Saint Joseph's University

SPE 700 Special Education School Law and Policy

Discover the challenges and the successes of special education law.

The content presented on this page is representative information for example purposes and is subject to change without notice as course and student needs change over time. For current course descriptions, please see the Online Academic Catalog.

Format: Online

Duration: 16 weeks

Credits: 3 credits

Legislation governing students with special needs comes from the commitment of dedicated parents, teachers, and community leaders. This course gives you a greater understanding of how these laws have been established and the importance of their interpretation. By learning the history of special education law, you discover actual cases that have brought about this legislation. Through these real cases, you learn to appreciate the struggles, and the successes, that have helped students with special needs (and their parents) gain legal protection and give hope for a better educational future.

This course is designed to provide an overview of the legal rights of students and their families in the field of special education. You will explore the source, history, and current status of special education law. Content covered includes an overview of laws and litigation affecting special education, including constitutional and statutory provisions of federal and state law, and judicial decisions interpreting those laws. This course also relates the concepts of equal protection, procedural due process, and substantive due process doctrines to school practices affecting students with disabilities.

As you go through the course, you learn why it’s important to provide parents with information that allows them to make informed decisions, and how to enable them to participate in the special education process. You discuss how the civil rights movement and the advocacy movement for the rights of children with disabilities have influenced the development of special education law and examine questionable situations that may require you to draw on your knowledge of the law to proceed.

Sample Course Topics  

Throughout this course, weekly topics may include:

  • The History of Special Education Law
  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) including key components
  • Evaluation and Assessment
  • Parent Involvement and Discipline
  • Special Education Law in Pennsylvania

Examples of What You’ll Learn

When you complete SPE 700, you will be able to:

  • Discuss cases that have influenced special education law, the laws and regulations that currently shape special education and how these special education laws and regulations have been implemented.
  • Explain the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • Discuss landmark cases in special education.
  • Define Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) and the Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
  • Explain how procedural safeguards and due process regulations benefit parents and guardians of children with special needs.
  • Learn special education state laws and explain why it is necessary to have these laws in addition to IDEA.
  • Discuss why parental involvement is a pillar of IDEA 2004 and why we need special education law regarding discipline.

To learn more about the online Master of Science in Education - Special Education curriculum from Saint Joseph’s University, including Special Education School Law and Policy, call (866) 758-7670 to speak with a Program Manager or request more information.

The content presented on this page is representative information for example purposes and is subject to change without notice as course and student needs change over time. For current course descriptions, please see the Online Academic Catalog.

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