Cedar Law is available to assist you in understanding your educational rights. If you’re looking for someone to review your student’s IEP or 504 plan, or you are concerned about the way a school is handling bullying, harassment, discipline, or any other issue, Cedar Law can help. We can work as your attorney providing advice behind the scenes or represent you with the school district, college, or university.
If you have PTA/PTSA or community group where parents or students are interested in learning more about how to advocate for themselves we can provide a training.
We also encourage you to explore the significant number of resources available to help you understand your rights and the school’s responsibilities. We have gathered some of the resources we think are most valuable. This is not an exhaustive list, but it should help empower you to be an informed advocate for yourself or your student.
- ACLU of Washington – The ACLU-Wa has a number of Know Your Rights publications for students, including: Student Discipline, Police in Schools, Political Speech, Protest, and Walkouts, A Parent’s Guide to Truancy, and a Student Rights Guide.
- Legal Voice – Legal Voice provides a number or resources. Including a listing of the Tile IX coordinators at the Washington State universities and colleges. state resources for sexual assault programs. They also have a “Hold Your School Accountable” section to help you understand what to expect of your school and how to file various complaints.
- U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights – This agency is responsible for enforcing Title IX. Complaints can be filed through the OCR. While not always easy to understand, the U.S. Department of Education provides a significant amount of resources, they have sections discussing 504 plans and IEPs, understanding special education law, civil rights laws.
- Team Child – Team Child is a great organization and is one of the many resources available in Washington to help support low-income youth. Here’s how they describe themselves: “TeamChild staff attorneys provide legal representation and advice to help youth assert their right to services that meet their basic needs. Our attorneys work directly with youth to identify their goals and create a plan to achieve those goals. For example, we help children get back into school, find safe and stable housing, get healthcare and mental health services, and access other public support. Legal representation from TeamChild is effective in reducing juvenile court involvement and improving access to education, healthcare, and housing.”
- Washington State Office of the Education Ombuds (OEO) – resolves complaints, disputes, and problems between families and Washington State elementary and secondary public schools. They intervene in issues such as: bullying/harassment, cyber bullying, suspensions, expulsions, special education, enrollment, transportation, discipline, academic progress, truancy, transition from pre-school to Kindergarten.
- Washington State Human Rights Commission – The mission of the WSHRC is to eliminate and prevent discrimination in Washington State through the fair application of the law, efficient use of resources, and establishment of productive partnerships in the community. This agency is responsible for administering and enforcing the Washington Law Against Discrimination and can investigate violations of state law against discrimination.
- Washington State Attorney General’s Office – The Attorney General’s Wing Luke Civil Rights Division works to protect the civil rights of everyone in Washington. They investigate discrimination in a range of areas, including in employment, housing, education, credit and insurance transactions, and at government offices and businesses that are open to the public. The Attorney General’s Office published a Civil Rights Resource Guide to inform Washington residents about their civil rights under state and federal law and available resources.
Non Legal Resources
- The ARC of Washington State advocates for the rights of full participation of all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They have a Parent to Parent Program and a Resource Library.
- Disability Rights Washington – DRW focuses on protecting the rights of people with disabilities statewide. They focus on the dignity, equality, and self-determination of people with disabilities. They have specific resources for education and children and youth.
- GLSEN – Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network – GLESN is a national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. They do research, provide resources, have safe space kits, and empower students. Washington State has a GLSEN chapter that provides workshops throughout the state.
- El Centro De La Raza – is the hub of Latino/a/x community, with a strong commitment o the struggle for Civil Rights for all persons, including providing child and youth programs.
- King County Trans Resource & Referral Guide – Updated in 2017, this guide is an “updated, comprehensive community tool for trans and gender nonconforming individuals, their families and local health and human service providers.” The guide was created by an all-trans work group. Disponible en español.
- NAACP -Seattle King County – The NAACP – is the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Both the NAACP national and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) work focus on legal issues impacting communities of color, with specific concerns about political, educational, social, social and economic equality of all citizens. They provide specific information about their work on educational equity.
- Office of the Superintendent of Instruction (OSPI) – OSPI oversees Washington schools. OSPI has a number of resources, including the safety center, which includes information about bullying and harassment and resources available for students with disabilities, including a list of NonPublic Agencies (NPA) that districts can contract with when they are unable to meet a student’s special education needs.
- Seattle Children’s PlayGarden Providing preschool, summer camps, and open play accessible to children of all abilities.
- Washington Autism Alliance and Advocacy works to bridge the gap between health and education policies that serve children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disabilities. They’ve created the ABC’s of IEP’s that can you understand your IEP and ensure that it addresses your student’s needs.