The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
December 3, 1998

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Issue - 19

ISSN: 1538-3202

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The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education legal issues, cases, tactics and strategy, educational methods that work, and Internet links.

We publish this newsletter occasionally, when time permits. Back issues of The Special Ed Advocate are archived at our web site -


As a subscriber to The Special Ed Advocate, you will receive announcements and "alerts" about new cases and other events. Contact, copyright, and subscription information can be found at the end of this newsletter.

(1) NEW! Split Decision from Third Circuit in Collinsgru v. Palmyra Bd of Educ. (Nov. 23, 1998)

(2) NEW Letters to the Webmaster -

    John asks "Why Did You Add Doe v. Withers to the Site?"
    Pete says "Your point is well-taken."

    Mark writes:
        "The school wants to expel my son. What does the law say about expelling kids from school?"

(3) NEW: IDEA 97 and Discipline

(4) Check Out NEW Books and Tapes in Our Gift Shop!
    "May it Please the Court" Allows You to Hear History Being Made

(5) The Children's Corner -

(6) Subscription and Contact Information

(1) NEW: Third Circuit Issues Split Decision in Collinsgru v. Palmyra Bd. Educ.. (Nov. 23, 1998)

On November 23, the Third Circuit issued a split decision in Collinsgru v. Palmyra BD of Education. The parents in Collinsgru could not afford to hire an attorney. They represented their son in an administrative hearing and appealed their case to federal court.

The District Court judge advised them that they had to be represented by an attorney - if they did not get legal representation, he would dismiss their case. The parents argued that this closed the courtroom doors to most parents who cannot afford legal representation.

The 3rd Circuit's decision in Collinsgru was split. To read this debate about parental rights and responsibilities, and whether non-attorney parents may represent their children in court, visit our website.



John asks "Why did you put Doe v. Withers on your web site? What is the relevance of a case that's 15 years old? Are you just being inflammatory?"

Why IS Doe v. Withers significant? Read Pete's response

Mark writes "The school wants to expel my son. Can they do this? What does the law say about discipline?"

Mark's son has serious learning disabilities. When another boy brought root beer to school, Mark's son drank some. Now, the school wants to expel him for a semester. Mark needs help. Check it out


IDEA 97 Section 1415(k) - This is part of Section 1415 that focuses exclusively on the confusing new section in the law about discipline.

(4) THE GIFT SHOP - "May it Please the Court" Allows You to Hear History Being Made.

"May It Please the Court : The First Amendment Live Recordings and Transcripts of the Oral Arguments Made Before the Supreme Court by Peter Irons." (Book and four 90 minute cassettes)

"First Amendment" includes a 1963 school-prayer case; a 1969 decision in which the Court upheld students' right to wear black armbands to protest the Vietnam War; a 1971 case striking down a state law criminalizing flag burning; and the 1971 Pentagon Papers case. Cases also address government display of religious symbols; "public indecency"; reporters' right to protect their sources; religious use of drugs; censorship of school newspapers; discrimination based on sexual preference; draft-card burning; and libel (including the Larry Flynt-Jerry Falwell and New York Times Co. v. Sullivan cases)

"Through sophisticated, penetrating questioning, often leading to energetic dialogues with the arguing attorneys, the justices probe the strengths and weaknesses of the contending parties' respective legal arguments. As spoken constitutional history providing unique glimpses into the reasoning process of our highest court, oral arguments are worthy of serious study."

Click here for more information about May It Please the Court.

(5) The Children's Corner -

We have added several books especially for children. Look for them in the Gift Shop.

Eagle Eyes: A Child's Guide to Paying Attention by Jeanne Gehret (age 9-12 )

The Don'T-Give-Up Kid and Learning Differences Book by Jeanne Gehret. (age 9-12)

Children need heroes - and who is more interesting than Helen Keller?

Here are two biographies about Helen Keller written especially for children -

Helen Keller: A Light for the Blind by Kathleen Kudlinksi. ("Notable Children's Book in Social Studies") (Ages 7-11; RL: 4.8 )

Helen Keller: Crusader for the Blind and Deaf by Stewart Graff and Polly Anne Dell. (Ages 9-12; RL: 2.6 )

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Wrightslaw: Special Education Legal Developments and Cases 2019, by Pam and Pete Wright
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Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
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Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
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Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
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Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board
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