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DRM Education Workgroup


Overview 

DRM’s Education Workgroup is primarily focused on increasing opportunities for children with disabilities in K-12 public schools and ensuring their access to a free appropriate public education (FAPE). On occasion, our work may extend to other education providers such as adult education, vocational programs, and universities. It is our mission to improve special education outcomes and educational equality through our advocacy and legal efforts.  

DRM believes a student’s future depends on their educational experience.   To this end, we advocate on behalf of your child to ensure educational programs are meeting their legal obligations under federal and state laws, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Article X of the Montana Constitution.

How to request assistance  

To qualify for DRM services, a student must experience a qualifying disability and meet DRM’s Education Unit objectives and priorities, which change from year to year. The cases we accept are also impacted by our resources and staffing at the time the case comes in.  

To request assistance for your child, please contact DRM at (800) 245-4743 or by email at: advocate@disabilityrightsmt.org. Your call or email will be directed to our intake staff for an initial screening. Following the initial screening, intake staff will refer your information to the Special Education Unit at DRM. It is helpful if you fill out DRM’s Education Intake Form, available here before calling, however if you need assistance filling out that form, one of our intake specialists would be happy to help. 

If your case is accepted, you will receive a letter notifying you about the services DRM can provide or be asked to sign a retainer agreement regarding DRM’s services. Services may include advocacy support for a specific issue, limited scope legal representation for a particular issue or task, or legal representation regarding a broader scope of work. 

If your case is not accepted by the Education Unit, it may be because the case did not meet our case selection criteria or we did not have the resources available to provide assistance at that time. DRM will make every effort to provide appropriate referrals in these instances.  

Please note it may take 7-10 days for Education Workgroup staff to return your call due to our screening processes. We recommend you contact our office prior to the beginning of the school year or well in advance of any scheduled meetings.

DRM Special Education Priorities  

DRM establishes priorities for our programs following the guidance of our Board of Directors. Our program priorities are written yearly and based on identified needs. DRM makes every effort to ensure program priorities align with the education issues identified by our stakeholders, Board of Directors, and the disability community. If you have any feedback for DRM about the broader special education issues we should address, please email us.

The Education section of the DRM website was supported in part by a generous grant from the Montana Justice Foundation.

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Disclaimer

This site provides general information only and is not intended to provide exhaustive manual to education law.  Education law is complicated and comes from a combination of federal and state law and regulations, court interpretations of law and regulation, and administrative agency guidance. The law is complex and changes all the time, therefore there is no guarantee that information on this site is accurate, complete or applicable in your specific situation.  

The facts of each case are unique and how the law applies in any situation depends on the particular facts of the case. For legal advice about specific facts you should consult with an attorney licensed to practice law in your area. 

Nothing on this site should be relied on as legal advice, as a substitute for consultation with an attorney or the exercise of sound, independent judgment by the user. If you have any questions about anything on this site, you should consult an attorney. Use of the site does not create or imply an attorney-client relationship or consent to provide any legal or advocacy services by Disability Rights Montana. 

Disability Rights Montana shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity regarding any loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused, directly or indirectly, by the information contained on this site. If you do not wish to be bound by the disclaimer, please exit this site now.