Free Legal Clinic Aims to Help Children with Special Education Needs

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – October 13, 2011 – Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA), in partnership with Disability Rights Texas (DRTX) and the San Antonio Bar Association, will host a free legal clinic on Thursday, October 27, 2011 to provide parents of special needs children with free legal advice.

The Special Education Clinic will include a Know-Your-Rights presentation to help families become advocates for their children in the special education system and will allow families to receive free legal help to address their children’s special education needs. Attendees will be paired with attorneys who can discuss their legal options, answer questions, help develop a strategy to deal with their children’s needs and, in some circumstances, accept their cases for legal representation.

“This clinic represents a growing need for parents to be informed of their child’s rights while in school,” says Kathryn Newell, TRLA attorney and special education team manager. “It’s great that we have been able to work with Disability Rights Texas and local bar associations to meet that need.”

The clinic will take place at 5:30 p.m. at TRLA’s San Antonio office on 1111 N. Main Avenue. It will be offered in English and Spanish. Individuals seeking to register or more information can contact Laura Pope at 210-212-3746. Those needing immediate help can call 1-888-988-9996.

“Parents know their children’s education is an investment and a critical part of their future,” added DRTX attorney Luis Echeverria. “We must empower parents to protect their child’s education.”

The clinic will also train pro bono attorneys to represent children with special needs in school discipline and criminal cases. That portion of the clinic is part of TRLA’s School-to-Prison-Pipeline Project, sponsored by Texas Access to Justice Foundation and Equal Justice Works.

Established in 1970, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal services to low-income and disadvantaged clients in a 68-county service area. TRLA’s mission is to promote the dignity, self-sufficiency, safety and stability of low-income Texas residents by providing high-quality civil legal assistance and related educational services.

Created by Congress in 1975, Disability Rights Texas (formerly Advocacy, Incorporated) is a federally-funded civil rights organization and part of a national network designated to protect, advocate, and investigate on the behalf of individuals with disabilities.

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