In January 2009, the Butler Child Advocacy Center at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center referred a 9-year-old boy to NYLAG’s Special Education Unit. TE, a child with learning disabilities, needed assistance obtaining a “safety transfer” because he had been sexually molested by a classmate. TE’s mother took him out of school for weeks because of the abuse and felt he needed to be moved to a special education classroom in a different school.

After reviewing the case, NYLAG attorneys realized that TE needed more than a safety transfer. In fact, TE’s special education placement was not providing him with the free, appropriate, public education guaranteed to all disabled children pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. NYLAG’s Special Education Unit worked diligently with the Department of Education (DOE) to rectify this deprivation. While at first, the DOE was recalcitrant, eventually, after a very lengthy resolution session, it was agreed that TE would receive interim home instruction while awaiting placement in an appropriate private school.

Through extended advocacy, NYLAG has been able to secure a learning environment for TE that provides him emotional and physical safety and the academic support he needs. NYLAG will continue to partner with the Butler Center by providing training to its staff on legal issues related to special education.

NYLAG’s Special Education Unit represents children in need of special education, trains professionals and parents, and advocates for systemic improvements in special education.