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.
One unique feature of each symposium is its careful balance of school and parent viewpoints during each session. The upcoming symposium faculty will include twenty-eight prominent special education attorneys (both sides) from 20 states, which will provide meaningful jurisdictional diversity.
Featuring one of its most comprehensive programs, the symposium, now in its third decade, will offer three-hour “hot topics” at the heart of the latest IDEA federal court decisions: dyslexia, settlement strategies, liability for abuse of students with disabilities, compensatory services and compensatory education, pendency permutations, “dueling attorneys,” and also Section 504, the increasingly important anti-discrimination disability statute.
“Legally experienced” individuals (self-identified) comprise the audience for these topics and are state education officials, hearing officers, attorneys (both sides), school administrators, school psychologists, charter school officials, school psychologists and parent advocates.
“Legally basic” individuals, including Lehigh students taking the course for graduate credit, will study in-depth foundational IDEA and Section 504 topics.
The overlapping, but separable Section 504 Coordinators Institute nearly doubled (over previous symposia) its registrant numbers to 98 in 2001. Featured again in June will be two of the nation’s leading Section 504 attorney experts: Jose Martin (Texas) and Lehigh’s own Dr. Perry Zirkel, university professor emeritus of education and law. New to the Instutute will be attorney and Lehigh alum Kathleen Sullivan (Colorado) and Judith Nedell, a veteran Section 504 administrator (Connecticut).
Recorded sessions will be available for later viewing by registrants, thus nearly doubling the available content. The sessions will offer closed captioning for accessibility by individuals with hearing impairments.
Dr. Zirkel will again conclude the symposium with the annual “National Case Law Update,” based upon his case law research, and a special session: “A Legal Snapshot of COVID-19 Issues for Public Schools, with the Primary Focus on Special Education.”
Attorney David Rubin (New Jersey) and Lehigh alum Thomas Mayes (Iowa Department of Education) will offer an interactive, scenario-based session exclusively for attorneys: “Ethical Challenges for the Special Education Attorney.”
For more information about the symposium content and faculty, see the symposium website: go.lehigh.edu/spedlaw, or call (610) 758-5557
Dr. James Newcomer and Dr. Zirkel are the symposium co-directors, and are ably assisted by Shannon Weber, Donna Johnson, Megan Cook, and, crucially again this year, Denise Campion (technology).