Last week I received a call from a lawyer who had reviewed a CLE presentation I had done on School Discipline. He was handling his first expulsion case and wanted some advice. I was busy and thought for a brief moment that I just couldn’t take the time to help. I called the lawyer. He was grateful and we talked about the implications of a student with special education issues and school discipline. The child’s family had few resources and this lawyer was trying to assist in assuring that this 13 year-old wouldn’t be expelled without access to education.

Over the years, I have had many of these calls. I have always tried to reach back and help because access to legal advocacy in special education, in most instances, depends on a family’s ability to afford an attorney or advocate. The stakes are very high. Removal from school is disastrous for all children. Failure to get the right resources can damage a child forever.

There are only a handful of private special education attorneys in the Chicago area. There are far fewer, if any, as we move away from the greater Chicago area. The need is the same. Access to these resources is critical. It is a shared responsibility.

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