Special Education


Special Education




Special Education

Debbie Young has accumulated adequate experience as a high school principal and served as an assistant principal and special education instructor. As a result of extraordinary expenses that would be accrued from taking care of Jonathan within the school, she declined the requests by the child’s parents to enroll him in the school. Jonathan has a number of disabilities namely mental disability (retardation), seizure disorder, and spastic quadriplegia, which demand that Jonathan is provided with special care by a specially trained nurse. Principal Debbie Young is of the view that the conditions of Jonathan would not be met adequately due to extraordinary costs and inappropriateness of the school environment in responding to the needs of Jonathan.

The arguments brought forth by the parents of the child are founded on the clauses of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which guarantees children with special needs appropriate, quality and free education irrespective of the severity of disability (Jon, 2011). Precedent on admission of students with sever disabilities is provided adequately in a number of cases in the 1970s such as Mills v Washington D.C. Board of Education and Pennsylvania Association of Retarded Citizens v Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Jon, 2011).

Literature describes  Mills v. Board of Education of District of Columbia (1972) is one of the most important federal court judgments that brought about the enactment of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 1973 and Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHCA which is currently referred to as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). These laws have been critical towards the changes experienced in American education. Before the enactment of these laws, a majority of schools were not obligated to provide special education to students with different disabilities (Underwood, & Webb, 2006). Subsequently a significant number of students were denied access to appropriate and quality education resulting in express exclusion of disabled persons from public education. In addition, Mills v. Board of Education of District of Columbia (1972) resulted in a summary judgment that enforced the need for children with disabilities to be provided with quality public education irrespective of financial considerations. The courts held that financial limitations were not sufficient grounds to deny students with disabilities quality education (Underwood, & Webb, 2006).

Additionally, the case Pennsylvania Association of Retarded Citizens v Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was one of the most significant cases challenging laws excluding students with mental disabilities from accessing appropriate and quality education. The judges noted that children with disabilities should be provided with quality, free, accessible and appropriate education irrespective of severity of impairment or disability. The case was effective in challenging unfair practices and legislation barring students with disabilities from accessing quality public education (Underwood, & Webb, 2006).

On the other hand, it is critical to take into consideration the financial constraints experienced by the institution in accommodating the delicate needs of Jonathan arising from multiple conditions. In a number of cases such as Cedar Rapids Independent School District v. Garrett F, parents enjoined in the case requested a motion for due process hearing as per IDEA in relation to the refusal by a school to provide a quadriplegic child with proper nursing services. The judges argued that the school district was tasked with provision of nursing services to the student as per IDEA’s definition of “related service” (Underwood, & Webb, 2006). Such provides an adequate foundation for provision of Jonathan with nursing care within the institution. Jonathan requires constant monitoring and care provided by a specialized nurse. As per the provisions of IDEA, the school district is tasked with allocation of the necessary resources to ensure that Jonathan is provided with “related services” such that he may receive adequate education. Moreover, the school does not have sufficient grounds to deny the student access to related services as it is adequately provided in the case.

Furthermore, it is important to Principal Young’s view that the school is an appropriate environment for provision of care for the student given his delicate combination of multiple disabilities. In addition, the case of McLaughlin v. Holt Public Schools resulted in a summary judgment by the courts, which held that a student with disabilities could be served by another institution outside the neighborhood if the program required is offered in another school district. In relation to Jonathan’s condition and case, the laws have adequate provisions, which emphasize the need to deliver related services in regular classrooms before they are transferred into restrictive and specialized environments (Underwood, & Webb, 2006). However, such does not refer to the need for all students to be entitled to placement in neighborhood schools.

In the case of Beth B. v. Clay, the courts note that the student had a disability, which warranted assistance to move, and only communicated through eye gazes. In addition, the student also had cognitive ability of a 1-6 year old child. The school opted to develop a self-contained program that catered to he special needs of the student. However, her parents objected to the decisions, to which the court noted that the school administration possessed expertise that the courts lacked in provision of education to the said student (Jon, 2011). The case is similar to Jonathan’s, given the severity and complexity of his disabilities.

Thus, the school administration should provide an expert opinion on the best way to ensure that the student is provided with quality education (Underwood, & Webb, 2006). A specialized room may be deemed as appropriate to ensure that the said instruction is not an impediment to other students as they receive instruction in classrooms. Denying the student access to appropriate education is violable, which warrants the need to develop a special program for the student, Jonathan in line with existing precedent for special education.



Jon, R. (2011). The Means Justify the Ends: Structural Due Process in Special Education Law. Harvard Journal on Legislation 48, p.415-66.

Underwood, J., & Webb, L. D. (2006). School law for teachers: Concepts and applications. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall.

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