This site will periodically highlight major new legal developments, with a focus on student issues under the IDEA and Sec. 504/ADA. To sign up for email notifications of these updates, please scroll all the way down the page (if viewing on a mobile device) or scroll right (if viewing on a desktop computer). Thanks!

August 2017 Legal Update

This latest monthly legal alert summarizes two recent officially published federal court decisions, I.Z.M. v. Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District (2017) and I.L. v. Knox County School District (2017), that illustrate a wide range of continuing and emerging issues under the IDEA and Section 504/ADA, including accessible instructional materials, state seclusion/restraints laws, and state education agency (SEA) liability.

Click here to download the update and read more.

July 2017 Legal Update

This monthly legal alert reports two very recent cases that illustrate the continuing litigation concerning two major issues for students with disabilities–peer harassment, including bullying, and special education eligibility, including the “need prong.” Both are from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals: (1) Doe v. Columbia-Brazoria Independent School District (2017) for peer harassment under Section 504 and the ADA, and (2) D.L. v. Clear Creek Independent School District (2017) for special education eligibility under the IDEA.

Click here to download the update and read more.

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June 2017 Legal Update

This latest monthly legal alert summarizes a recent published, federal appellate court decision that is significant for its multiple issue rulings. In M.C. v. Antelope Valley Unified School District (2017), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals made several rulings that were completely or partially against the defendant district that appear to have notable implications for special education practice and litigation. Although not at all limited to these particular facts, the child in this case was a high school student who had a genetic disorder that rendered him blind and with a host of developmental delays in all academic areas. This decision is binding only in the nine states in the Far West that encompass the Ninth Circuit. However, it is not unusual for published federal appellate decisions to have a radiating, persuasive effect on other jurisdictions. Some of these rulings are much more likely than others to “stick” in jurisdictions beyond the Ninth Circuit.

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May 2017 Legal Update

This latest monthly legal alert examines the immediate effects of the Supreme Court’s Endrew F. decision on current cases specific to the substantive appropriateness of IEPs. A more detailed analysis is forthcoming in the following article, which will be posted on after publication later this month:

Perry A. Zirkel, “The Supreme Court’s Decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1: A Meaningful Raising of the Bar,” West’s Education Law Reporter (May 2017).

Click to download the May 2017 update.

March 2017 Legal Update #2: Special Issue for Endrew F.

This month has a special second alert for the Supreme Court’s March 22, 2017 decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1, which  revisited and refined the Rowley (1982) interpretation of the substantive standard for IEPs.  Click to read my immediate “take” on this centrally significant decision, which directly addresses one side of FAPE and indirectly serves as a reminder of the modern interpretation of the procedural side of this “centerpiece” of the IDEA.

March 2017 Legal Update #1

This month’s update provides the highlights and practical implications of one major legal development, plus a customizable Section 504 eligibility form:

  • The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision on Feb. 22, 2017 that demarcated the scope of the IDEA’s exhaustion provision, which concerns whether parents must complete the impartial hearing process before proceeding in court.
  • In the absence of a second major legal development during the past four weeks, this month’s Alert provides the attached Section 504 eligibility form, which may be customized for local use with due acknowledgment per the asterisked note at the bottom of the form.

Click to download the March update.