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Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Partner Presents for the Vocational Association of Special Education Directors

 

Mary Ellen Sowyrda, a partner at Murphy, Hesse, Toomey and Lehane presented to the Vocational Association of Special Education Directors. Ms. Sowyrda’s long career within special education, as well as being head of the firm’s Special Education Department, provided her with a high level of experience for this presentation. Her speech, titled “COVID-19 and Special Education Issues”, focused on resuming school and the factors that teachers’ and students’ will need to consider. Some of the factors she talked about included the status of the virus in Massachusetts, parents’ willingness to return their children to in-person learning, and the willingness of the school’s staff regarding flexibility for remote learning. She also discussed the in-person considerations, MASC policy on face coverings, remote instruction considerations, and more. Throughout her presentation, Ms. Sowyrda provides many considerations that anyone in any education field would find useful.

 

Ms. Sowyrda is a partner in the firm and heads the Special Education Department within Murphy, Hesse, Toomey and Lehane, LLP. The firm currently represents approximately 160 school districts and educational collaboratives in the practice area of Special Education Law. She is involved in all aspects of litigation and alternative dispute resolution at the Bureau of Special Education Appeals, including representing clients at hearings, settlement conferences, pre-hearing conferences and mediations. She provides clients with daily advice on school-related legal issues including all aspects of special education, Section 504, student discipline, student records and anti-bullying laws, and deals with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and other state agencies that are associated with the provision of special education services to students. Ms. Sowyrda is a Phi Beta Kappa summa cum laude graduate of Boston College and a graduate of Boston College Law School. She is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association, and has been annually named a Super Lawyer by Boston Magazine from 2006 to the present.

Latest News

Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Partner Recognized as a Top Women of Law Honoree for 2022

  Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP is proud to announce that Attorney Kathryn Murphy, a Partner at the firm, has been selected as a Top Women of Law 2022 honoree by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. The honorees are selected based upon their “ significant contributions to the legal profession while also serving as role models for women entering the law.” Ms. Murphy is the first attorney at the firm to receive this prestigious honor. She has been practicing law at Read More

Legal Updates

NEW LEGISLATION ADDRESSING BARRIERS TO CARE FOR MENTAL HEALTH HAS IMPACTS ON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

On August 10, 2022, Chapter 177 of Acts of 2022, “An Act Addressing Barriers to Care for Mental Health” was signed by Governor Baker. For public schools, it has impacts on student discipline, special education services, and emergency response plans. The bill goes into effect on November 8, 2022. Set forth below are summaries of the new law’s impact in the identified areas.

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