For Educators

SPED 698D Special Education Law—3 Credits

Indiana State University is pleased to offer Special Education Law (SPED 698D) by distance learning during Summer 2014. Three credit hours of graduate credit will be awarded. There are no course prerequisites other than admission to the College of Graduate and Professional Studies, Indiana State University.

The course instructor is Dr. James A. Jacobs, who is a professor of special education at Indiana State University and has served as a due process hearing officer for the Indiana State Department since 2003. Dr. Jacobs has written multiple hearing decisions, several of which have been appealed. To date, all of his decisions have been upheld by the Board of Special Education Appeals and the courts.

Course Content

Course content is offered through a creative delivery schedule specifically tailored for teachers, administrators, parents, advocates, related services personnel, and other interested professionals.

  • The first portion of the course, the period of time between early registration and June 9th, is to be used as a traditional "directed study" learning experience. That is, classes will not be scheduled during this time period; however, each student will be expected to obtain a course packet and respond to specific activities contained in the course packet. Additionally, each student is provided access to the course instructor by means of personal appointment, telephone contact, e-mail, and first class mail.
  • Dates for on-campus classes are June 12 and 13; June 25-27, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.
  • The first two on-campus meeting dates (June 12 and 13) will be devoted to hearing from a guest speaker from the Attorney General's Office of the State Department of Education regarding current legal issues in special education. The second on-campus day will be spent orienting students to the course materials packet, instruction in conducting legal searches, and providing samples of the final project.
  • The third portion of the course, June 25, 26, and 27, will be conducted as an on-campus seminar scheduled from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. daily. Each day of the seminar will focus on specific legal issues. Study will focus on the Individuals with Disabilities Education (Improvement) Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and related issues. IDEIA and Article 7 issues will be the primary focus of the course. Other legal issues pertaining to schools also will be discussed, including dress and appearance, search and seizure, abuse and neglect, zero tolerance, teacher liability for slander and libel, intentional and unintentional torts, teacher negligence, and duties of supervision.

    Specific case studies will be presented, discussed, and critiqued. Dr. Jacobs will relate the substance (issues and factual information) of selected due process hearings he has conducted. Students will be provided an opportunity to offer their "Conclusions of Law" in a seminar format. It is anticipated that Kevin McDowell, Esq., representing the office of Attorney General of the Indiana State Department of Education, will attend one of the scheduled seminars and provide specific responses to students' questions as well as a "look forward" regarding specific troublesome legal issues in special education.

Enrollment is limited. Three credit hours of graduate credit will be awarded. Those interested in enrolling should contact the course instructor Dr. Jim Jacobs at for additional information regarding the course and to communicate their intent to enroll. The textbook required for this course is: Rothstein, L & Johnson S; Special Education Law (5th), Sage. ISBN 978-4522-4109-8 (paper back). A copy of Indiana's Special Education Rules (Article7: Title 511 IAC Rules 32-47) will also be required.

Once this initial communication has been established, the course instructor will respond with additional information and assist students with the registration process. All work for this course must be completed by the end date of the second five week summer session.

Last updated November 14, 2013