The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
April 26, 2000

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Issue - 70

ISSN: 1538-3202

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1. News Flash! Judge Issues Restraining Order Against Maryland School District on Behalf of Student Athlete in ADA Case (April 25, 2000)

"On Tuesday, April 25, 2000, the Circuit Court of Montgomery County (Maryland) issued a Temporary Restraining Order that enjoined Montgomery County Public Schools from enforcing its "EIGHT SEMESTER RULE" against a student with Attention Deficit Disorder." 

"Because of learning problems related to Attention Deficit Disorder, the student repeated ninth grade and was unable to complete high school in eight semesters. Montgomery County Public Schools has an EIGHT SEMESTER RULE. If a child cannot complete high school in eight semesters, the child is not allowed to participate in sports." 

In granting the Order, the Court found that "immediate, substantial, and irreparable harm will result" to the child before a full hearing could be held. 

Read the full article about the Courtís ruling on reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

2. Letter to Wrightslaw: "My Child Has a Disability But the School Says He's Not Eligible for Special Ed . . ." 

Eric 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 doesnít 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: Good questions. How are eligibility decisions made? And what role do grades play?

Your position is that your child has a disability AND that your child needs special education. 

The schoolís 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 wonít be able to resolve EVERY dispute with this plan, many disputes can be resolved by taking these steps. 

First, you need to learn about:

  • Legal Rights and Responsibilities
  • School Culture
  • How to Use Tactics and Strategy
  • Importance of Presentation
Learn more about Eligibility disputes and get copy of the Eligibility Game Plan
3. "Your Child Has School Problems: Who is to Blame?" (revised)

One of the most popular articles on the Wrightslaw site is "Whose Fault Is It?" The article describes findings from a survey of school psychologists by Dr. Galen Alessi and helps parents understand the power of school culture. 

We recently revised and renamed this article. Get your copy of "Your Child Has School Problems: Who is to Blame?"

4. Question: "Where Can I Find Low Cost Services?"

Gayle writes, "Our son is 12 years old -- he has hyperlexia and mild CP. His math skills are non-existent Ė he canít add simple numbers." 

"We don't have much money for outside consultants. Is there an independent testing organization that is free or inexpensive?"


Here are some suggestions about low cost evaluations:

1. Ask your child's pediatrician or neurologist for recommendations about educational evaluators. 

2. Contact a university, child development clinic, and /or children's hospital, and ask if they do educational evaluations on a sliding fee scale.

3. Post your question in our Discussion area. This is where people ask questions and share information. Here is a link to the Discussion area:


5. More Resources From the Advocate's Bookstore 

In dealing with the school staff, parents are negotiating for services. Here are two books that will get you off to a good start. Each of these books is helpful in different ways. 

"How To Argue and Win Every Time" by Gerry Spence 

"How To Argue" is NOT about arguing. "How To Argue" will teach you how to present your case effectively, using story telling and visual imagery. " How To Argue" is one of Pete's favorite advocacy books. 

"Everyday Letters For Busy People

Parents must learn to document their concerns in writing. If you make a statement or share a concern about your child BUT you donít put your concerns in writing, then for practical and legal purposes, you did not express concerns. 

Everyday Letters will help you write effective letters. The book includes sample Parent-School letters that you can adapt to your situation. 

Visit the Advocate's Bookstore

Visit the Tactics and Strategy section of the Bookstore.

6. Enforce IDEA Now: Grassroots Advocacy Kit and Tips 

On January 25, the National Council on Disability released the long-awaited IDEA Compliance Report, "Back to School on Civil Rights." According to the NCD Report, every state was out of compliance with the IDEA. 

* NCD News Release

These findings became a rallying point for parents of disabled children around the country. 


The National Parent Network on Disabilities (NPND) put together an "information kit" to help advocacy groups and parents of disabled children educate their communities about statesí dismal records in enforcing the IDEA. The Kit includes:

* sample press releases, 
* tips for communicating with the press/media and elected officials, 
* recommendations about how to improve special education services.

Click here for information about the Information Kit.

Visit the National Parent Network on Disabilities site.

The IDEA Compliance Report, "Back to School on Civil Rights," is available at Wrightslaw. The index or table of contents page is at

7. The Second Book: More Heroes 

The Wrightslaw "Free Books Offer" ended on April 14. Hundreds of subscribers to The Special Ed Advocate have received their free copies of WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW and the WRIGHTSLAW TACTICS AND STRATEGY MANUAL. 

What are people doing with their second books?


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Wrightslaw: Special Education Legal Developments and Cases 2019, by Pam and Pete Wright
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Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board
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