The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
November 9, 1999

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Issue - 40

ISSN: 1538-3202

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1. News Flash! 8th Circuit Issues Decision in IDEA Case

On Monday, August 16, Tom Bradley sent word about a new case out of the Eighth Circuit:

"On 8-10-99, Eighth Circuit Court denied Arkansas' claim of Eleventh Amendment immunity in several IDEA cases. Check case #98-1721."

"Tom Gilhool of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and Seth Galanter filed briefs in support of IDEA."

We went on the Internet, found the 8th Circuit case, and downloaded it. We knew that the Eighth Circuit came out with a negative ADA decision a short time ago (this case below).

We asked Tom about his case. Tom wrote:

"Our case has been stymied since 9/24/99. The state of Arkansas tried to slip a weaker case in ahead of us so we would be bound by their decision. We found out what they were doing and Tom Gilhool and the Justice Dept. helped out. (Check case 98-1010.)"

"The Arkansas attorney general is waging all-out war on the disabled. Last month they got a decision granting Eleventh Amendment immunity in an ADA case, Alsbrook v. Arkansas. We appreciate your help in getting the news out about this."

Minnesota parent attorney Sonja Kerr explained why this new 8th Circuit is so important:

"The Mauney 8th circuit decision is critical to continued FAPE for kids in the Eighth Circuit. That the 8th circuit denied the rehearing to examine the issue of immunity for the state educational agencies is good news."

"It reinforces that while the 8th circuit will be conservative on the issue of discrimination claims which may lead to monetary damages (i.e. ADA, 504), the 8th Circuit will continue to enforce IDEA."

"Many of us who practice in the 8th breathed a sigh of relief!"


The Wrightslaw Law Library-


New Eighth Circuit decision in Mauney case (in pdf format):


Eighth Circuit decision in "Alsbrook v. Arkansas":


Sonja Kerr's website:


The Eighth Circuit includes these states:

* Minnesota *

* Iowa *

* Missouri *

* Arkansas *

* North Dakota *

* South Dakota *

* Nebraska *

2. New Advocacy Challenge Program - Check It Out

Our goal in writing WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW is to provide parents, educators, advocates and attorneys with accurate, reasonably priced information about special education law and advocacy techniques. This week, we received several requests from advocates like Diane. Diane will teach an advocacy class this fall:

"Congratulations on the success of your book! I have been eagerly expecting it, and can hardly wait to have it in my hands."

"You made such an impact on my life when I heard you at the first COPAA conference in Orlando. I have been amazed at your willingness to share your knowledge and train parents to be effective advocates."

"I have been taking a course called Partners in Policymaking. This involves a weekend training session each month. We learn effective advocacy skills and are required to put together a project that will have a positive impact in our community/district."

"I designed a parent training program to train parents in effective advocacy tactics. I am partnering with our local autism society group and our local Resource Center, which serves educators and parents."

"I thought how wonderful it would be for each of the participants to have as a textbook/resource your new book. But I missed the deadline for 1/2 price books for bulk purchases. Is this etched in stone?"

"I received a gift to pay for something like this. I would like to have your book to give and use, but I cannot purchase so many of them at full price."

"If this is possible, I will be one ecstatic person. If not, I fully understand."

We want Diane’s student advocates to have WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW!

Together with Harbor House Law Press, we designed the ADVOCACY CHALLENGE program. Here’s how the program works:

If you teach an advocacy class, you can get 20 BOOKS for the price of 10 + shipping. Minimum order is for 20 books. Participants in the ADVOCACY CHALLENGE pay shipping. (One box of books weighs 40 pounds so Priority Mail shipping costs $32.50.)

If you want to participate in the ADVOCACY CHALLENGE, send an email to


Together, we can make a difference!



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