The DRC provides information, referral, and advocacy for children with disabilities who have problems with special education, obtaining appropriate benefits and services, and other issues.
The DRC provides legal representation in matters of special education, but it does not have the resources to provide legal representation to all of the people who ask for our assistance. There are few lawyers in the state who take special education cases. The DRC has a special project with the New Hampshire Bar Association to train and support lawyers who want to develop their skills in special education law. For individuals who meet the income criteria for the NH Bar Association's Pro Bono referral service, the DRC will refer individuals and provide consultation to the attorney on special education law and procedure. If you are an attorney and would like to know more about this program, contact Amy Messer, Esq., Executive Director at the DRC.
Winter 2014 RAP Sheet, Supports to Children in Need of Services, an update on CHINS by Michael Skibbie, DRC Policy Director
The Fall 2012 issue of the RAP Sheet is on Inclusive Education
2012 Independent Evaluation of how well the New Hampshire Department of Education carries out its monitoring and supervisory responsibilities over school districts in special education
Disabilities Rights Center Presents... Special Education and Discipline, a six part television series. Watch it on our website in streaming video!
Special Education procedural safeguards from the NH Department of Education
Section 504 information from the NH Department of Education, including guides to Section 504 Hearings
Individual Advocacy - Education
2011: A student with multiple medical and developmental needs was stranded at a medical hospital as a “social” admission because her family could not manage her many needs, and the various involved agencies (area agency, school district) could not agree on responsibility for her care and education. The DRC attorney spent hundreds of hours negotiating a solution so the child could have her medical needs met and receive an appropriate education. The attorney was able to get the area agency and school district to agree to jointly fund a placement. When it was time to plan for the next school year, the school district refused to continue funding at the current placement, so the DRC attorney once again represented the child and her parent, filing for a due process hearing. Prior to the hearing, a mediation agreement was reached and the child’s education continued, including an agreement that she could remain in school past her 21st birthday in order to graduate.
2011: DRC represented a student with severe emotional disabilities that impair his ability to function in school. The school district refused to identify or provide “Nick” with special education services, despite having an independent psychological evaluation with a recommendation that he be identified for special education. Instead, he was repeatedly suspended from school due to behaviors which his parent and psychologist believed were manifestations of his disability. DRC intervened and convinced the school district to identify Nick as needing special education, to retain an outside behavior specialist to conduct a functional behavior assessment and to develop a positive behavior plan.