A Guide to Special Education Law (2017)


Edited by Elizabeth A. Shaver, J.D. and Janet R. Decker, J.D., Ph.D., A Guide to Special Education Law (2017), pools the experience and expertise of special education legal experts from across the U.S. into one valuable resource. In their current roles as special education attorneys and university professors, the authors navigate the complex maze of federal and state legislation, regulations, and case law. They also must stay abreast of constant changes.The authors provide a clear and concise explanation of the current status of special education law. Importantly, they translate the law for those who do not have a legal background. Each chapter also offers practical recommendations. By heeding the authors’ useful guidance, special education directors, teachers, paraprofessionals, parents, and others will be better prepared to address the many legal dilemmas they face.

Sold By: Education Law Association


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This book is #97 in the Education Law Association’s K-12 Series (349 pages, paperback).


  • Chapter 1. Special Education Legal Literacy
  • Chapter 2. The American Legal System
  • Chapter 3. Fundamentals of Federal Disability Law
  • Chapter 4. Discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Chapter 5. Qualifying for Special Education Services under IDEA
  • Chapter 6. IEPs, Least Restrictive Environment, and Placement
  • Chapter 7. Related Services under the IDEA
  • Chapter 8. Secondary School Transition Planning
  • Chapter 9. Disciplining Students with Disabilities
  • Chapter 10. Parental Rights
  • Chapter 11. Procedural Safeguards: Resolving Family-School Disputes
  • Chapter 12. Current Issues in Special Education
  • Appendix
  • Topical Index


  • Elizabeth A. Shaver (Lead Editor) is an Associate Professor of Legal Writing at The University of Akron School of Law, where she teaches legal writing, education law, and special education law. She regularly publishes and presents on education law topics, and her scholarship on special education law has been cited to the United States Supreme Court. Before joining Akron Law in 2009, Professor Shaver worked both in private practice and as in- house counsel. Professor Shaver received her B.A., magna cum laude, from Vanderbilt University and J.D., cum laude, from Cornell Law School, where she was a member of the Cornell Law Review.
  • Janet R. Decker (Editor) is an Assistant Professor at Indiana University, where she teaches school law courses. Dr. Decker’s research comprises three intersecting strands: informing special education policy and practice, increasing the legal literacy of teachers and administrators, and examining discriminatory practices at charter schools. She holds a J.D. and Ph.D. from Indiana University. Dr. Decker became interested in special education policy when she taught students with autism at the Princeton Child Development institute.


  • Sean Bielmeier, Ph.D., Student, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
  • Susan C. Bon, J.D., Ph.D., Professor, Educational Leadership & Policies, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
  • Susan G. Clark, Ph.D., J.D., Professor, Educational Foundations and Leadership, The University of Akron, Akron, OH
  • Jean B. Crockett, Ph.D., Professor, School of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  • Janet R. Decker, J.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies Dept., Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
  • Cathleen A. Geraghty-Jenkinson, Ph.D., Assistant Teaching Professor, School Psychology Program, University of California, Riverside, CA
  • Julie F. Mead, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Education and Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
  • Allan G. Osborne, Jr., Ed.D., Principal (Retired), Snug Harbor Community School, Quincy, MA
  • Mark A. Paige, J.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Public Policy, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, N. Dartmouth, MA
  • Charles J. Russo, J.D., Ed.D., Joseph Panzer Chair of Education and Director of Ph.D. Program in Educational Leadership in School of Education & Health Sciences; Research Professor of Law, University of Dayton, Dayton, OH
  • Elizabeth A. Shaver, J.D., Associate Professor of Legal Writing, The University of Akron School of Law, Akron, OH
  • Jennifer A. Sughrue, Ph.D., Professor, Dept. of Educational Leadership, Technology, and Research, Florida Gulf Coast University, Ft. Myers, FL
  • Philip H. Swartz, Ph.D., Teacher, Vineyard STEM School, Ontario-Montclair School District, Ontario, CA
  • Stanley L. Swartz, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Technology, and Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation and Counseling, California State University, San Bernardino, CA
  • Mitchell L. Yell, Ph.D., Fred and Francis Palmetto Chair in Teacher Education Special Education, Educational Studies, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC