Introduction to Education

Legal Issues
Rebecca Cohoon

1. IDEIA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act

 Zero Reject
o Entitles all children to public ed. Regardless of disability (including
communicable diseases)
o Child find system – alerts public as to the services for these children
o Provides guidelines for school policy for students who commit serious
offenses (what does that mean?)
 Free Appropriate Public Education
o School district bears the cost of services including transportation if the
student must go to another district to get services he/she needs
o Special Education
 Least Restrictive Environment
o Education setting must be most like that of their peers. When provided
with the appropriate needs and services.
 Nondiscriminatory Evaluation
o Testing administered in native language
o Appropriate for child’s age and characteristics
o Disability not based on a single test and on all parts of the disability
o Administered by knowledgeable professional
 Parent and Family Rights to Confidentiality
o No information is to be shared with anyone not working directly with the
o Record to be kept of anyone accessing records
o Parents have right to records and right to dispute info they see as
o Records to be destroyed with “prescribed” time frame
 Procedural Safeguards
o Decisions made with parent input
o Written consent from parents for child to be assessed
o Parents invited to meetings and must give permission for child to start
receiving services
o Parents may request hearing if they disagree with the school district

2. Section 504 (rehabilitation act of 1973)

 Prohibits persons with disabilities to be excluded from or denied benefits of any
program or activity which receives federal funding
 Offers students services for kids who are not eligible for IDEA but still require
special services (even if not behind academically)
 No federal funding provisions under the 504 plans
Introduction to Education
Legal Issues
Rebecca Cohoon

3. ADA (1990) – Americans with Disabilities Act

 Extended civil rights for 504 from public sector to private sector (private schools)
 Address need for communication eg closed captioning
 Wheelchair access

4. FERPA (federal education rights and privacy act)

 Parents have right to inspect and review records until student is 18
 Parents have opportunity for a hearing regarding records that need to be
 All student information is to be kept confidential: name, family name, social
security #, anything that can be used to identify the student)
 Other information to be kept confidential: test scores, behavior records,
attendance, grades, health records, signatures, family history

5. Lau v. Nichols (1969)

 Schools must have a plan to ensure curriculum meets the needs of non-English
speaking students.

6. Plyler v. Doe (1982)

 A constitutional protection for free education for students regardless of their or
their parent’s immigration status.

7. Mandatory Reporting

 School employees are required by law to report suspected abuse from mental
injury, physical injury, sexual abuse and negligence
 Each school has its own protocol from reporting
 Reports made in good faith protect the employee from civil suits that may follow.