ERIC Number: EJ965265
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Nov
Reference Count: 12
Legal Currency in Special Education Law
Zirkel, Perry A.
Principal Leadership, v12 n3 p50-54 Nov 2011
A review of some basic concepts in special education law will help principals better understand the complex laws and regulations implicated in common situations. This article cites a case scenario that illustrates various potential issues under IDEA 2004 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Chris is in the 10th grade, and his parents have become increasingly anxious about his ability to fulfill the college and career aspirations they have for him. They sent him to a private psychologist, who gave him a battery of tests and diagnosed him with a learning disorder/not otherwise specified on the basis of his processing problems and a "rule out" for Asperger disorder (i.e., recommended further investigation). Chris's parents shared the diagnosis with the principal and requested a "504 plan" that would provide the various recommendations of their private evaluator. Checking Chris's records, the principal found that he scored proficient on the state's assessments; had been a subject of the problem-solving student support team in middle school; and was currently in tier two of the school district's response to intervention (RTI) program, with specialized interventions for reading fluency. The data from the RTI program revealed that the interventions had produced positive but inconsistent results. The principal set up a meeting with Chris's parents, the guidance counselor, and the special education director, but before they met, the assistant principal caught Chris giving one of his prescription pills for anxiety symptoms to another student. When the assistant principal told him that this action was a serious violation of the student conduct code and warranted expulsion, Chris explained that he was sharing his prescription to help the other student cope with a high-stakes test in an effort to make friends and gain acceptance. This case scenario illustrates various potential issues under IDEA 2004 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act that Chris's parents could use to try to prevent their son from being expelled. An overview of top issues implicated in this scenario will help explain the legal literacy principals need in regard to these laws.
Descriptors: Special Education, Principals, Educational Legislation, Disabilities, Federal Legislation, Legal Responsibility, Clinical Diagnosis, Response to Intervention, Behavior Problems, Case Studies, Expulsion, Discipline, Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Court Litigation, Parent Role
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site: http://www.principals.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; No Child Left Behind Act 2001; Rehabilitation Act 1973 (Section 504)