Academic level – Undergraduate 1-2
Type of paper – Coursework
Topic Title – History of Legal Issues in Special Education
Directions: View the five History of Legal Issues in Special Education videos and take notes on significant information learned.
Complete handout and respond to the question at the end of the handout.
1896: Plessy Vs. Ferguson
Plessy v. Ferguson established the “separate but equal” doctrine, permitting racial segregation and influencing future challenges to discrimination, including segregation based on ability and disability.
By the early 1950s, special education services and programs were available in some school districts, but often, undesirable results occurred (George Giuliani, 2013, Part 1).
1954: Brown Vs. the Board of Education
Brown v. Board of Education ended racial segregation, declaring “separate but equal” facilities unequal. It also paved the way to address discrimination against students with disabilities based on ability or condition.
During the 1960s, there was a pervasive national concern with the rights of the individual, especially the rights of persons previously discriminated against by the government (George Giuliani, 2013, Part 2).
1961: J.F. Kennedy, Presidential Panel
President John F. Kennedy’s initiative, the Presidential Panel on Mental Retardation, raised public awareness about the needs of individuals with mental and physical disabilities. This effort helped to destigmatize disabilities and fostered a more inclusive attitude toward education for kids with disabilities.
1968: Special Olympics
Founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics celebrated and accepted people with intellectual disabilities as athletes. This event furthered recognizing the rights and capabilities of individuals with disabilities, encouraging inclusivity in sports and education.
The 1970s marked a crucial period for advancing special education through significant court cases and legislation.
PARC Vs. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
In PARC, the Court ruled that schools may not exclude students classified with mental retardation (George Giuliani, 2013, Part 3).
Mills Vs. Board of Education
The court held that no child eligible for public education in the District of Columbia could be excluded based on their mental, physical, or emotional disability or impairment. This decision established the principle that insufficient resources could not be used as a basis for excluding students with disabilities.
1973: Rehabilitation Act
The Rehabilitation Act discriminated against individuals with disabilities unlawfully in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.
Section 504 of the Act ensured equal opportunities for students with disabilities in all school activities.
1975: P.L. 94-142 EHA
Public Law 94-142 set forth federal procedural safeguards for children with disabilities and their parents (George Giuliani, 2013, Part 4).
Ensured that all children with disabilities received free and appropriate education, regardless of the severity of their disability.
Required schools to develop personalized educational plans with specific goals and services for students with disabilities.
Mandated that students with disabilities be educated alongside their non-disabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate.
Provided procedures to protect the rights of families and students in disputes with school districts.
EHA Amendments extended to include EIP for infants and toddlers with disabilities.
EHA was reauthorized as IDEA, addressing autism classification and transition services.
IDEA was reauthorized, introducing discipline procedures and focusing on early intervention (Part H to Part C).
IDEIA was reauthorized, emphasizing accountability, inclusivity, and improved opportunities for students with disabilities.
Under IDEIA, students with disabilities have increased participation in state accountability, higher graduation rates, improved access to higher education, and better job opportunities. 95% of all students with disabilities are educated in general education buildings (George Giuliani, 2013, Part 5).
Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (P.L. 94-142) in 1975, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 2004 were the three greatest events in the history of specialized education in the United States. These occurrences altered our perspectives, regulations, and support systems, improving awareness, equity, and opportunity for children with disabilities and unique needs.
George Giuliani. (2013, November 22). Part 1–History of Legal Issues in Special Education [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsJQipeml8I
George Giuliani. (2013, November 22). Part 2–History of Legal Issues in Special Education [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYlOfQTDGxI
George Giuliani. (2013, November 22). Part 4–History of Legal Issues in Special Education [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meQRG1FxwPE
George Giuliani. (2013, November 22). Part 5–History of Legal Issues in Special Education [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEwgp19TfgE
George Giuliani. (2013, November 23). Part 3–History of Legal Issues in Special Education [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLjTUzIfDdA