Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Summers, Kelly H.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations (LEPF)


This study attempts to examine the evolution of the rights of parents of students with disabilities. For more than 40 years since President Gerald Ford signed Public Law 94-142, The Education for All Handicapped Children Act, into law, the ability for parents to advocate for their child with a disability continues to evolve. At the same time, school officials continue to care for all students in loco parentis, advocating to have the educational needs of children met.

Often, when parents and school officials meet around the table to plan an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for a student with a disability, the meeting is collaborative, and a strong plan is developed with input from all team members. However, there can be times when school officials and parents are at an adversarial impasse. Often, school officials are left to determine what the next steps should be when disagreements with parents become litigious.

This study examines pertinent Special Education legislation and relevant case law in order to determine if there are observable trends in Court findings. This information can, in turn, assist school officials when determining if a case is worth pursuing litigation or if they should work with parents to mediate an agreement that all team members can agree upon. Finally, this study attempts to provide guidance for school administrators who may wish to avoid litigious situations stemming from disputes around the IEP table.


135 pages




Northern Illinois University

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