resorting to litigation.
Knowledge is Power
Although not perfect solutions, there
are methods that can help resolve the
tension between the “basic floor of opportunity” and the “best interests of
the child” standards. Knowledge is
power in special education law, and
knowledge of these methods of dispute
resolution will hopefully give parents,
advocates, and attorneys more power to
help “[ensure] equality of opportunity,
full participation, independent living,
and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities,” as Congress
intended. 10 NWL
are attorneys at
Over the last 20
years, Wiscarson Law has
obtain appropriate special education services
them at www.
GAY TON is an
the parent of
two children with special education
needs. He is a member of the WSBA
Editorial Advisory Committee. He
can be reached at james.gayton@
1. Schaffer v. Weast, 546 U. S. 49, 52 (2005).
2. In Washington, the statutes and regulations that provide for the implementation
of the IDEA are found in RCW 28A.155.010
et seq., and WAC 392-172A-01000 et seq.
3. Rowley, 458 U. S. at 203.
4. Rowley, 458 U.S. at 200, quoting H.R. Rep.
No. 94-332, p. 14 (1975).
5. While there have been revisions to the
IDEA since its initial passage in 1990,
there has been little substantive change
in the sections at the heart of the Supreme
Court’s decision in Rowley.
6. See 20 U. S.C. § 1414(a)( 2). One limitation
is that a district does not have to reevaluate a student more frequently than once
per year, unless the parent and the district
– DEMETRI HELIOTIS
Attorney at Law
In 1994, 800,000 people were
slaughtered in 100 days in Rwanda. Twelve
years later, the United Nations was still
sorting out the legal issues involved
in this genocide. I was privileged
with a clerkship at that tribunal. My
involvement at the UN confirmed my
Passion to Fight Injustice.
But injustice isn’t always massive, and
it can happen any where. I recently
defended someone falsely accused
of domestic violence. At trial, the
complaining witness took the stand.
My rigorous cross-examination proved
the entire story was a lie. The judge
called a recess. The prosecution dismissed
the case. After months of hardship, my
client got justice.
7. More information can be found on OSPI’s
website at: www.k12.wa.us/specialed/
8. See also, Florence County School Dist. Four
v. Carter, 510 U.S. 7 (1993) (holding that
tuition reimbursement applies where the
private school fails to meet state education
9. Forest Grove School District v. TA, 129 S.
Ct. 987 (U.S. 2009).
10. 20 U. S.C. § 1400(c)( 1).