The Law and Special Education Students

The Law and Special Education Students

On May 4, 1993, the Governor, Superintendent of Education, and Director of Health in the state of Hawaii, were sued in U.S. District Court for failing to provide educational and mental-health services to students with disabilities. The federal court approved a settlement agreement, the Felix Consent Decree, on October 25, 1994. The case forced Hawaii to improve state special-education services. A result of the Felix Consent Decree led to 12 years of court supervision over state programs for special-education students.

The Felix Consent Decree and current legislation and statutes, like IDEA, ADA, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, continue to affect education practices, procedures, and programs.

Ignoring the intent of the law for students with disabilities is an invitation for a lawsuit. As an education leader, you must be vigilant in operationalizing the intent of the law in your education context and knowledgeable of historical and current legislation.

To prepare for the Discussion, review this module’s readings and conduct additional investigation on the influence of current and historical legislation affecting education of students with disabilities in public schools in the United States. View the vignette, "Missing the Point," and consider how specific special-education policies and procedures were violated. Pay close attention to IDEA, ADA, 504, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Locate specific case law and statutes at the state and federal levels pertaining to students with disabilities in the LexisNexis Database. Consider what has changed in the delivery of services for students with disabilities in the past 30 years and how these changes look in your education context.


Post your response to the following:

Evaluate the effect of key historical and current legislation on school operations for students with disabilities. Cite examples from the vignette or your education context in your response.


Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings. As you read their responses, note those to which you would like to respond with advice, questions, comments, and/or encouragement.

Respond to two or more of your colleagues’ postings in any of the following ways:
•Explain why and how you see things differently
•Validate an idea with your own experience

Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting. Reflect on what you learned in this activity and/or insights you gained this week.


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