of special education dispute resolution. In this process, a neutral mediator assists both parties in negotiating issues arising under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEIA). Mediation may be used only if both parties agree to it. 

A written state complaint is a written document used to communicate and the request the investigation of a public agency (e.g., school district) that has not followed the IDEA. This dispute resolution is the only one open to any person or organization. The concluding decision may include child-specific corrective actions or even relate to system-wide issues.

How We Can Help

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"I would highly recommend John Whitbeck to anyone needing legal counsel or representation. He was thorough, intentional, and professional in all of my dealings with him. He is well respected in the legal community of Loudoun County and is well liked by friends and colleagues alike. He has worked diligently to build a fabulous reputation and proven his knowledge of the law through his diligent practice in the area. No man would be as highly respected and sought after if he didn’t have the experience and professionalism to back it up."

Amanda
Loudoun County, VA

"I have over 10 years experience personally with Mrs. Laffey and if you want the best of the best look no further. She is incredibly knowledgeable and experienced in all fields of family law. She genuinely cares about your case and your situation and does whatever she can to improve it and do what is best for everyone involved. She is a fantastic mediator on all fronts especially dealing with other parties attorneys in the courtroom and with you personally. She is definitely an advocate for children and wants to see them happy healthy and growing through these trying times. She responds to any inquiries emails or phone calls with prompt attention and goes out of her way to find a solution for your particular case. She's extremely easy to engage with and you will not be disappointed with her services. I can not sing her praises enough. So if you want your case handled professionally proficiently and with a touch of TLC I highly recommend that you call her you won't regret your decision."

Deborah
Wilmington, DE

"My experience with WhitbeckBennett has been, and continues to be, extremely positive. My attorney, Mr. Beglis, has worked very hard for me. I can only wish that I had the sense to retain him for my Divorce, I would be in a completely different situation at this time! He is handling my custody issue. The level of comfort he has given me is worth everything to me. I truly feel like he is standing in front of me as a shield and his only function is to protect me and fight for me. This feeling, for me, is priceless. Thank you so much Mr. Beglis for giving me peace."

Ayesha
Leesburg, VA

"Amber Godfrey is a consummate perfectionist with a heart of gold and a passion for her clients. I highly recommend her and her firm for any family law matter."

Kevyn
Oklahoma City, OK

“Richard Tappan is one of the finest attorneys that you could have represent you...He went the extra mile and you can be assured this is just who he is...someone that will not let you down even though you are facing very difficult circumstances."

Matthew
Vienna, VA

“James (Jim) did an excellent job with my case! Whenever I had any questions, he responded to my inquiry the same day and always provided a clear explanation. He made a confusing and stressful situation very, very simple and my case was closed in less than 3 months—even during this pandemic! I absolutely recommend!"

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Leesburg, VA