The Special Ed Advocate
    The Special Ed Advocate
    The Online Newsletter About Special Education and the Law
    June 6, 1998   Vol. 1, No. 4
    The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education
    legal issues, cases, tactics and strategy, effective educational methods,
    and Internet links.
    We publish this newsletter occasionally, when time permits. Back issues of
    The Special Ed Advocate are archived at our web site -  
    As a subscriber to The Special Ed Advocate, you will receive announcements
    and "alerts" about new cases and other events. Contact, copyright, and
    subscription information can be found at the end of this newsletter.
    IN THIS ISSUE: June 6, 1998
    (1) "THE INSIDE STORY OF THE $600,000 JURY VERDICT" by Laura Whiteside, Esq.

    (3) NEW CASE!! Muller v. East Islip Union Free School District (Second
    Circuit, May 22, 1998)- eligibility, conduct disorder v. emotional
    (4) NEW CASE!! Yankton v. Schramm (Eighth Circuit decision, date) - 504 v.
    IDEA, transition
    (5) News Update - COPAA
    (6) Letters to the Webmaster - Read "Letter from Jackie" about making an
    inter-state move.
        by Laura Whiteside, Esq.
    Five years after they requested a special education due process hearing.
    Andrew Whitehead's parents had their day in court. On April 3, after
    deliberating for less than two hours, a Florida jury found that the
    Hillsborough School Board retaliated against the parents for attempting to
    protect their son's rights under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
    The jury awarded each parent $300,000.00.
    On April 6, we advised Special Ed Advocate subscribers about this case.
    After Pete talked with Laura Whiteside, the parents' attorney, she agreed to
    write an article about "The Inside Story" of this precedent-setting case.
    We promised to keep you posted about new developments in this case. On April
    21, the Hillsborough School Board asked the Court for a new trial - or to
    reduce the damages awarded by the jury. The school board also asked the
    Court to issue an order holding the parents responsible for the school
    district's costs to defend the intentional discrimination issues.
    On May 24, an injunction was entered that prohibits the School Board from
    failing to specify the special education and related services that are
    Andrew's IEP. The IEP must include the services Andrew needs.
    You can read the "Inside Story" at
    Daniel Asbury is six years old. He also has autism. After two years in the
    school district's self-contained preschool program, Daniel made only two
    months of "progress."
    Daniel's parents, Michael and Kathryn Asbury, decided to do some research on
    programs that have a better track record. They learned about Applied
    Behavioral Analysis. Later, Daniel's parents developed an ABA program for
    their son.
    In ABA therapy programs, the autistic child receives intensive one-on-one
    therapy, six hours a day, seven days a week, for two to three years.
    After 11 months of therapy, Daniel made 46 months of progress in
    communication skills. When his parents asked the district to continue the
    ABA program, the district refused.
    Daniel's parents filed suit against the district. They claimed that the
    district failed to provide Daniel with an appropriate education - and that
    Daniel was damaged by the district's inappropriate program.
    To read the press release, go to:
    To read the actual settlement agreement, go to:
    NEW CASE !!
    On May 22, 1998, the Second Circuit issued a decision in Muller v. East
    Islip Union Free School District.
    In this case, the school district claimed that the child had a "conduct
    disorder" so this made her ineligible for special education.
    The Second Circuit upheld the District Court's decision that Treena Muller
    was a child with a disability (SED). As a child with a disability, Treena
    was entitled to a free appropriate education. The court awarded Treena
    compensatory damages and attorney's fees.
    You will find Muller v. East Islip in the Law Library.
    NEW CASE !!
    A few weeks ago, we introduced our first guest, Sonja Kerr. Sonja is the
    well-known special education attorney from Minnesota. We told you about
    Sonja's advice-packed article for attorneys, "Letter to Damon."
    On June 6, we added another of Sonja's recommended cases, Yankton v.
    Schramm, to the Law Library.
    Wonder why so many school districts fight tooth and nail to avoid providing
    special education services - but are happy to write a 504 Plan for that
    In Yankton v. Schramm, the Eighth Circuit considered the case of a 16 year
    old who had cerebral palsy. The school district unilaterally terminated this
    child's special education eligibility - over her parents' objections. Yet,
    the district was quite willing to provide accommodations under Section 504.
    After Eighth Circuit analyzed this young girl's situation, and the rights
    under IDEA and Section 504, they agreed that she was eligible for special
    education and related services under IDEA. They affirmed that as a recipient
    of services under IDEA, she would receive 504 protections. The Court also
    discussed transition services.
    The newly authorized IDEA focuses on the need to provide quality special
    education. The new IDEA also emphasizes transition services. If you have an
    interest in eligibility, 504 issues, or transition, read Yankton v. Schramm.
    COPAA is the new nonprofit organization of attorneys, advocates and parents
    established to improve the quality and quantity of legal assistance to
    parents of children with disabilities.
    In January, nearly 200 attorneys and advocates met in Orlando for the first
    COPAA conference. Plans for next year's conference are in the works now. For
    more information about this exciting organization, go to
    We receive lots of letters from people with questions. We also receive lots
    of letters from people who disagree with our positions and opinions.
    We believe that differing views, tactics, strategies, beliefs, opinions, and
    prejudices make for interesting reading. If you have an idea, position, or
    just want to stimulate debate, send us an email.
    We are working on a new section for our web site , "Letters to the
    If you have a favorite tip, tactic, or strategy that you'd like to share
    with us, send it to
    Planning a move? This week, we received an e-mail from Jackie. Jackie wanted
    advice about moving to another state. Jackie is very satisfied with her
    child's special education program. She asked what steps parents can take to
    find a good special ed program. Pete answered her questions.
    Read "Letter to Jackie" in the Special Ed Advocacy Library.
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             Pete and Pam Wright
             c/o The Special Ed Advocate
             P. O. Box 1008
             Deltaville, VA 23043
             Phone:   804-257-0857
             Web site:

          Copyright 1998, Peter W. D. Wright. All rights reserved. The resources at
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