Click on a heading to expand or collapse that heading’s content.

  • Safeguards:

    protections made available to students in the disciplinary or special education identification process.

  • School district policy:

    policies that apply to your particular group of schools made by a local group of officials.

  • Section 504:

    part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; federal law the prohibits discrimination against disabled children.

  • Section 504 coordinator:

    advises parents who report discrimination against their children; provides information about their rights.

  • Special education eligibility evaluation:

    initial step in the creation of an IEP; parents may submit a written request to their school’s principal or school officials may refer the student for this evaluation.

  • Special education:

    the range of educational programs made available for children with mental, physical, emotional and behavioral disabilities in the United States.

  • Special education referral:

    initial recommendation that the student might be eligible for special education; may be recommended by either a parent or school official; if this referral is school-initiated, the school must provide: 1) documentation of appropriate efforts for the student to be educated in the regular classroom, 2) “Prior Written Notice” to the parents of the schools’ intent, 3) detailed documentation of the decision-making steps, 4) “Procedural Safeguards Notice” explaining parental rights and those of the child in this process.

  • State complaint:

    a report that parents may file asserting failures of the school district to comply with education laws; must be submitted to the Dispute Resolution Coordinator at the special education division of a state or local department of education.

  • State law:

    policy made in your particular state.

  • State constitution:

    may designate education as a fundamental right or designate that educational opportunities must be equal or uniform.

  • Strict scrutiny:

    the most critical Court-review of a school’s action; under this level of review, it is most likely that the Court will rule against the school’s action.

  • Subjective categories of disabilities:

    disabilities that rely on judgments which most often vary according to the individual examiner’s personal opinion; includes emotional disabilities, mild or moderate retardation, or developmental delays.

  • Supplemental education services:

    services outside of the traditional offerings specific to the needs of the student, such as hearing aids, speech therapists, specialized reading materials, specialized computer programs, or additional time to complete tests or assignments.

  • Suspensions:

    most common school punishments; remove students for a short-term (less than ten days) or a long-term (more than ten days); suspended students always have the right to due process.

  • Systematic over-representation of minority students:

    the consistent over-assignment of minority students into special education programs. The rate of wrong and mistaken assignments for minority students is much greater than the rate of wrong or mistaken assignments for white students into these programs.