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Special Education and the Law

Special Education and the Law
A Guide for Practitioners

Fourth Edition

Forewords by Richard D. Lavoie and Suzanne Eckes

March 2021 | 288 pages | Corwin
The essential resource for success in special education

Educators face major challenges when addressing the needs of students with disabilities. This includes understanding a complex legal field: special education law. Special Education and the Law, Fourth Edition: A Guide for Practitioners is the ultimate for busy educators. Osborne and Russo, past presidents of the Educational Law Association, are experts in translating legalese into language that educators can understand. They have created a resource that examines legislation and interprets the statutes and their regulations in a reader-friendly format. Major topics include rights of access to public education, procedural due process, placement requirements, delivery of related services, discipline of students with disabilities, and remedies for failure to adhere to the law. With a preventative approach to litigation that separates it from other publications, this book features:

  • Updates on legal developments from the almost-1000 federal and state cases decided since publication of the third edition in 2014
  • Coverage of IDEA, ADA, FAPE, 504, discipline, IEPs, LRE, parental considerations, public vs. private school considerations, and attorney fees
  • A focus on federal and state interpretations

With its user-friendly format, this resource will help educators focus on their core competency: providing exemplary education to students with special needs.
Online Resources for Special Education and the Law, Fourth Edition
Foreword - Richard D. Lavoie
Foreword - Suzanne Eckes
About the Authors
Chapter 1: Special Education Law: An Introduction
Key Updates

Sources of Law

Court Systems

Finding Legal Material

History of the Equal Educational Opportunity Movement

Legislative Mandates

Frequently Asked Questions


Questions for Discussion

Chapter 2: Rights to a Free Appropriate Public Education
Key Updates

Free Appropriate Public Education

Least Restrictive Environment

Entitlement to Services


Students in Non-Public Schools

Frequently Asked Questions


Questions for Discussion

Chapter 3: Related Services, Assistive Technology, and Transition Services
Key Updates

Related Services

Assistive Technology

Transition Services

Frequently Asked Questions


Questions for Discussion

Chapter 4: Parent and Student Rights
Key Updates

Parental Rights

Student Records and Privacy

Frequently Asked Questions


Questions for Discussion

Chapter 5: Due Process Procedures for Evaluation, Development of IEPs, and Placement
Key Updates

Evaluation Procedures

Developing Individualized Education Programs

Changes in Placements

Frequently Asked Questions


Questions for Discussion

Chapter 6: Student Discipline
Key Updates

Pre-1997 Case Law

The 1997 and 2004 IDEA Amendments

Frequently Asked Questions


Questions for Discussion

Chapter 7: Dispute Resolution
Key Updates

Resolution Sessions


Due Process Hearings

Judicial Review

Statutes of Limitations

Cases Under Other Statutes

Frequently Asked Questions


Questions for Discussion

Chapter 8: Remedies for Failure to Provide a Free Appropriate Public Education
Key Updates

Tuition Reimbursement

Compensatory Educational Services

Attorney Fees and Costs


Frequently Asked Questions


Questions for Discussion

Chapter 9: Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act
Key Updates

Eligibility for Protections Under Section 504 and the ADA

Discrimination in Education Prohibited

Otherwise Qualified Students with Disabilities

Providing Reasonable Accommodations

Testing and Evaluation

Participation in Athletics and Extracurricular Activities

Section 504 Service Plans

Defenses to Charges of Noncompliance

Frequently Asked Questions


Questions for Discussion

Chapter 10: Conflict Management: IDEA Compliance
Key Updates

Preventative Law

Dispute Resolution

Selecting an Attorney


Questions for Discussion


Osborne and Russo provide a relevant, useful guide for practitioners working with students with disabilities and their families. The book is “busy-teacher” friendly, providing comprehensive information in an easy-to-read format.

Debi Gartland
Professor of Special Education, Towson University

A well written resource for anyone involved in the Special Education process. This resource is one that should be referred to often when working with parents, schools, advocates, and courts.

Erin Schons
Assistant Education Director, Children’s Home Society of South Dakota

Rebecca Brooks
Assistant Professor, Cal State Univ, San Marcos

It is vitally important that teachers and building level administrators be versed in education law since it is often their actions that create litigation and consequent case law.  This is particularly true in special education where statutory and procedural mandates are changing and complex.  Drs. Osborne and Russo's 4th edition of Special Education and the Law presents a straight forward and easy to understand reference as well as an enjoyable read of essential knowledge and legal background for practitioners that should be required reading in all schools of education and administration.

Lois F. Berlin
Retired Superintendent, Falls Church City and Alexandria City, VA

Special education law is among the most complex legal fields because it requires precise educational plans for each individual child, collaborative interaction between school officials and parents, and involves extensive statutory, regulatory, and judicial mandates. Nonetheless, Allan Osborne and Charlie Russo make the complex simple while ensuring that the reader understands the subtleties of the law. The fourth edition, which includes updates on two landmark Supreme Court cases, should be an essential part of any school official’s library.

William E. Thro
General Counsel of the University of Kentucky and award winning education law scholar

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ISBN: 9781071818954