Family & Relationships

School is in Session: Administration Hearings 101

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While parents of students with special needs or behavior issues may be all too familiar with school administration hearings, they aren’t something that happen every day for most families. If you find your child facing a hearing, it can be a stressful time, especially if you don’t know how to prepare, and it’s important to know when an attorney can help.

What is a school administration hearing?

School administration hearings are held when there is an issue with a student related to disabilities, special education needs or student policy violations within a public or private school. In these situations, either you can take action against the school, or the school can take action against you.

Why do they commonly occur?

The most common reason a school administration hearing occurs is related to students with disabilities not receiving the accommodations they require. These children typically have an Individual Education Plan, or IEP, that legally must be followed. But sometimes, the accommodations detailed in the IEP might not be followed accurately or completely, or the plan needs to change based on the student’s evolving needs.

Another reason why a school administration hearing might occur is due to a potential expulsion or other punishment after violating a school policy. A student could be caught cyberbullying another classmate, cheating on a test or plagiarizing a paper – which are all situations that could trigger a hearing.

Can an attorney help?

Yes! In some situations, talking to an attorney with experience in IEPs or disciplinary hearings is beneficial. If a student has accommodations that aren’t being met, a lawyer can help explain what the parent can legally do to make the situation right. Or if the student’s bad behavior might have a legal component to it, a lawyer can help explain how the laws impact their child.

A parent may sometimes choose to have an attorney attend the school administration hearing with them. According to Iowa Legal Aid, an attorney can help a parent make decisions about what to do if the child isn’t making enough progress toward their goals, whether changes need to be made to the IEP and what to do if the parents don’t agree with what the school and IEP team decides.

So if you and your child are facing a school administration hearing, take a deep breath – and remember that you don’t have to face it alone. Attorneys can help you and your family identify next steps and create a plan of action to make sure your student is set up for success.


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