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Pennsylvania Special Education Law: Books, Articles & Other Scholarly Legal Analysis

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WEX legal dictionary and encyclopedia is accessible free online at Cornell Law’s Legal Information Institute.




Books, Treatises & Study Aids

Treatises on special education law provide an in-depth analysis of this area of law.  Some suggestions appear below.  Other books mentioned below are concise study-aids for law students and practitioners, but may still be helpful for the non-specialist researcher.  These works contain many references to relevent statutes, cases, and other legal resources.  Further such works may be found in the Library's OPAC, or by consulting with a Reference Librarian.

Practice Materials

Practice matrials may be used to aid the legal researcher and practitioner's understanding of the practical application of statutes, regulations, and case law relating to Special Education issues.  Consult the index to the works listed below (or search the equivalent database) for material dealing with particular issues in Special Education matters.  Use the OPAC or consult a Reference Librarian to find additional practice manuals and guides:

Practice Guides: 

FEDERAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE (Wright & Miller).  Authoritative guidance on procedure in the federal courts.


FEDERAL PROCEDURE.  Consult this resource for guidance on procedure in various actions before the federal courts.


MOORE’S FEDERAL PRACTICE (KF8716.5 .M782 1997).  This resource provides guidance on all aspects of practice in the federal courts.  Use the index to locate material relevant to actions regarding Special Education.


AMERICAN JURISPRUDENCE TRIALS.  Use this resource for concise guidance on every aspect of particular legal actions, including references to applicable law, elements of the cause of action, forms of pleading, and more. 


CAUSES OF ACTION.  This resource features articles on what is necessary to litigate various causes of action in many areas of law.  Suggested article(s) related to disability rights are:


Cause of Action for Violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEIA) [20 U.S.C.A. §§ 1400 et seq.], 37 Causes of Action 2d 447 (Originally published in 2008)


AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES: PRACTICE AND COMPLIANCE MANUAL.  Comprehensive guidance on federal and state disability laws.  See Chapter 11: Individuals with Disablilities Education Act (IDEA).


AMERICAN JURISPRUDENCE PROOF OF FACTS.  Use this resource to identify the facts that must be proven in particular actions, and trial techniques necessary to make such proofs.  Some suggested articles dealing with Special Education issues are:


Parents' or Student's Proof in Action for Educational Services or Tuition Reimbursement Under the Special Education Laws, 93 Am. Jur. Proof of Facts 3d 1 (Originally published in 2007)


School District's Proof that Services Offered to Student with Disabilities Met Statutory Standards, 99 Am. Jur. Proof of Facts 3d 237 (Originally published in 2008)


Liability of Public or Private Day Care Center or Nursery School, 133 Am. Jur. Proof of Facts 3d 87 (Originally published in 2013)

STANDARD PENNSYLVANIA PRACTICE 2d. Guide to civil and criminal practice in Pennsylvania courts. 

Practice Forms:

AMERICAN JURISPRUDENCE PLEADING AND PRACTICE FORMS ANNOTATED.  State and federal practice forms, checklists and timetables for various actions.


AMERICAN JURISPRUDENCE LEGAL FORMS 2d.  Use this resource for model business and legal forms, and for guidance on form use and drafting; includes checklists and other practice aids.


DUNLAP-HANNA PENNSYLVANIA FORMS (KFP68 A6D92).  Civil practice forms for Pennsylvania courts.


WEST'S PENNSYLVANIA FORMS.  Model forms for Pennsylvania practice. 

Law Journals and Articles

Law Reviews and Law Journals, a "secondary source of law," feature commentary on the law by legal scholars, students and practitioners.  Many such publications are available in print and electronic form.  Search for articles on Special Education law (and other subjects) online in various journal databases such as JSTOR, SSRN, and others.  Westlaw, Lexis Advance, and Heinonline all feature Law Review and Journal material, as well (these three databases require a pre-existing access account).  Google Scholar is another good source for such material and provides much free, full-text online access, or else abstracts of legal articles.  Listed below are some recent suggested articles regarding special education law in Pennsylvania; many more may be found by reference or by using the resources discussed above: 


Alexia M Baiman, Educating Special Education Students Who Have Only Attended Private Schools: After Tom F., Who is Left with the Bill? 71 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 121 (2009-2010)


Sonja Kerr & Jenai St. Hill, Mediation of Special Education Disputes in Pennsylvania, 15 U. Pa. J.L. & Soc. Change 179 (2011-2012)


Amy Reichbach & Marlies Spanjaard, Guarding the Schoolhouse Gate:  Protecting the Educational Rights of Children in Foster Care,  21 Temp. Pol. & Civ. Rts. L. Rev. 101 (2011-2012)


Samantha Peruto, Exception Perception: The Third Circuit's Strict View of the Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 58 Vill. L. Rev. 843 (2013)

Pennsylvania Bar Institute Publications

Publications by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute are designed to educate and assist Pennsylvania practitioners regarding the current state of the law and best practices on the various issues they cover.  These resources generally present a clear and concise review of their topic, making them very useful for non-professionals, as well.  Find additional relevant titles on Special Education Law by consulting with a Reference Librarian, or by using the Library's OPAC.

Other Secondary Legal Sources

American Law Reports:  This resource features annotations (articles) on various issues of law, supported by numerous references to primary authorities (i.e., statutes, cases, regulations, etc.).  American Law Reports is available on Lexis Advance and Westlaw.  Some suggested annotations are:

Provision of "Free Appropriate Public Education" to Student With Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Under Individuals With Disabilities Education Act or Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 88 A.L.R. Fed. 2d 1 (Originally published in 2014).


Construction and Application of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act's Child Find Requirements, 20 U.S.C.A. §§ 1412(a)(3), 1412(a)(10), 78 A.L.R. Fed. 2d 201 (Originally published in 2013).


Special Education Requirements of Gifted Students, 115 A.L.R.5th 183 (Originally published in 2004).


What constitutes services that must be provided by federally assisted schools under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (20 U.S.C.A. §§ 1400 et seq.), 161 A.L.R. Fed. 1 (Originally published in 2000).


Obligation of public educational agencies, under Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C.A. §§ 1400 et seq.), to pay tuition costs for students unilaterally placed in private schools—post–Burlington cases, 152 A.L.R. Fed. 485 (Originally published in 1999).


Special Education Law Bulletin:  Information on mainstreaming concerns, classroom management, private schools and special programs, tuition issues, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) compliance issues, Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), and more. 


Legal Rights of Children:  Guide to understanding the various federal, state, and uniform laws, regulations and procedures that apply to children and families.  Covers many legal issues, including matters realted to school districts and state education in general.