LONG ISLAND ADVOCACY CENTER
LIAC remains open and ready to serve families!
We can help! Reach us TODAY!
516-248-2222 ext. 10 (Nassau)
631-234-0467 ext. 10 (Suffolk)
Visit us online at www.theliac.org for valuable updated information, links to more in-depth guidance, or to fill out an online intake.
El Long Island Advocacy Center brinda servicios y recursos en español. Por favor visite nuestro sitio web para más información.
Jessie* is a 6th grade Special Education student who attends an out-of-district placement for social-emotional and academic support. The placement is providing in-person specialized instruction 5 days/week and students receive all related services and accommodations as dictated by their IEP.
Jessie has siblings who attend their grade appropriate schools within their home district. Due to the medical fragility of Jessie’s parents, a full virtual/remote instruction program was requested for her siblings. The district would only grant that request with proof of the parents’ medical conditions and fragility. Upon receiving the required paperwork and proof, the home district granted a full virtual/remote instructional program for Jessie’s siblings. The district also abruptly terminated Jessie’s transportation to her out-of-district placement and subsequently informed Jessie’s parents that if one of their children receives virtual/remote instruction, all of their children must receive the same.
This action essentially stripped Jessie of the appropriate Special Education placement, specialized instruction, related services, and accommodations and the district was not providing FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education), which is the core legal entitlement of every student with a disability.
LIAC attorneys expeditiously prepared a Due Process Complaint/Impartial Hearing Request on behalf of the parents for the New York State Education Department. Knowing that a considerable amount of time can pass during the Impartial Hearing process, and that a child’s education can be significantly undermined and negatively impacted during that length of time, LIAC attorneys were also simultaneously communicating with the attorney for the school district to ensure this issue was resolved in the fastest and most appropriate way possible.
Ultimately, our attorneys were able to negotiate a full and immediate return for Jessie to her out-of-district placement, with specialized transportation,
without needing to file the Due Process Complaint.
Jessie is back in her appropriate educational placement, receiving the specialized instruction, related services, and accommodations to which she is legally entitled, and is continuing to work towards achieving her social-emotional and academic goals.
*Name has been changed to protect confidentiality of our clients.
The Long Island Advocacy Center offers comprehensive legal services to assist and protect students in public education. Our attorneys work closely with the education advocates to ensure New York State regulations and Federal laws are being followed in public schools throughout Long Island. We advise parents of their legal rights, negotiate on their behalf and represent parents at administrative hearings to obtain services their children are entitled to.
LIAC attorneys assist parents of students involved in disciplinary actions. We provide representation at Superintendent hearings, negotiate settlements, and ensure students receive alternative instruction during the suspension period. LIAC also advocates for alternatives to suspensions and restorative justice practices.
Reopening Schools and Revising Plans
Since the start of the school year earlier this month, some districts have amended their plans for educating their students. If you’re unsure of what’s happening in your district, use our directory to quickly locate your school district’s plan.
Nassau districts can be found here.
Suffolk districts can be found here.
Technology and Connectivity
If your child is participating in a virtual/remote program (full or hybrid) and does not have a device (chromebook, laptop, tablet, etc.) your school must either provide one for your child OR provide alternative methods of instruction and assignments.
If your child is participating in a virtual/remote program (full or hybrid), has a device, but DOES NOT have access to the internet/consistent and reliable WiFi, Optimum has FREE emergency wifi hotspots located all over Long Island. All you need to do is connect to their emergency network and accept their terms and conditions. (Please see pictures below)
USING THE FREE optimumwifi-Emergency Network from ANY Device:
Open the Device wireless settings and select optimumwifi-Emergency network:
Accept the Terms and Conditions for 1-Hour Free Access (repeatable)
Please note: Optimum’s emergency network provides free WiFi for 1-hour at a time, but you may repeat and reconnect to the network as many times as you need to throughout the day.
Liane Wolff is an education attorney with the Nassau office of the Long Island Advocacy Center, where she has been advocating on behalf of students with disabilities and students at risk for thirteen years. Liane earned her BA from Cornell University and her JD from New York University School of Law. For several years following law school, Liane practiced commercial litigation, family law and First Amendment law. At LIAC, Liane has particularly enjoyed the opportunity to advocate for families and help their children access appropriate and meaningful education. Her efforts include representing families whose children are suspended or illegally prevented from attending school, as well as representing families navigating difficult special education challenges.
Eilleen Buckley is LIAC’s supervising attorney. Eilleen has been advocating for the rights of children for over 20 years. Eilleen graduated with a BSW from Adelphi University School of Social Welfare and received her JD from Villanova University School of Law. She has spent her career in public interest law, beginning at Nassau County Legal Aid Society in the Family Court Bureau. She has also worked as a Law Guardian (Attorney for the Child) in Nassau County Family Court. After parenting a child with special needs, Eilleen pivoted to advocating for students with disabilities. Eilleen joined LIAC in 2006 and works primarily in Suffolk County in the PINS Diversion Program. She addressed issues of truancy, trauma, residency, appropriate educational services, bi-lingual education, bullying, behavior problems, discipline hearings and the school to prison pipeline, ensuring that all children receive a legally appropriate education.