Special Education Law

By Vokey
  • Watson v. City of Cambridge

    Watson v. City of Cambridge
    Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling that a child “weak in mind”,was disrupting the education of other children and could not benefit from general instruction nor care for himself. As a result, the student was expelled from the public school.
  • Beattie v. Board of Education

    Beattie v. Board of Education
    Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled on behalf of the school district that they may exclude a student with a disability despite the fact that the student had already been attending public school until their fifth grade year. The student’s disability was observable and the school claimed it made staff and others uncomfortable as well as required too much time from educators.
  • Council For Exceptional Children

    Council For Exceptional Children
    The Council for Exceptional Children was founded in Virginia by students and faculty members of Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York.
  • NARC formed

    NARC formed
    The National Association for Retarded Citizens organized in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education
    A Civil Rights case addressed by the US Supreme Court focusing on segregated public schools and the inequality of equal opportunities and protections. Desegregation was the ruling in 1954 despite the fact that the case was argued in 1952. This case becomes influential in cases involving students with disabilities.
  • Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)

    Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
    An Act set in motion by Congress to address educational inequalities for children in less advantaged socio-economic standings. The results included assurance for disadvantaged students to receive an equal education.
  • ESEA

    Amendment to include funding support for states to expand and improve ESEA programs to include handicapped students.
  • Education of the Handicapped Act

    Education of the Handicapped Act
    Enacted by Congress with the intent of encouraging states to be mindful of the academic needs of individuals with disabilities resulting in the development of educational programs.
  • Two influential cases

    Two influential cases
    Mills v. Board of Education (Looked at suspension, expulsion, and exclusion of children with disabilities) & Pennsylvania Association of Retarded Citizens (PARC) v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Looked at the exclusion of children with mental retardation). *Both were court actions that resulted in the creation of the right to a special education for children with disabilities under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.
  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973

    Rehabilitation Act of 1973
    Introduction of Section 504 guaranteeing certain rights to individuals with disabilities. Became the first federal civil rights protection for individuals with disabilities.
  • Formation of The Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps.

    Formation of The Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps.
    TASH is made up of teachers, parents, administrators, and service providers.
  • Education Amendments of 1974.

    Education Amendments of 1974.
    These amendments connect to the EHA and were a catalyst for the National Advisory Council on Handicapped Children. The function of the amendments was to mandate that each state receiving federal special education funding would establish goals of full educational opportunities for students with disabilities.
  • Family Educational Rights Privacy Act

    Family Educational Rights Privacy Act
    FERPA is a federal law created to protect the privacy of stydent education records. "The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level" (
  • Education for All Handicapped Children Act.

    Education for All Handicapped Children Act.
    This Act was a combination of an educational bill of rights with federal financial incentives for states. The EAHCA required that participating states provide all qualifying students with disabilities between the ages of 3 and 18: a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment; an IEP; and privileges under procedural safeguards.
  • Smith v. Robinson

    Smith v. Robinson
    Rhode Island student, Tommy Smith, with Cerebral Palsy. Smith’s placement was at a special needs facility but was later changed by the school district. The change of placement was to a facility with less educational opportunities and support staff. Smith’s parents appealed the decision and sought out judicial review under the protection of EAHCA.
    *The case was argued MArch 28, 1984 but was decided on July 5, 1984.
  • Education of the Handicapped Amendments.

    Education of the Handicapped Amendments.
    This law became a subchapter of IDEA as a result of Congress recognizing the need and importance of early interventions for young individuals (birth to three years old) who were experiencing developmental delays. Early intervention services consisted of developmental services covered under public expense and supervision to meet the physical, cognitive, communication, social/emotional, and adaptive needs of the child.
  • Handicapped Children’s Protection Act of 1986.

    Handicapped Children’s Protection Act of 1986.
    An amendment of the EAHCA, the HCPA granted courts the power to award attorney’s fees to parents/guardians if they were the prevailing parties in a case.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act

    Americans with Disabilities Act
    ADA"he ADA is one of America's most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life -- to enjoy employment opportunities, to purchase goods and services, and to participate in State and local government programs and services" (
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990.

    Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990.
    The amendments made during this time caused the EAHCA to be renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. With this change came new terminology: handicap became disability and “disabled student” became “student with a disability”.
  • IDEA Amendments of 1997.

    IDEA Amendments of 1997.
    IDEA Amendments were passed as a process of reauthorizing and making improvements to already established elements of IDEA. The major focus of these amendments was to adjust expectations of students with disabilities. Congress placed an emphasis on the primary goal of the amendment being to improve special education effectiveness through verifiable achievement of students with disabilities.
  • No Child Left Behind.

    No Child Left Behind.
    President Bush signed NCLB into law in January. NCLB is a reauthorization of the ESEA. The shift occurred as a response to low academic achievement of students across the country. As a result, federal government became largely involved in public education and states, school districts, and schools became accountable for demonstrating measurable achievement progress in reading and mathematics. All students, even students with disabilities were included in this federal expectation.
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004.

    Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004.
    Signed into law by President Bush, this law further emphasizes elements of NCLB. The key points of this law include IEP changes, discipline, and identification of students with disabilities. This law also required special education teachers to be certified in special education in order to meet the NCLB requirement of educators being highly qualified. This is also when the RTI model was encouraged as a method of intervention and support.
  • Rosa's Law.

    Rosa's Law.
    Signed into law by President Obama, this standard is named for Rosa Marcellino, a child with Down’s Syndrome. Rosa and her family worked to change health and education language from “mental retardation” to “intellectual disability” in their state of Maryland. However, the bill passed the Senate unanimously followed by the House of Representatives then became a law with President Obama’s signature.
  • Seclusion and Restraint law changes in New Hampshire.

    Seclusion and Restraint law changes in New Hampshire.
    "Under this law, the definition of restraint has changed. Restraint now means “bodily physical restriction, mechanical devices, or any device that immobilizes a person or restricts the freedom of movement of the torso, head, arms, and legs. It includes mechanical restraint, physical restraint, and medication restraint to control behavior in an emergency or any involuntary medication" ( is a more restrictive definition.