Students have rights with respect to education services. The Legal Aid Society provides early intervention, special education, general education and school suspension advocacy for children in New York City.
If The Legal Aid Society represents you or your child in a Family Court or Criminal Court case, you can reach out to the attorney for help with education issues.
If you are not involved in a Family Court or Criminal Court case, you can ask for help with your child’s education needs by calling The Legal Aid’s Civil Access to Benefits helpline at 888-663-6880.
If your child needs representation for an upcoming Superintendent’s Suspension Hearing, please call our Suspension Hotline at 718-250-4510.
To access special education for your 3-5 year old child, you need to make a referral to the Committee on Preschool Education in the school district where the child lives. Learn more about how to get your child enrolled, and what to expect in the process.
To access special education for a 5-22 year old child in public school, you need to make a referral to the principal or school psychologist. If your child attends private school, charter school, or is not enrolled, you should send your referral to the Committee on Special Education for the district where the child lives. Learn more about how to get your child special education services, and what to expect in the process.
Early Intervention is a free program that provides services to children birth to age three who have developmental delays or disabilities. In New York City the program is run by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Learn more about how you can access Early Intervention for your child, and what you can expect along the way.
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act protects the educational rights of students who are homeless. Learn more about the process and eligibility.
The Department of Education (DOE) offers a variety of options for students who have not succeeded in traditional high school environments through Transfer Schools and District 79 Programs. Learn more below to see if you can benefit from these programs.
Children can be suspended from school for certain violations of the NYC Department of Education’s Discipline Code. Learn more about how to prevent suspensions, and what to expect at suspension hearings.
New York City provides educational opportunities for children starting with Pre-Kindergarten at age 4 through high school. Get help with school registration and enrollment below.
The justice system can be overwhelming. Get familiar with some legal terms and acronyms you might hear like appeal, adjournment, petition, jurisdiction, deposition, and affidavit.
Last Updated: 18 September 2019
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