Legal Issues, Advocacy, and Consulting

Behavioral, Discipline, Suspension, and Expulsion Issues

Bill of Rights for Behaviorally Challenged Kids (from Lives in the Balance)
Lists what children with behavioral challenges need to have others understand and how to accommodate their needs. Quote from the website: “If we don’t start doing right by kids with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges, we’re going to keep losing them at an astounding rate. Doing the right thing isn’t an option…it’s an imperative.”

California Special Education Local Plan Areas (SELPA’s)
Read about SELPA’s and the laws and regulations regarding them and special education students.

Children with Attention Disorders – DRC Advocacy information
Read the DRC publication outlining the rights of children with attention disorders and the special education laws pertaining to these children under ‘Other Health Impaired.”

Disability Rights California (Behavior and Expulsion)
Rights and Responsibilities Booklet

Other Languages: Rights and Responsibilities Booklet – En Español

Handout on student rights around behavior and expulsion.

Chapter on Discipline from “Rights and Responsibilities” book by PAI

Chapter 1 information regarding Discipline from Rights and Responsibilities book:
Scroll down to questions 37, 37A, 37B and 37C concerning behavior, as a result of disability.

Functional Behavioral Assessments – What, Why, When, Where, and Who?
Article on IDEA 2004 requirements involving functional assessments to determine the source of  behaviors and how to create an appropriate intervention for them.

Lost at School
Ross Greene’s book which outlines what parents and educators can do to help children with behavioral challenges.

LD Online: Behavior Management: Getting to the Bottom of Social Skills Deficits
Article explaining social skill deficits and tips for teaching these skills, including motivational and social skill discrimination strategies

OSEP Technical Assistance Center – Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
Watch a video and read about recommended supports for students with behavioral problems

Article: Behavior and Discipline in Plain Language

Wrightslaw: Discipline under IDEA 2004

Handout on behavior problems and discipline.

Article on “What are Schools Obligations for Children with Severe Emotional and Behavior Problems”

Article on Behavior Management and Appropriate School Response: FBA’s, BIP’s, and IEE’s

Article on “What you Need to Know about IDEA 2004: IEP’s for Children with Behavior Problems”


Access Santa Cruz County
Lists local and Bay Area legal organizations and services.

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)
Read the online Guide to Disability Rights Laws
Find updates here:

Advocacy Inc.
‘Works to protect the rights of facility-placed seniors, disabled persons and individuals with mental health needs through advocacy, education and intervention’ in San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties.

Advocacy Institute
Find advocacy information, education news, webinars, links to resources, articles, and parent guides.

Factors Contributing to Parent School Conflict in Special Education

California Regional Centers Clients Rights Advocates
Find names and contact info for your regional center clients’ rights advocate. These workers supervise the Regional Centers’ Advocates.
SARC Supervisor: Rita Difilippis, CRA

California Rural Legal Assistance
Serves the needs of low-income farmworkers and migrants and works to improve conditions for farm workers, new immigrants, single parents, school children, the elderly, people with disabilities, and entire communities.  Has link to locate local offices.

California Special Education Programs – A Composite of Laws
Find information on specific laws by searching the database or order your own copy (1 per person/check for purchase price.)

Search database here

Donwload a form to order your free copy here

California State Council on Developmental Disabilities
State Council on Developmental Disabilities
1507 21st Street, Suite 210, Sacramento, CA 95811
Phone: 916-322-8481
Works to insure that people with developmental disabilities and their families receive the services and supports they need. SCDD advocates for coordinated, comprehensive community services, individualized supports, and other forms of assistance and works to ensure full access to these services. Contact your local area board for an advocate.

For local area board contact information: Counties of Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara

For Area Board VII:
2580 North First Street, Suite 240, San Jose, CA, 95131-1015
Area Board 7 Jane Lefferdink, executive director, oversees SARC
Area Board 7 advocate for respite issues is Jennifer Lucas.
Area Board 7 Mary Mahur advocate who specializes in issues with the school system.
408-246-6479 or

California State Office of Administrative Hearings, Special Education Division
Information on hearings and mediation including: Special Education Eligibility, School District Right to Assess, Independent Educational Evaluations, Discipline of Students Who Have Disabilities, The Right of a Student With a Disability to a Free Appropriate Public Education

Read the manual: Special+Education/Default.htm

Office of Administrative Hearings’ Free or Low-Cost Attorneys List

Caroline E. Currie, M.Ed
Education Advocate
(831) 426-7271

CASE (Community Alliance for Special Education)
1550 Bryant Street, Suite 738, San Francisco, CA 94103
Advocacy and legal services and support for parents of special needs children in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area

Children’s Rights Advocate
Special Education Rights and Services
Susanne Buxbaun, Education Law Expert
P.O. Box 51881, Pacific Grove, CA 93950

A Composite of Laws – California Special Education Programs Order Form
You may want to check that this form is still used for ordering the free Composite of Laws book on special education.

COPAA The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc
COPAA is an independent, nonprofit, §501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization of attorneys, advocates and parents. Their primary mission is to secure high quality educational services for children with disabilities.

