Metrowest Legal Services –School & Student Rights
The Children’s Education Advocacy Project
MWLS education attorneys assist students and parents in special education and discipline cases in schools. We work with families to make sure that each student’s needs are correctly identified, his/her/their rights are protected, appropriate services are developed and delivered, and opportunities for continued education are preserved.
Children’s Education Advocacy Project attorneys help families by:
- Reviewing and offering advice on documents;
- Representing students at IEP (Individualized Education Plan) team meetings and/or discipline hearings;
- Negotiating for students with school personnel or school attorneys; and/or
- Representing students at mediation or further due process actions including hearing before the Bureau of Special Education Appeals.
To promote equal and non-discriminatory treatment for all students, the Children’s Education Advocacy Project also addresses inequities facing low-income and minority children who may be more vulnerable due to poverty, race, limited English, or disability.
High-Quality Education for All Students Program
The Right to High-Quality Education Project was conceived by the Center for Law and Education, bringing together education attorneys placed in legal aid offices throughout the Commonwealth to respond to challenges faced by low-income families of students in public school districts in their geographic catchment areas.
Most of the students who are assisted by the work of the project are students of color, English learners, and those with special needs. The project is grounded in systemic advocacy to assist students in having access to the same educational opportunities as their peers so that they can achieve a high-quality education that will help them graduate, continue to post-secondary education if they choose to do so, and be prepared to embark on a career of their choosing.
No. Due to budget and staffing constraints, not everyone gets access to a MWLS lawyer. Many clients are given advice only or brief service, or are referred to another agency if their legal problem does not fall within our priorities. MWLS has a Pro Bono panel where private lawyers in the community volunteer to accept cases within our program priorities. Applicants must still meet the same financial guidelines as MWLS in-house services. Referrals for pro bono services are made through our office.
If you are over-income, you may contact the Boston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service or the Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service. You will be referred to an attorney convenient to your home or office, practicing in the area of law you need.
Yes. MWLS has staff fluent in Spanish and Portuguese as well as access to interpreters for clients who speak other languages.
No. MWLS provides these services free of charge.
An intake is a call or in-person meeting with MWLS staff to provide more detail your legal problem. Your information is then given to the appropriate advocate who will then contact you directly.
An intake worker will conduct a screening interview over the phone. We collect basic information during these screening interviews to help us confirm whether you are eligible and if we can help.
All information that you give us, either online, in person, or by phone, is kept confidential.
At Apply for Legal Help, our eligibility form is easy to use! If you are eligible for our services, you will be contacted by an intake worker who will conduct an intake to get more detailed information about you and your legal problem.
If for some reason the online form is not an option, call our office at 508-620-1830 or 1-800-696-1501 to be screened for eligibility.
Our services are available to residents who live in the communities we serve, meet our income guidelines, and whose requests for help fall within the priorities listed in our programs.
MWLS seeks to make legal services available to as many clients as possible. These services may be limited to advice only because we do not have enough staff to handle all of the requests.
If you are not eligible for our services, we may be able to refer you to other agencies or resources who can help you.
If you are a senior citizen, aged 60 or older, a victim of crime or the survivor of a homicide victim there are no income eligibility guidelines to receive our services.
See Eligibility for more details.
We provide services exclusively in civil (non-criminal) matters. Because we do not have the resources to handle every eligible client’s case, our staff must choose those cases in which our representation will have a significant impact on the client. Our priority cases include:
· Public Benefits (including unemployment)
· Elder Law
· Health Care Access
· Domestic Violence
· Immigration Assistance for Victims of Abuse
· Advocacy for Victims of Crime
For a detailed description of the types of cases we handle, see Get Legal Help.