Wrightslaw

The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
October 15, 2003


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What Will You Do This Week?

New Case! 1st Circuit Rules Parent Can Represent Child in IDEA Dispute

Legal Decisions about Advocacy by Parents

Game Plan to Resolve Eligibility Disputes

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law

Advocacy Training : MS, VA, NY, OK

A Call To Action (Oct 18)

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At Wrightslaw, our goals are to help you gain the information and skills you need to navigate the confusing world of special education.

Highlights: Advocacy - what will you do this week; 1st Circuit rules parent can represent child in IDEA dispute; cases about advocacy by parents; Game Plan to resolve eligibility disputes; Wrightslaw: Special Education Law; advocacy training programs in MS, NY, OK; A Call to Action on October 18.

Download newsletter in html: http://www.wrightslaw.com/nltr/03/nl.1001.htm

The Special Ed Advocate
newsletter is free - please forward this issue or the subscription link to your friends and colleagues so they can learn about special education law and advocacy too. We appreciate your help!


1. What Will You Do This Week?

In recent newsletters, we asked readers: "What will you do this week to improve education outcomes for children in your community? Think about it."

Attorney Bill Byrne wrote a letter to the editor, No Child Left Behind - Really? Why I Like This Law. Sue Heath wrote an article about how to use flyers to educate others.

Pete and Pam will attend A Call to Action at the University of Richmond on Saturday, October 18. Topics include IDEA and No Child Left Behind. What will you do this week?


2. New Case! 1st Circuit Rules That Parent Can Represent Child in IDEA Dispute

On October 9, 2003, the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit breaks new ground, rules that parents can pursue IDEA claims in federal court without an attorney.

The case involved parents who appealed a special education administrative due process decision to federal court without an attorney. The New Hampshire District Court ruled that the parents could not proceed with the claims without an attorney and dismissed the case.

The First Circuit reversed ruling that the parents could proceed without an attorney because parents are parties under the IDEA and have a right to proceed in federal court with or without an attorney. The case is significant because it is the first in the nation to allow parents to pursue claims under the IDEA without an attorney. A number of other circuit courts of appeal have ruled that parents cannot proceed in IDEA claims in federal court without an attorney.

In rejecting the reasoning of other circuits, the First Circuit created a "split among circuits" on this issue. The First Circuit includes Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico.

Download the decision in Maroni v. Pemi-Baker Regional School District:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/law/caselaw/2003/1st.maroni.pemi.baker.htm


The parents were represented by Scott F. Johnson, Esq., NHEdLaw, LLC, www.nhedlaw.com


3. Cases About Advocacy by Parents

Collingsru v. Palmyra Bd. of EducationU.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Parent rights - Can a non-attorney parent represent his or her child in court? Why? Why not?  

Erickson v. Bd. Ed. Baltimore County. U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Decision about attorneys fees for prevailing parent-attorneys.

G. v. Cumberland Valley
, U. S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Tuition reimbursement, LRE and "vigorous advocacy" by parents


Learn about Special Ed Advocacy by Parents, Advocates and Attorneys: http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/advo.index.htm


4. Game Plan to Resolve Eligibility Disputes

A parent writes: "My son has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), ODD, learning disabilities in written expression and a graphomotor disorder. The school staff agree with this diagnosis but say he doesn’t qualify for special education because he is making good grades. Is this true? What guidelines exist about grades and eligibility for special education?"

From Wrightslaw: How are eligibility decisions made? What role do grades play? Good questions.

Your position is that your child has a disability AND that your child needs special education. The school’s position is that your child has a disability but does NOT need special education.

Game Plan To Resolve Eligibility Disputes

Most eligibility disputes involve disagreements about whether a child with a disability needs special education services, not whether the child has a disability.

Here is a game plan to help you resolve this dispute. Although you won’t be able to resolve EVERY dispute with this plan, you can resolve many disputes by taking these steps.

First, you need to learn about:

* Legal Rights and Responsibilities
* School Culture
* How to Use Tactics and Strategy
* Presentation

Learn about Eligibility disputes and get the Game Plan to Resolve Eligibility Disputes
http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/ltrs/eric_eligibility_disputes.htm


5. What People Are Saying . . . Wrightslaw: Special Education Law

Special education law is confusing to most parents, educators, and even to many attorneys. Ignorance of the law can be as damaging as the child’s disability. 

