McAndrews Slams Delaware DOE In Federal Court Special Education Case

McAndrews Law Firm, the premier special education law firm in Delaware, just won a BIG case against the Delaware Department of Education.  The basis of their claim was that if a charter school goes under, the DOE is obligated to provide those services.  The DOE objected with twelve different claims, all of which were shot down by federal district court!  Way to go McAndrews!  From their press release:

Last week, we were gratified to report that McAndrews Law Offices had prevailed in an important federal court matter on behalf of children with disabilities who attended charter schools that go out of business. Just two days after prevailing in that important matter, MLO obtained another crucial federal court decision, this time in the state of Delaware, holding that states are responsible to ensure the rights of children and their families are protected when charter schools become defunct.

In MK v. Delaware Department of Education, McAndrews Law Offices negotiated a $30,000 compensatory education fund with a Delaware private charter school as part of a settlement agreement, but the charter school then failed to pay for the compensatory education services and went out of business. On behalf of the family, MLO brought an action against the Delaware Department of Education, asserting that under federal special-education law, the state must step into the shoes of the defunct charter school and provide the child and family their educational rights under federal law. The Delaware Department of Education asserted, in shotgun fashion through a motion to dismiss the case, nearly a dozen claims as to why the state had no responsibility for ensuring that the child received the protections of federal law. These claims were universally rejected by the federal district court, which held that “Congress considered the establishment of a single agency on which to focus responsibility for assuring the right to education of all disabled children to be of paramount importance.” With this motion to dismiss having been denied and the fundamental arguments of the state to avoid liability having been dismissed, a major procedural victory has been obtained on behalf of our Delaware clients.

I wonder which charter school this was? Delaware MET? Prestige Academy?  That’s just like the DOE, ducking their responsibility.  Do they really not get IDEA?  The fact that Delaware does not provide basic special education funding for students in Kindergarten to 3rd grade shows how out of touch they are with special education reality.  By relying on Response to Intervention as a “childfind” measure, which is not the identifying criteria for special education under IDEA, the Delaware DOE and our legislators continue to disregard federal law.  This is all going to come to a head very soon and Delaware taxpayers will be the ones holding the bag when we have to bail out the state for their horrible special education policies and funding mechanisms.  The Delaware ACLU lawsuit over education funding in general will be a drop in the bucket compared to what is coming.  DOE needs to get their heads out of their imaginary clouds and start following federal law!!!!!

Advertisements

Special Education Law Firm McAndrews Opens Office In Georgetown, IEP Clinic On 11/16

The special education law firm of McAndrews Law Offices, P.C. is opening a new office in Georgetown, Delaware in an effort to more adequately serve parents in lower Delaware.  Prior to this, their only office in Delaware was in Wilmington.  This will be a big help to parents.  If you are having special education issues with your child’s school and you are not able to resolve them, I would reach out to McAndrews.

On Monday, November 16th, they are having two education clinics in Georgetown in conjunctions with Delaware Community Legal Aid Society, Inc.  Here is a flyer:

Flyer - November 16th Education Clinics

While some schools can’t stand McAndrews because of lawsuits, they provide an essential service in Delaware and surrounding states by holding schools accountable for violations of special education law.  If our special education system in Delaware did the right thing there would be no need for McAndrews, but until then they are desperately needed.  It sounds like business is thriving in Delaware if they are opening a second office.  Which means kids are not getting the services they legally deserve.  Which also means schools are in violation.  Any reader of this blog knows I am a huge advocate for special education rights and I will always advise parents to do what is best for their child, not the school.  I do recommend trying to work things out with a school, but when you hit that wall (any parents who have been through this know exactly what I’m talking about) you need to advocate for your child and if you have to go that next step, McAndrews is ready to help and evaluate the situation.

As part of their advocacy, McAndrews goes a step further and holds these clinics throughout the year to educate parents about their rights.  This is something the firm’s founder and managing partner Dennis McAndrews wants all his attorneys to do with these clinics and through community outreach.  I attended one of these clinics a year and a half ago and it was well attended and parents learned many things they were not aware of.

For any parents in Kent County or Sussex County who may be in need of legal advice for special education matters, I would give them a call today!