Questions about the impact of COVID-19 on schools in Ontario? See COVID-19 and School Reopening in Ontario FAQs

Is your child having problems at school?

PBO’s Education Law Program offers free legal help for families whose children face challenges to their rights in public schools.

Call our Free Legal Advice Hotline to speak to the program coordinator on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursday afternoons (1 PM to 3:30 PM), or apply using the form below.

Most people don’t think of school problems as legal problems. But children have rights when it comes to accessing special education supports, dealing with bullying, or in discipline matters like suspensions, expulsions and exclusion (situations when children are not allowed to enroll or told not to return to school).

The Education Law Program is Pro Bono Ontario’s free legal service for low and moderate-income families whose children face challenges to their rights at school. Through this program, volunteer lawyers help eligible students and their parents understand their legal rights and negotiate solutions when they feel unable to resolve conflicts with school administrators and officials.

Common problems include:

  • Unfair and unlawful suspensions, expulsions, exclusions or transfers;
  • Inability to access accommodation for special needs/disabilities;
  • Being denied the right to attend school;
  • Bullying, harassment and school safety issues.

Our volunteer lawyers can help in three ways:

  • By consulting with students and families on their legal rights;
  • By intervening on behalf of students with school administrators (by letter, phone or in person);
  • By representing students with special education and/or discipline appeals.
I have school concerns. How do I know if it’s time to get legal help?
  1. Has your child been sent home, suspended or expelled, with no written letter from the school?
  2. Has your child been kept from attending, or enrolling in, school?
  3. Does your child get repeatedly suspended?
  4. Is your child being denied special education services?
  5. Has your child been denied an IPRC meeting?
  6. Has your child’s IEP been changed without your consent?
  7. Is your school ignoring complaints about harassment or bullying?

When you feel shut out by your child’s school and unsure about your rights and obligations under education law, it may be time to get legal help.

Other Resources

Education Law Programs FAQs

COVID-19 and Schools in Ontario FAQs

Documents, videos, and other resources for parents

Applying For Help

If you think the Education Law Program could help your child, please complete the application below or call the Hotline at 1-855-255-7256 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursday afternoons (1 PM to 3:30 PM).