We are lawyers for educators. Our practice is focused on assisting our school board clients in the day-to-day management of their districts, ranging from the interpretation of New York State laws and regulations, including the Education Law, the Commissioner's Regulations, the Taylor Law, the Freedom of Information Law, the Open Meetings Law, the General Municipal Law, and the like, to guidance on federal statutes such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"), the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA"), and the Americans with Disabilities Act. We provide in depth guidance and support on all matters impacting school operations, including policy matters, budget development, fiscal management, special education, staff employment and evaluations, student discipline and collective bargaining, just to name a few.
As general counsel, our firm has substantial experience handling a wide spectrum of education matters. We assist our clients with policy review and development; offer guidance on recent legislation, rule changes, and significant court rulings; and provide technical assistance to district clerks, board members and administration regarding the conduct of annual and special school district elections. We routinely respond to questions concerning layoff, tenure and seniority; reserve funds; construction matters; purchasing and procurement of goods and services; the Freedom of Information Law; the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act; the Open Meetings Law; the Americans with Disabilities Act; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974; the Family Medical Leave Act; civil service issues; students' and employees' rights; and criminal and commercial law matters.
In addition, our partners and associates regularly represent our school district clients in all stages of administrative and court proceedings, including student discipline matters pursuant to Education Law §3214 (including manifestation determinations for special needs students); guardianship, residency, adoption, custody and Child Protective Services matters; appeals to the Commissioner of Education and the Office of State Review; school board liability issues; discrimination matters before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the State Division of Human Rights and the U.S. Department Education Office for Civil Rights; matters before the Unemployment and Workers' Compensation Boards; and a variety of matters in federal and state courts. We also have considerable experience in defending our school district clients in federal civil rights actions alleging discrimination based upon age, race, sex and/or disability.
The firm regularly assists our school district clients in negotiating and drafting architects' and construction managers' contracts, and preparing information and materials for public bids and requests for proposals. Our attorneys have provided legal assistance to our school district clients in the purchase and sale of school district property, as well as advice and counsel regarding asbestos removal from school district buildings.
April 23, 2017
On April 23, 2017, Timothy Mahoney will be presenting at LRP’s 38th National Institute on Legal Issues of Educating Individuals with Disabilities. There he will present “Addressing Bullying in the IEP,” reviewing the effects of the 2d Circuit’s 2016 landmark decision of T.K. v. New York City Department of Education and Judge Weinstein’s four-prong test to determine when bullying constitutes a denial of FAPE, offering insights into IEP-based responses to bullying — both for the victim and assailant, and addressing schoolwide and districtwide prevention strategies available to school districts to address bullying.
December 6-7, 2016
On December 7, 2016, Jack Feldman presented a program on 504 plans on behalf of National Business Institute. 504 plans, like IEPs, are essential tools to ensure positive learning outcomes for many students. They also have the potential to cause legal issues for schools if they aren't properly planned and carried out. The seminar addressed creating legally compliant 504 plans, addressed tricky eligibility questions, and provided guidance to avoid common pitfalls under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. www.nbi-sems.com.
Friday, October 21, 2016
Jack Feldman will conduct a full-day seminar on "Developing a Bulletproof IEP." The program will cover IDEA and its regulations, as well as the New York State Regulations. It is important for those working in special education to keep up to date with procedures for conducting a CSE meeting and developing a defensible, bulletproof IEP. This seminar aims to provide a comprehensive, one-day approach to the impact of IDEA on New York Special Education Law, for those working within the education system. Administrators, board members, regular and special educators, related service providers, counselors, psychologists, and social workers will find this seminar invaluable and are encouraged to attend. The seminar is sponsored by PESI. The seminar will also cover discipline for students with disabilities, including a discussion about the standards to be applied in manifestation determinations and when and why FBAs should be conducted and BIPs developed and reviewed. The seminar will also cover initial referrals, evaluations, medical diagnoses, classification and more. For additional information visit www.PESI.com.
October 28, 2016
Florence Frazer and Jack Feldman will be presenting at the New York State School Board Association's upcoming Annual Convention. On October 28, 2016, Florence will participate in a clinic on "Educator Discipline - How are the New Rules Working?" New Rules that went into effect last year have been changing the way in which school boards approach the discipline of tenured teachers and administrators, and how hearing officers are conducting section 3020-a disciplinary proceedings. Hear from seasoned attorneys about some of the lessons learned this past year. Find out about the legal and practical issues school boards need to be mindful of moving forward. On October 29, 2016, Jack will participate in a clinic on "Special Education - What is New?" There, find out how recent developments are changing school district responsibilities for the education of students with disabilities. What are the current and emerging challenges facing districts in this area of law? Hear the issues school boards and their administrators need to know about to appropriately serve their disabled students. For more information, visit NYSSBA.
June 14, 2016
On June 14, 2016, Jack Feldman, Laura Ferrugiari and Timothy Mahoney presented a full day program on the discipline of students with disabilities who have behavioral issues. The seminar included an overview of the applicable laws regarding IDEA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and jurisdiction of the federal government vs. state government. Discussions regarding FBAs and BIPs; when and why FBAs should be conducted; BIPs and their relation to IEPs, 504 Behavior Management Plans and Section 504. Although no educator enjoys it, disciplining students is a common part of any school day and can create complicated legal dilemmas. Moreover, disciplining students whose misbehavior is a manifestation of their disabilities is also all too common, giving rise to a series of legal issues. These situations require copious and accurate documentation, and this documentation has to be legally sound. This program is designed for teachers, principals and vice principals, counselors, psychologists social workers, school nurses, special education providers, school administrators, attorneys and paralegals. For more information visit www.nbi-sems.com.
We are pleased to announce that an article written by Laura Ferrugiari and Tim Mahoney has been featured in the Nassau County Bar Association's monthly newspaper, The Nassau Lawyer. The article, entitled "Permissible Drug Use: The Administration of Medication in the School Setting," reviews the administration of medication in emergency circumstances in school, and advises districts about who is authorized to administer emergency medication and under what circumstances.