What does the law say about evaluations and reevaluations? Test procedures? Eligibility? 

What does the law say about Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs) and IEP teams? IEP Goals, objectives, benchmarks? What does the law say about inclusion? Least restrictive environment? 

What does the law say about discipline? Positive behavioral intervention plans? Interim alternative placements? Manifestation Review Hearings? 

What does the law say about parent notice? Independent educational evaluations? Tuition reimbursement? Mediation? Due process? 

Where can you find accurate answers to your questions about special education law? Look up answers to your questions in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law. (The deluxe edition includes the Special Ed Law CD ROM)

Tip: "I take a laptop and the Wrightslaw CD to meetings. When someone says "We can't do that", I search the CD to find out what the law really says on the subject. This strategy has been very effective and our team members have learned a lot. Now the teachers ask me to look things up for them! The CD has been a great team-builder!" - Jan B. from Indiana

"If you are involved with special education, you should read this book." Sandra Koser Steingart, Ph.D, School Psychology Resources Online

Makes you feel you have an attorney at the IEP table with you!" - Janie Bowman, Olympia, WA

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law has been endorsed by university professors, disabilities groups, educators, parents, child advocates, and attorneys.

"A must-have book for anyone who works in special education . . . brings Special Education Law into focus through clear, concise use of normal language." - Margaret Kay, Ed.D. Psychologist

"Will help you navigate through special education, and use the law to demand/get a good education for your child." - Thom Hartmann (author of ADD: A Different Perception; Beyond ADD; Healing ADD; and more)

More reviews: http://www.wrightslaw.com/bks/lawbk/reviews.htm

Internet Orders: http://www.wrightslaw.com/store/index.html

Toll-free Phone & Fax Orders: http://www.wrightslaw.com/bks/orderform.htm


6. Advocacy Training - Join Pete and Pam for an Advocacy Training Program (MS, VA, NY, OK)

"Your boot camp was the most useful CLE I've ever attended. CLEs are notoriously boring and unpleasant. Your program was neither and I learned a lot, even as an experienced practitioner in the field." - Rob Mead, KU Wheat Law Library

Wrightslaw training programs focus on four areas: special education laws, rights & responsibilities; how to use the bell curve to measure progress & regression; SMART IEPs; and tactics & strategies for effective advocacy.

November 7-8: Jackson MS (Last Boot Camp in 2003!)

November 12, Woodbridge VA

November 15: Syracuse NY

December 6: Oklahoma City OK

For more information about these events and programs that will be held over the next few months, please check our Seminars & Training page.

If you are interested in learning how to get Pete & Pam Wright to your community, please read our FAQs about Seminars.


7. A Call to Action - Richmond, VA (October 18, 2003)

Please join Pete and Pam Wright for "A Call to Action" at T. C. Williams School of Law, University of Richmond.
Registration: $15.00 (includes lunch)

Morning

IDEA Amendments by Larry Searcy, Legislative Director, Center for Law Education

No Child Left Behind by Pam Wright, M.A., M.S.W. and Pete Wright, Esq.

Afternoon

Diploma Options (Will Kids with Disabilities Be Left Out?)

Coalition Building in Local Communities

If you would like to receive a brochure for A Call to Action - or you want several brochures to distribute to members of your community, please contact Cheryl Ward.

Email: cward@ENDEPENDENCE.ORG
Phone: (757) 461-8007
FAX: (757) 461-5375


8. Subscription & Contact Info

The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education legal and advocacy issues, cases, and tactics and strategies. Subscribers receive "alerts" about new cases, events, and special offers on Wrightslaw books.

Law Library - http://www.wrightslaw.com/law.htm

Advocacy Library - http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc.htm

Free Newsletter - http://www.wrightslaw.com/subscribe.htm

Newsletter Archives - http://www.wrightslaw.com/archives.htm

Seminars & Training - http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/index.htm

Yellow Pages for Kids - http://www.fetaweb.com/help/states.htm

Contact Info

Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043
Website: http://www.wrightslaw.com
Email: newsletter@wrightslaw.com


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