Parents, educators and concerned citizens are invited to attend the Special Education Forum hosted by the Cuddy Law Firm and the Killeen Daily Herald at 6 p.m. today at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.

The event is designed to inform parents, educators and the community about common issues facing the special-needs student population, their families and teachers.

Guests will hear from experts in a variety of fields relating to special education.

The forum lineup includes Texas State Teachers Association President Noel Candelaria; Killeen Educators Association President Richard Beaulé; Andrew Cuddy, founder of The Cuddy Law Firm; Partners for Education spokesman Phillip Floyd; and In Child’s Best Interest founder and advocate Deborah Liva.

Candelaria, a former special-education teacher and current TSTA president, will speak about state and federal education funding issues, the toll dismal funding has on special education, and how the community can work to rise above these challenges.

“We talk a lot about the need for parental involvement in the classroom, but too often we focus that attention on inside the classroom walls and not really look at how policy and legislation impacts what happens in the classrooms,” Candelaria said Friday.

Cuddy will explain the hot-button issues most commonly facing special-education parents and their children and what services legal counsel can provide.

“I think most parents, until they have a crisis, think their kid’s needs are being met,” Cuddy said. “Then later on, they realize the child is not making the progress he should and now it’s a big problem.”

Beaulé plans to represent educators and address the road ahead in terms of special education.

“Ultimately this is about the students, the educators and the parents — it’s not about blame; it’s just about getting it fixed,” Beaulé said Friday.

Liva will feature a presentation on the rights of special-needs children to help parents understand the often confusing world of special education, she said.

“Knowledge is the biggest part of advocating for your child,” Liva said Monday.

Guests will have an opportunity to voice special education concerns and ask questions after the forum.

The Killeen Civic and Conference Center is at 3601 S. W.S. Young Drive.

Contact Lauren Dodd at ldodd@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7568

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