PELE’s Empowering Military Families in Special Education Project was formed to provide legal assistance to military families in Virginia regarding the special education issues affecting their students with disabilities. The aim is to provide military families in Virginia with actionable legal advice to empower them to advocate on behalf of their students with disabilities.
The PELE Clinic will facilitate a limited legal consultation consisting of two meetings between Virginia military families and our pro bono partners on their special education matters. The pro bono attorney will be supported by law students, who will also review the client’s materials, actively participate in the consultation, and provide the client with the advice given in writing and any agreed-upon next steps. Any military attorneys or EFMP representatives who have been involved in the case are welcome to participate in these meetings. The families and their military advocacy team can then take the advice and implement as they see fit.
How It All Started
In February 2020, military families and advocates testified before Congress unearthing the lack of special education assistance afforded to their children. This testimony led our five U.S. military branches to contract with the Parents Engaged in Learning Equality (PELE) Special Education Advocacy Clinic at William & Mary (W&M) Law School. To better serve military families, the PELE Clinic provided an online special education law training in Summer 2020 to military attorneys, paralegals, and Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) case managers, who provide resources and support to military families with children with disabilities. While over 130 professionals received this critical training, the PELE Clinic felt that more could be done to support the military families in Virginia in advocating for their students’ special education, so the PELE Clinic devised this project with the support of the Virginia Law Foundation through a generous grant to provide legal services to Virginia’s military families in special education matters. The PELE Clinic also remains committed to providing trainings to both military personnel and families on special education law.
The PELE Clinic invites all military families stationed in Virginia to apply for a consultation with our legal team by filling out the form provided in the link below. If you would prefer, you may also access the form here in a print format, and then you can send it to us via email, mail, or fax.
We also encourage all military families to first reach out to their local Exception Family Member Program (EFMP) to see what resources they can provide you. All military attorneys, paralegals, and EFMP case managers who have been working with you to advocate for your student’s special education are welcome to participate in the consultation.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions. If you are filling out your application in the print format, the following contact methods are available for delivery of your application.
Phone: (757) 221-7421
Fax: (757) 221-1855
Parents Engaged for Learning Equality (PELE) Clinic
William & Mary School of Law
Post Office Box 8795
Williamsburg, Virginia 23187-8795