Legal Aid Society

School & Student Rights

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.

How To Get Help

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 to be directed to 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.

Important Things To Know

NYC provides educational opportunities for children from pre-k to high school.

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Homeless students in NYC have the right to an education.

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Children can be suspended from school for certain violations of the NYC DOE’s Discipline Code.

Learn More

Terms You Might Hear

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.

  • Adjournment – A temporary postponement of a case until a specified future time.
  • Attorney – A person admitted to practice law and authorized to perform criminal and civil legal functions on behalf of clients.
  • Custody – The care, possession, and control of a thing or person.
  • Delinquency – An offense or misdemeanor; a misdeed; A debt or other financial obligation on which payment is overdue.
  • Evidence – A form of proof or probative matter legally presented at the trial of an issue by the acts of the parties and through witnesses, records, documents, concrete objects, etc., for the purpose of inducing belief in the minds of the court or the jury.
  • Expunge – To intentionally destroy, obliterate, or strike out records or information in files, computers, and other depositories.
  • Foster Care – A system in which a child lives with and is cared for by people who are not the child's parents for a period of time.
  • Lien – A claim on specific property for payment of a debt.
  • McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act – This law ensures educational rights and protections for children and youth experiencing homelessness.
  • Medicaid – A health insurance program for low-income and individuals with disabilities. Jointly paid for by the federal and state government.
  • Mortgage – A legal document by which the owner (i.e., the buyer) transfers to the lender an interest in real estate to secure the repayment of a debt, evidenced by a mortgage note.
  • Motion – A request to the court, usually in writing, for relief before the trial on the parties' claims, or for different or additional relief after the trial decision.
  • Petition – In special or summary proceedings, a paper like a document filed in court and delivered to the respondents, stating what the petitioner requests from the court and the respondents.
  • Surrender – To cancel or invalidate.
  • TPS – Temporary Protective Status. Offers temporary legal status to certain immigrants in the United States who cannot return to their home country due to ongoing armed conflict, natural disaster, or other extraordinary reasons.
  • Witness – A person who testifies to what they have seen, heard, or otherwise observed.