Despite the pandemic, school districts are presently obligated to provide a free and appropriate public education to the greatest extent possible. In this new distance learning reality, there are many challenges, especially for those with special needs. This program will also examine the challenges surrounding distance learning for students with disabilities and what attorneys can do to protect student rights.
The course will review recent legal developments in New Jersey special education, including directives and guidance from the New Jersey Department of Education, the Federal government, Governor Phil Murphy’s Executive Orders related to education, newly-enacted laws and temporarily modified regulations concerning virtual and remote instruction, and the status of the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) with respect to special education matters. This program will also discuss issues developing in the COVID-19 social distancing environment, including online parental waivers concerning the implementation of distance learning, annual IEP meetings, and student assessments.
Presented by Debra Clifford and Mary Frances Palisano, this program will benefit attorneys for children with special needs.
Ms. Clifford is an experienced litigator who focuses her practice on general complex commercial litigation and, in particular, education matters. As a mother of children with special needs, Ms. Clifford understands the many challenges and struggles parents encounter when advocating for their children. Because of her own personal experiences, she has a passion and commitment to help others benefit from the knowledge she has gained as both an attorney and a parent and serves as a leader of the firm’s Child Advocacy Team.
Ms. Clifford’s commercial litigation practice encompasses a broad range of litigation matters for public and private companies and individuals. Throughout her career, she has represented clients in trial and appellate work in state and federal courts of New York and New Jersey and has handled a number of arbitrations and mediations. Ms. Clifford has effectively managed large teams of attorneys to efficiently and effectively defend the firm’s clients.
A tenacious advocate and trusted legal advisor, Ms. Palisano understands how stressful it is for a client to be accused of a crime or for a family whose child has a legal issue. Ms. Palisano is an experienced litigator who focuses her practice on criminal defense, juvenile proceedings, school discipline matters, and special education. Ms. Palisano appreciates what is at stake not only for her clients, but for their families, too, and she has a deep-rooted commitment to working diligently to determine the most effective strategies and appropriate goals in each client’s unique situation.
Ms. Palisano began her legal career handling criminal cases in the trial division of the Legal Aid Society and has been practicing in the area of criminal defense for nearly 20 years. She is a vigorous protector of her clients’ rights, and her clients benefit from her unique, out-of-the-box thinking that comes only from experience. Ms. Palisano’s criminal defense practice includes counseling clients in all phases of criminal proceedings and quasi-criminal matters, including state charges, federal crimes, juvenile proceedings, internal investigations, and municipal court matters.
In the area of child advocacy, Ms. Palisano advocates for children with special needs so that they can obtain the education they need and have a right to receive, providing legal advice related to Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and accommodations, attending meetings with the child study teams, enforcing and revising IEPs, obtaining 504 plans, and handling mediation and due process hearings, among other services. With the right strategies and negotiation, many special education cases can be settled through conferences or mediation, but if needed, Ms. Palisano vigorously defends the rights of her clients through litigation. Ms. Palisano also provides representation when children are threatened with disciplinary action or are victims of students’ behavior.
great topic, very timely