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Massachusetts Law About Special Education

Massachusetts Laws

MGL c.71B: Children with Special Needs

Massachusetts Regulations

603 CMR 28: Special Education Regulations.

Massachusetts State Agency Opinions

Bureau of Special Education Appeals. Includes information on the process as well as decisions and rulings from 1998 to date.

Federal Regulations

34 CFR Part 300: Assistance to States for the Education of Children With Disabilities

Selected Case Law

Forest Grove School District v. T. A., 557 US __ (2009).Decided June 22, 2009. Held: IDEA authorizes reimbursement for private special-education services when a public school fails to provide a FAPE and the private-school placement is appropriate, regardless of whether the child previously received special-education services through the public school."

Schaffer v. Weast, 546 US 49 (2005). Attorneys for parents had argued that where a parent was dissatisfied with an IEP, the school district should bear the burden of proving an IEP sufficient, rather than the parents having to prove that it is insufficient. But the U.S. Supreme Court held that "the burden of persuasion in an administrative hearing challenging an IEP is properly placed upon the party seeking relief, whether that is the disabled child or the school district."

Other Web Sources

The Complete IEP Guide, Nolo, 2011. "The book provides all the plain-English instructions, suggestions, strategies, resources and forms you need." Requires Library Card for access.

Protections for Students with Disabilities Who are Being Disciplined by School Officials, Children's Law Center. Explains the unique legal requirements for disciplining special needs students.

A Guide to the Turning 22 Law, Mass. Rehabilitation Commission. "For young persons with severe disabilities still in need of services Chapter 688 serves as a bridge from educational services into the adult human services program." Explains who is eligible and how the process works.

Mass. Approved Private Special Education Schools, Mass. Department of Education.

MCAS Alternate Assessment, Mass. Department of Education. Provides links to requirements for participation, resource guide and more.

Nolo's IEP Guide: Learning Disabilities, Nolo, 2011. Contents include evaluation of learning disabilities, setting goals, the IEP meeting, resolving IEP disputes and more. Requires Library Card for access.

Parents' How-To Guide on Children's Mental Health Services in Massachusetts, 3d ed., 2011, Boston Bar Association. Includes steps for getting help, paying for services, services in your child's school, and more.

Quick Reference Guide on Special Education: A Guide for Child Advocates in Massachusetts, Children's Law Center, 2014. 2-page handout or poster with summaries of laws and regulations with full citations.

Raising Achievement: Alternate Assessments for Students with Disabilities, US Dept. of Education. Alternative assessments increased for students with disabilities under No Child Left Behind.

So You Will be Going to a Special Education Hearing Without a Lawyer, Bureau of Special Education Appeals, August 2012. Includes: Beginning the Hearing Process; How to File For a Hearing; What Happens Next; The Hearing; Expectations; and Definitions of Legal Terms and Special Education Jargon.

Special Education, Mass. Department of Education. Includes information on IEP's, the law, resources for parents, and much more.

Special Education in Massachusetts, Children's Law Center. Nice, clear guide to the special education process in Massachusetts from identification to assessment, IEP's and more.

Print Sources

Discipline of Students with Special Needs, Lorman Education Services, 2008.