Sources of Legal Authority For Special Education*
(Listed in Order of Supremacy)
(e.g. Due Process Clauses)
IDEA (20 USC 1400 et seq.)
Section 504 (29 USC 794)
ADA and others
Court Interpretations of U.S. Constitution, statutes or regulations
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals
U.S. District Courts
Code of Federal Regulations
34 CFR Part 300 et seq.for IDEA;
34 CFR Part 104 et seq. for Section 504
Other Federal Agency Guidance
(e.g. OSEP Letters, OCR Decisions)
(e.g. right to education, non-discrimination provisions)
(e.g. a state law against discrimination on the basis of disability)
State Case Law
Court interpretations of state constitution, statutes or regs.
State Appellate Level Court(s)
State Trial Level Courts
State Administrative Rules or Regulations
(e.g. those created by state’s department of education, office of special education)
There may also be letters of interpretation or rulings by a state agency
re: its rules or regulations
State Special Ed. Plan
Each state must make certain promises to receive federal sp. ed. funds.
May also wish to consult funding applications for other federal education programs.
Intermediate or Local Education Agency Plans
Local School District Policies/Procedures
(e.g. for regular education student discipline)
*Sources of authority will vary depending upon the structure of your state and local governments, etc. However, the sources listed above may give you some ideas as you begin to list sources applicable to your client’s case.