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Welcome

to my Special Education Law Practice!

Click here for Robert Gidding's Presentations and Seminars

 

Firm Practice

Hello and welcome to my practice-- I am a special education lawyer practicing in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I represent the parents of special needs children who are not receiving an appropriate education and who want to persuade or force school districts to improve educational progress for their children.

I obtained my law degree from Rutgers University in Newark, NJ where I was chosen for the academic honor of Law Review. After working for eight years at two large firms, I started my own practice in 1990. I practiced employment and discrimination law and then family and child welfare law; I represented parents in complex child custody cases which involved experts in the fields of psychology and medicine; these cases sometimes involved child welfare agencies such as DYFS in New Jersey or Children & Youth Services in Pennsylvania. I helped parents defend against false allegations of abuse and neglect.

One day, a parent hired me to rescue his son who had been suspended from school solely because of what he said to another student. This implicated the First Amendment right of free speech of high school students. I sued the school district in federal court and won a settlement that included payment of all my client's attorney's fees plus reinstatement of the student and expungment of the student's record.

From that day, my education law career began, and since then I have devoted most of my practice to education law. Many school districts are not educating their special needs children adequately. Many of these children are not making significant educational progress because SCHOOLS FAIL TO:

  • identify them as having special needs
  • adequately evaluate the children's needs
  • follow the evaluator's recommendations on programming
  • adopt research-based, valid educational strategies to attain the goals
  • adequately implement the educational plan
  • monitor progress under that plan
  • adjust the plan when the child fails to progress
  • ensure that the parents participate meaningfully in educational planning
  • adjust discipline to account for the disability of the child

The federal and state laws and regulations give parents significant RIGHTS to hold the school district ACCOUNTABLE. These rights include: participation in IEP meetings and on the team that adopts and implements an educational plan, notice of changes in educational placements, ability to convene IEP meetings when parents become concerned about educational progress, ability to file complaints against the district and force a hearing before an impartial administrative Judge, ability to insist on mediation of disputes over education, ability to win compensatory education awards and rulings which change IEP's and placements, and ability to force the school district to pay attorney's fees if the parent prevails at the hearings.

I offer the following services to parents:

  • review educational records to determine if the district has violated the laws
  • advise parents if their children are not making significant progress
  • advise if the school districts have violated their rights
  • accompany parents to IEP meetings and help them advocate for their children
  • file complaints against the school district and represent parents at hearings
  • help parents enforce IEP's already in place

IF YOU KNOW PARENTS OF SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR EDUCATION, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO REFER THEM TO ME.