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In Memory of Reed Martin
adapted from his writings

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Crawford Reed Martin was born August 23, 1940 and passed on September 24, 2010. He was an attorney who concentrated on special education rights for most of his life. Reed practiced law in Texas for 22 years. He worked with over 4,500 families before he moved to West Virginia to work as an Advocate. Reed worked with attorneys and parents in all 50 states on special education cases. He was a parent of a student who required special education services through IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and Section 504.

A National Advocate for Children with Disabilities

Reed was a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law where he was an editor of the Texas Law Review and a director of the Moot Court Board. He was a legislative assistant to the U.S. Senator who chaired the education subcommittee as Congress began developing special education laws.

Reed helped establish the federally required Protection & Advocacy agency in Texas (Advocacy, Inc.) and served five years as Senior Attorney. He also received a statewide Parent Training and Information grant in Texas, which he ran. He served on the national, state, or local boards of two dozen disability organizations.

He testified several times at the request of Congress, several state legislatures, and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Texas Governor, Mark White, appointed Reed to head a task force on the unmet needs of Texans with disabilities. Reed drafted several bills that became law in Texas.

Reed litigated under Section 504 and the ADA as well as the IDEA. He successfully pursued Section 504 complaints through the Office for Civil Rights in several regions. He had cases in several Circuit Courts of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court on issues of attorneys' fees, the IEP, least restrictive environment, extended school year, related services, school health services, parental reimbursement, and private school placement.

He has represented children with autism, Down syndrome, learning disabilities, AD/HD, health problems, hearing impairment, behavior problems, emotional disturbance, visual impairment, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, and mobility impairment.

He frequently filed amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs at the Circuit Court and Supreme Court level for disability organizations. Reed produced several books, videos and audios on special education law. He conducted over 425 workshops in all 50 states.

The publication of his 1978 book "Educating Handicapped Children: The Legal Mandate" established Reed as a national advocate for children with disabilities. Other publications include: "ASK REED - ANSWERS to Special Education Questions"; "Advocating for Your Child with AD/HD & LD"; and "Getting Your Child With Autism What They Are Entitled To Under All The Federal Laws."

Reed was involved in Tatro v. Irving ISD (Supreme Court decision on school health services), Daniel R. v. State Bd. of Educ. (Circuit Court decision setting standards for least restrictive environment/inclusion); Jason S. v. Kirby (removing hearing officer as biased); Angela L. v. Pasadena ISD (expert witness on relief available under Section 504 and 1983); Shelley C. v. Venus ISD (definition of prevailing party for attorney fee award); Angel G. v. T.E.A. (state education agency duty on child find); Board of Educ. v. Rowley (amicus at Supreme Court on definition of appropriate education); Alamo Heights v. Board of Educ. (amicus at Circuit Court on extended school year); Carter v. Florence County (amicus at Supreme Court on reimbursement for private placement); Guckenberger v. Boston Univ. (amicus in federal court on accommodations required under Section 504 and the ADA at the college level).

Reed was an associate and friend of Ivar Lovaas and B. F.Skinner. He worked to create a standard for non-aversive behavior modification.

Reed's Commitment to the Civil Rights Movement

Reed became involved in the Civil Rights movement in the late fifties. He attended a private, segregated college in Houston (Rice University). By his senior year he led a successful fight to integrate it.

Reed decided to attend law school so he could continue in the civil rights struggle as an attorney. As an editor of the University of Texas Law Review in 1964, he authored a review of Dr. King's classic book "Why We Can't Wait." At that time, the civil rights movement faced the argument that students who were deprived of equal educational opportunity should be willing to wait and wait and wait.

Reed felt that children with disabilities and their parents face those same foes of equal educational opportunity in our school systems today. The fight on behalf of students with disabilities continues the Civil Rights struggle begun by Dr. Martin Luther King, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (who brought Brown v. Board of Education to the Supreme Court), and their colleagues.

In "Why We Can't Wait," Dr. King used the analogy of a race in which all white contestants were well trained, running well, and nearing the finish line. The black contestants were dragging far behind with shackles around their ankles. Then someone shouted, "Stop. This isn't fair. Take off the shackles." The race continued. The white contestants stepped easily across the finish line while the black contestants finished the race far behind.

Disability Rights are Civil Rights Too

Reed believed Dr. King's point is particularly right for our integration efforts today with students with disabilities. We are not asking for favoritism, but we expect that our students get the same opportunities that other students get. That will require some special adaptations since we started the race with a disability.

After law school, Reed had opportunities to work personally with Dr. King on several occasions. In one memorable all-night session he sat next to Dr. King. Everything he learned from Dr. King applied to the advocacy efforts on behalf of citizens with disabilities.

Reed remembered the night 33 years ago when Dr. King was killed. He learned of the murder on the way to a U.S. Senate annual fund raising banquet. He told chairman Senator Ed Muskie and suggested that the event be cancelled after a short prayer. Reed still remembers the various reactions of Senators and their guests in the audience.

Reed was working at the time as legislative assistant to Senator Ralph Yarborough of Texas. Senator Yarborough was the only Senator from a state that had been part of the Confederacy to vote for the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The Senator asked Reed to write a speech that the Senator had been asked to deliver at the memorial service for Dr. King.

In the speech, Reed included his favorite statement about the power of advocacy that Senator Robert Kennedy had made in a speech about ending discrimination.

Those who want to work for change will always be opposed. Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, they send forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. (Robert F. Kenney, "Day of Affirmation" Speech, June 6, 1966)

A Friend Shares Fond Memories of Reed

During the Tatro case, Reed, as an expert witness, was asked about the lowest level of expertise needed to catheterize a student and whether a professional would be needed. His reply was "It's so simple, even a lawyer can do it." The Judge then said it is apparent by Mr. Martin’s remark that only the lowest level of expertise is required." He told me that the words are in the Caselaw.

During one of the first IEP meetings ever held in Texas, Reed was ask by the School representative what her legal title should be. He said "Defendant." He said she left the room and did not return.

Reed was the first person to bring a school district to trial under Section 504 because of an OCR "Letter of Decision" naming responsible parties. After that incident, the OCR began only sending out "Recommendations" letters.

Reed said he was a flaming liberal, but balanced by virtue because he comes from Texas.

Reed considered noted lawyer, Charlie Weatherly one of his best friends, if he could just stop playing "for the wrong team." Reed also said Charlie was a "hoot" and an honorable lawyer. He and Charlie would give what Reed referred to as an "oxymoron "presentation together on "lawyers and ethics."

Reed said that Pete Wright had a brilliant mind and was a champion of overcoming the disability of ADD.

Reed told me that while a student at Rice University, he tried to get the school to hold an integrated party on campus.  The school flatly refused. He organized an "off campus" party on the night the school held its official sanctioned party. By far, more students attended the party Reed threw. This was not surprising since the performer that night was Chuck Berry.

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Created: 10/01/10

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