DRC Disability Rights California
Support for Californians with disabilities, their families and representatives in these areas: advising about legal, civil and service rights; technical assistance, training, publications and advocacy;
legislative advocacy, investigating complaints about serious physical and sexual abuse and neglect-related deaths in institutions; outreach to traditionally underserved ethnic and disability communities;
peer self-advocacy services for people with psychiatric or developmental disabilities; patients’ rights advocacy for state psychiatric hospital residents, training for county advocates; rights advocacy for clients at regional centers; litigation involving disability-related cases; and representing individuals

DRC Article by DRC on “State and Federal Laws Prohibit Schools from Retaliating
Against Parents and Against Individuals Assisting Parents”


DRC Disability Rights California (Rights and Responsibilities Handbook)
Read about Special Education Rights and Responsibilities in this Guide by CASE (Community Alliance for Special Education.)

Due Process Hearings – CA Office of Administrative Hearings
View the document “Understanding Special Education Due Process Hearings” –  a guide to due process hearings.

Steven A. Greenburg, Education Law 55 River Street, Suite 100, Santa Cruz 458-9900; 831-458-0502 Advising and representing clients in special education law and student discipline issues. Clients include parents and their children with special needs, teachers and private schools.

Isaac Kight, Special Education Advocate / Autism/Social Deficit Specialist
Provides consultation, advocacy and consultations for families of children with a social cognitive deficit, including children with Asperger’s, TS, OCD, ADHD, NVLD, and other similar conditions. (See also under recreational activities for social cognitive family play days.)

I-Tunes FREE Apps for Education (IEP’s, Advocacy, and Common Core Standards)
Read about these FREE Apps at PHP

IEP Checklist:
Common Core Standards:

Steven A. Greenburg, Education Law Firm
55 River Street, Suite 100, Santa Cruz, CA
831-458-9900; 831-458-0502
Specializes in special education and education law issues.  Serves the clinical and education law needs of clients throughout northern California.

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
Cites laws by state for special education charter schools students regarding responsibility for services, and the LEA, and SELPA.

North Santa Cruz County SELPA - Special Education Rights of Parents and Children

NICHCY National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
Resolving Disputes between Parents and Schools
Lists the ways and levels that parents can approach disputes over special education IEP’s and services.  Once on the site, click on each of the links for more information.

Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
Provides info and enforces five federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, nation al origin, sex, disability and age in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance from the Department of Education (ED) including state education agencies, elementary and secondary school systems, colleges and universities, vocational schools, proprietary schools, state vocational rehabilitation agencies, libraries and museums. Also provides info on how to file a claim.

OCR Article: Protecting Students With Disabilities - Frequently Asked Questions About Section 504 and the Education of Children with Disabilities

Procedural Safeguards and Referral Services
Provides technical assistance information and resources for parents, school districts, advocates, agencies and others of procedural safeguards regarding students between ages 3 and 21 with disabilities and their educational rights.

Protection & Advocacy, Inc. (PAI)
This agency is now Disability Rights California – click on this link or read about it above under Disability Rights California

Santa Clara SELPA Procedural Handbook
Links to handbook sections on all aspects of special education including identification and eligibility of disabilities, parental rights, IEP Guidelines, Transition services, forms, reports, and more.

Special Education Law Wiki
Find the complete text of IDEA 2004, Federal Laws and Appeal Decisions, Index of State and Federal Special Education Decisions, OAH Hearing Decisions, and  Articles for Parent on legal questions of Independent Educational Evaluations and Right to Refuse to Medicate.

Support for Families of Special Needs Children – Guide to Legislative and Public Policy Websites
Find general sections on current issues and ‘take action’ as well as updates on programs parents of children with disabilities rely on: Medi-Cal, CCS, State Budget impact, IDEA, and Mental Health.

Tourette Syndrome Association (Education and Advocacy) (main page)
TSA Educational Information and Strategies
Download free educational powerpoint presentations (view online  or as ppt) as well as view online pdf’s on IEP’s, child’s rights, RTI, functional behavioral assessments, bullying, giving inservice, TSA conferences slideshows, plus many other free materials on important topics for those with TS, as well as many online or downloadable materials for a minimal cost.

University of California Hastings College of the Law Library
Click on the Special Education Law Blog or scroll down to listen to podcasts on Special Education topics.

Wrightslaw Website
Site for parents, educators, advocates, and attorneys, with current information about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities. Links and articles about IEP’s, IDEA, and many Special Education topics.

Wrightslaw FAQ’s:  Resolving Problems and Disputes with the School

Wrightslaw Article: Response to Intervention (RTI) New Ways to Identify Specific Learning Disabilities
Examines the issues around the change in how LD is identified which is no longer based on whether a child has a severe discrepancy between intelligence and performance but rather on the interventions used.  Offers many links to further resources on the topic.

Wrightslaw Special Education Law, 2nd Edition
Book offers full text of IDEA 2004, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, No Child Left Behind, as well as discusses Special Education legal decisions in U.S. Supreme Court, and offers other resources.