Special Education and Disabilities

Serving students with disabilities raises many complex legal issues for schools. These issues often involve understanding and complying with federal laws such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Additional Resources

OCR response to NSBA's May 21, 2013 letter seeking clarification re: OCR January 2013 DCL
OCR has issued a response to NSBA' May 2013 letter seeking clarification of OCR guidance regarding schools' responsibilities under Section 504 to provide disabled students with opportunities to participate in extracurricular athletics.

T.F. v. Fox Chapel Area Sch. Dist., No. 01666 (W.D. Pa Nov. 5, 2013)
Federal district court rules Pennsylvania district did not deny student with a tree-nut allergy a FAPE in violation of § 504.

N.W. v. Poe
Kentucky district court opinion holding that IDEA's "stay-put" provision requires reimbursing parents for unilateral private school even though student was transitioning back to public school

NSBA Response to OCR's January 25, 2013 "Dear Colleague Letter" - Disabled Students Participation in Extracurricular Athletics
NSBA letter to OCR expressing its concern and request clarification on several points set forth in the Dear Colleague Letter issued on January 25, 2013 on the participation of students with disabilities in extracurricular sports.

I&A Section 504 January 2013

I&A March/April 2013 Section 504

D.L. Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners
Fourth Circuit panel decision 2013 holding that disabled student unilaterally place in private school not entitle ro Section 504 services.

Long v. Murray Cnty. Sch. Dist.
MCSD's Eleventh Circuit brief - section 504, ADA claim peer bullying-harassment

NSBA Amicus Brief - Arlington Central School District v. Murphy (U.S. Sup. Ct.)
IDEA: whether “prevailing party” is entitled to recover expert fees on the same basis as attorneys fees

NSBA Amicus Brief - Attica Central Schools v. JS (U.S. Sup. Ct.)
IDEA: exhaustion of administrative remedies

Bd. of Educ. of the City Sch. Dist. of the City of New York v. Tom F. (U.S. Sup. Ct.)
IDEA: tuition reimbursement

NSBA Amicus Brief - Beth B. v. VanClay (7th Cir.)
IDEA: mainstreaming of profoundly disabled student - free appropriate public education requirement.

NSBA Amicus Brief - Cedar Rapids v. Garret F. (U.S. Sup. Ct.)
IDEA: disabled student requiring one-on-one nursing care in classroom - included related services versus excluded medical services.

NSBA Amicus Brief - Hamilton County Dep't of Education v. Deal (U.S. Sup. Ct.)
IDEA: standard for determining whether IEPs provide a free appropriate public education.

NSBA Amicus Brief - James. v. Upper Arlington City School District Board of Education (6th Cir.)
IDEA: request for IEP for student not enrolled in school district triggering duty to reimburse parents for private school tuition.

NSBA Amicus Brief - John M. v. Board of Education of Evanston Township High School District 202. (7th Cir.)
IDEA: current educational placement

NSBA Amicus Brief - Schaffer v. Vance (4th Cir.)
IDEA: due process hearing - placing the burden of proof on the school district.

NSBA Amicus Brief - Schaffer v. Weast (U.S. Sup. Ct.)
IDEA: burden of proof in due process hearings.

NSBA Amicus Brief - Thompson R2-J School Dist. v. Luke P. (10th Cir.)
IDEA: substantive standard for FAPE--self sufficiency

NSBA Amicus Brief - Unified School District No. 259 v. Disability Rights Center of Kansas (10th Cir.)
FERPA: disclosure of student records to protection and advocacy groups.

NSBA Amicus Brief - Weast v. Schaffer (4th Cir.)
IDEA: placement of burden of proof in special education due process hearings.

NSBA Amicus Brief - Winkelman v. Parma City School District (U.S. Sup. Ct.)
IDEA: Parent representing child pro se in court.

NSBA Amicus Brief - Alexandria City Schools v. A.K. (U.S. Sup. Ct.)
IDEA: Individualized education program—definition of “location” of services—denial of free appropriate public education

NSBA Amicus Brief - Forest Grove School District v. T.A. (U.S. Sup. Ct.)
IDEA: tuition reimbursement—child who has not previously received special education services from school district

NSBA Amicus Brief - Forest Grove School Dist. v. T.A. (U.S. Sup. Ct.—Merits)
IDEA: tuition reimbursement—child who has not received special education services from school district. Filed 3/4/2009.

NSBA Amicus Brief - El Paso Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Richard R. (5th Cir.)
IDEA: Settlement offer –enforceability without court review; mootness of lawsuit seeking same relief as rejected settlement offer. Filed 3/12/09.

COSA eDocs Store resources on special education and disabilities
A collection of downloadable resources available individually for purchase from the NSBA Council of School Attorneys (COSA) for modest fees.

Center for Special Education Finance
The Center for Special Education Finance (CSEF) addresses fiscal policy questions related to the delivery and support of special education services throughout the United States.

National Association of State Directors of Special Education
NASDSE is dedicated to supporting state agency staff carry out their mission of ensuring a quality education for students with disabilities.

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs
The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) is the administrative agency tasked with implementation of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is an administrative agency charged with the enforcement in educational institutions of various civil rights statutes, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (§ 504) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

School boards and special education
Nov. 2006 issue of NSBA newsletter Leadership Insider. Includes articles on the school board's governance role in special education; moving beyond the adversarial system; wars stories and lessons learned; what school boards should know about IDEA 2004; response to intervention (RTI); and overrepresentation of minorities (disproportionality).

Additional online resources on schools boards and special education
Collection of online resources accompanying the November 2006 issue of NSBA newsletter Leadership Insider, including those discussed in the articles.

Orange County Department of Education Summary of 2004 IDEA Reauthorization

WrightsLaw on Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004
In this series of articles, WrightsLaw discusses substantive changes to IDEA.

IDEA 2004 gives expanded authority to local school boards

Federal district court holds that student stated valid claim for denial of FAPE under IDEA based on peer bullying and harassment

Petition for Certiorari - Doe v. Todd County Sch. Dist.
Doe's petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme - student rights, special education - IDEA - due process

C.C. v. CSD
Illinois federal district court grants preliminary injunction allowing student with autism to bring service dog to school

JCSDR-1 v. Elizabeth E.
IDEA: Tuition reimbursement - is private school placement reasonably calculated to provide some educational benmefit - proper test

Ohlmeyer v. New York City Dep't of Educ.
U.S. legal complaint under False Claims Act alleging NYCDE billed for Medicaid services not rendered to specials needs students

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