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The Special Ed Advocate 
The Online Newsletter About Special Education and the Law
September 25, 2000  Vol. III , No. 31


1. Parents of Child With Autism Prevail in Virginia

2. New! Anatomy of a Special Education Case

3. Where Can I Find an Attorney?

4. Do You Ever Come to The West Coast?

1. Parents of Child With Autism Prevail in Virginia

Soon after his second birthday, Stefan Jaynes was diagnosed with autism. When his parents tried to get early intervention services from their school district, they ran into a wall of resistance.

When the school placed Stefan in a generic preschool program, he regressed. His parents pulled him out of the public school program and implemented an intensive homebased program with specialized tutoring. After learning that they had a right to a due process hearing, the parents requested a hearing and won. The school district appealed.

On September 7, 2001, U. S. District Court Judge Henry Coke Morgan, Jr. issued a favorable decision in Stefan's case.

Judge Morgan found that the school district's IEPs contained many deficiencies and that the district unilaterally "eliminated numerous programs from the IEP [but] provided no explanation or justification for striking these programs."

The Court ordered Newport News to reimburse Stefan's parents for their son's educational expenses, from July 1, 1995 to the present.

The decision in Jaynes v. Newport News includes a discussion of statutes of limitations, procedural safeguards, notice requirements, damages and reimbursement. You can download Jaynes v. Newport News from the Law Library.

NOTE: Newport News appealed Judge Morgan's decision to the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The Fourth Circuit heard oral argument on

NOTE: To read this decisions, you must have Adobe PDF Reader software loaded in your computer. You can download Adobe PDF Reader software free from the Adobe site.

2. New! Anatomy of a Special Education Case

When parents have a dispute with the school about their child's special education, the main avenue to resolve the dispute is through a due process hearing. Not surprisingly, many parents of children with disabilities have questions about due process hearings. In Anatomy of a Special Ed Case, we take you through a "typical case" from the beginning so you see how a case evolves.

In this case, the Hearing Officer awarded the parents more than $117,000. The Review Officer cut the award in half.

The case was appealed to federal court (see #1) Anatomy of a Special Ed Case includes links to all decisions (due process, review, federal court) in the case, and the complaint filed in federal court by Pete Wright, the attorney who represented the child.

3. Where Can I Find an Attorney?

Go to EdLaw! At EdLaw you'll find a list of attorneys who represent parents of children with disabilities. This information is arranged alphabetically by state, then by the last name of the attorney.

You'll also find the texts of statutes, regulations, judicial decisions, OSEP Monitoring Reports, and other useful material at EdLaw, a great resource about special education and disability law.

4. Do You Ever Come to The West Coast?

When we publish announcements about conferences where we are speaking, we get messages from West Coast folks asking when we will be in their area. We have some good news!

On MARCH 31, we will be at the Annual Conference of the Autism Society of Washington. In APRIL, we're scheduled to speak at the Fifth Annual NonVerbal Learning Disorders Symposium (Dates: April 19-21, 2001) in California.

On OCTOBER 13-14, we'll be in Long Island. On NOVEMBER 8-11, we'll in Washington D.C. for the International Dyslexia Association's Annual Conference.

For information and links, please visit our conference page: 


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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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