Special Education

Special Education Law Symposium: New Horizons (June 19-24, 2022)

Feb 24 2022 - 12:15pm

Lehigh University’s annual, week-long Special Education Law Symposium returns in June, building on the success of its recent (2021) symposium, which swelled in registrations to 339, a 70% increase over its last (2019) on-campus iteration. Registrants for this second (2021) virtual symposium via Zoom webinar hailed from 38 states and the District of Columbia.

Due Process Hearing and Written State Complaint Activity for COVID-19 Issues: A Six-Month Snapshot

Oct 29 2020 - 9:15am

In addition to the alternative forms of dispute resolution under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the two decisional avenues are adjudicative and investigative. The adjudicative avenue starts with a due process hearing (DPH) and culminates in court proceedings. The investigative avenue is the written state complaints (WSC) process, which provides for judicial appeals in only the minority of states (e.g., Zirkel, 2019). COVID-19 represents a new context of the ongoing issues that are subject to resolution in these two decisional avenues.

As Schools Return, Kids with Special Needs are Left Behind

Sep 17 2020 - 1:15pm

Under IDEA, students with disabilities are still entitled to compensatory services once the school year begins, even if school hasn’t officially reopened in person, said Perry Zirkel, Ph.D., J.D., professor emeritus of education and law at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. He recommends requesting a meeting at the beginning of the school year with your child’s IEP (individualized education program) team, so that you can meet and determine your child’s present level of performance.

Kangas Awarded Spencer Foundation Grant

Jul 31 2020 - 8:15am

Dr. Sara Kangas, assistant professor in Lehigh's Special Education program, is the recipient of a Small Research Grant from the Spencer Foundation. The project is funded ($40,766) for one year and focuses on the barriers English learners with disabilities experience on their journey to reclassification. The title of the funded project is "When English Learners with Disabilities Become Long-Term English Learners."

How 'the most violent' special education school ended restraint and seclusion

Jul 27 2020 - 2:15pm

Twenty years ago, a visitor to Centennial School would have heard a cacophony.

“Banging on doors, yelling, wailing,” said Julie Fogt, the current director of the school. “Adults were loud: ‘Stop that, stop that! Crisis! I need help!’”

It was a private school, but public schools paid to send their most troubled kids there. The school took only children who had both a diagnosis of autism or emotional disturbance and a history of severe behavior issues.

A Few Parents Have Sued Over Special Education During COVID-19. Will More Follow?

Jul 13 2020 - 2:30pm

When schools closed this spring to curb the spread of coronavirus, special education administrators feared the risk of complaints—and potential legal action—from parents and disability rights advocates for running afoul of federal civil rights laws.

Stressed over concerns that they'd be swamped with lawsuits if they could not offer a comparable education for all students, including those with disabilities, some districts were even initially reluctant to offer any online learning.

Sara Kangas Provides Insight into High Percentages of English Learners with Disabilities in Schools

Jun 16 2020 - 4:45pm

Kangas examines through multiple studies how state and federal policies and structural issues in schools can be barriers to learning.

In the middle schools and high schools that she visited for her research and studies, applied linguist Sara Kangas noticed a disturbing trend: high percentages of English learners (ELs) with learning disabilities.  

School Law vs. School Lore

Aug 21 2012 - 2:15pm

Principals, along with teachers and the public, often have perceptions about key issues in school law that are remarkably wrong.  Yet, principals help reinforce these prevailing misperceptions by sharing them with others, ultimately contributing to misguided practices and policies.