News

Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Partner Presents on Manifestation Determination

 

The MCLE (Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education) sponsored an eLecture where Mary Ellen Sowyrda, a partner with Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, presented. Alongside Ms. Sowyrda was Daniel Ahearn, Esq., and Marlies Spanjaard from the Committee for Public Counsel Services. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), school authorities are required to conduct Manifestation Determination when it comes to discipling a student with disabilities. Their presentation, titled “How to Handle Manifestation Determination Reviews for Students with Disabilities”, focused on how to handle and maintain legal requirements for Manifestation Determination reviews when disciplining a student with disabilities, and provided tips when doing so.

 

The 60-minute eLecture was split into four segments. “Key Federal Statutory, Regulatory and Technical Guidance on Manifestation Determination, Including the Key Elements of the Process”, “Specific Massachusetts Legal Requirements that Impact the Conduct of the Manifestation Determination”, and “Practice Points Relating to Appellate Options within the District and the Bureau of Special Education Appeals” were all presented by Ms. Sowyrda and Mr. Ahearn. “Practical Insights about How to Prepare for and Conduct a Manifestation Determination” was presented by Ms. Sowyrda and Ms. Spanjaard.

 

Mary Ellen Sowyrda is a partner in the firm and heads the Special Education Department within Murphy, Hesse, Toomey and Lehane, LLP. The firm currently represents more than 125 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.

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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