A caravan of Franczek’s special education attorneys is en route to Springfield to participate in the IAASE Twentieth Annual Winter Conference, and we couldn’t be more excited. As the new website for the Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education explains, IAASE is the largest statewide organization of special education administrators in the country and one of the largest Council of Administrators for Special Education (CASE) Units in the US. We love any opportunity to engage in conversations about hot special education topics with IAASE’s nearly 1200 members!

We would love the chance to meet you and hear about the legal challenges you are facing in your schools, districts, and cooperatives. Come find us at the following sessions:

  • Mental Health Support for Students: The Legal Framework presented by Mary Deweese and Jennifer Smith today (February 21) at 10:15 a.m. (Plaza I, 1st Floor).
  • Twice Bitten, Once Shy: Accommodating High Achieving Students Under IDEA and Section 504 presented by Dana Fattore Crumley and Nicki Bazer today (February 21) at 10:15 a.m. (Plaza H, 1st Floor).
  • Too Much Technology? Addressing Legal Concerns Relating to the Use of Technology with Students presented by Jennifer Smith (subbing for Jackie Wernz, who is home with a broken leg) Kendra Yoch today (February 21) at 11:30 a.m. (Plaza CD, 1st Floor).
  • Attorney Panel – Legislative Hot Topics with Dana Fattore Crumley (subbing for Jackie Wernz) tomorrow (February 22) at 10:15 a.m. (Ruby, Emerald, Diamond Ballroom, 2nd Floor).

We hope everyone enjoys the conference, and look forward to seeing many of you over the next two days.


Schools often struggle when asked to evaluate or accommodate a high-achieving student who may also have a disability. In some cases, the student is what is known as “twice exceptional” or “2e,” which is a student with a disability who also exhibits high academic aptitude. In other rare cases, the student or their parents may be among those who reportedly seek accommodations not to address a disability, but to get ahead in the rat race of honors and AP classes, college entrance exams, competitive college admissions, and other challenges that face today’s high school students. How do you tell the difference between 2e students and students whose parents are exhibiting what we will call “accommodation-seeking behaviors”? What kinds of accommodations are required for students with disabilities who are nonetheless high achieving? For those of you who will be attending IAASE in Springfield this week, you can join Dana Fattore Crumley and Nicki Bazer for their session, Twice Bitten, Once Shy: Accommodating High Achieving Students Under IDEA and Section 504, on Thursday, February 21 at 10:15 a.m. For a sneak-peak on this interesting topic, keep reading! Continue Reading Twice Exceptional Students, Accommodation-Seeking Behaviors, and How to Tell the Difference

We’ve all heard it before—schools only must provide a “serviceable Chevrolet,” not a Cadillac, to afford a student a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The analogy is often associated with the seminal U.S. Supreme Court case known as Rowley, which said that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires only a “basic floor of opportunity,” not that schools “maximize” a child’s educational potential. The “Chevy vs. Cadillac” analogy was coined and used by lower courts after Rowley, and suggests that schools need only provide a bare minimum of services to afford a student FAPE. However, the Supreme Court in Endrew F. recently rejected such a “minimalist” interpretation of the IDEA. Since then, we have wondered about the continued applicability of the Chevy vs. Cadillac analogy—does it still have a place in special education law after Endrew F? We think not, and in this blog post we offer a better analogy for school leaders looking for a key to providing students FAPE. If you’d like to learn more, keep reading. Continue Reading Back to Basics: Rowley, Endrew F, and the Chevy vs. Cadillac Analogy

It has been a year since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Texas. As many media outlets are reporting, although the shooting was supposed to be the one that “changed everything,” threats to school safety continue to be a fact of life in American schools. Yet there is much that we can learn and do in this constantly-evolving area, particularly as it relates to students with special needs. How do you properly address school threats from students receiving special education? If you will be at IAASE, you can come discuss this and other student mental health concerns with Franczek attorneys Jennifer Smith and Mary Deweese during their February 21 session on Mental Health Support for Students: The Legal Framework. We also hope you will join us for a unique opportunity to discuss threat assessments during our complimentary half-day conference on Assessing Risk of Violence: Effectively Evaluating Threats to School Safety with Dr. Nancy Zarse, an expert on threat assessments, at Elmhurst College on February 28. In the meantime, this blog post addresses what we think is the key issue to consider when addressing school threats from students with special needs. Read on to confirm that you are complying with this essential consideration.

Continue Reading A Year After Parkland: Do You Know the One Key to Addressing Threats from Students with Special Needs?

A recent BBC news story reported that a seven-year-old boy with leukemia who cannot attend school in person will attend virtually using an AV1 robot. The story reminds us of some of the benefits of using virtual technology for students with special needs, such as keeping the student safe while allowing him to feel a part of the classroom. Franczek attorneys Kendra Yoch and Jennifer Smith will be leading an interactive discussion about team decisions regarding the use of technology at the upcoming IAASE conference this week in Springfield. But once a team decides that a virtual technology is appropriate for a student, what legal risks should they consider? As with most technology issues in the school realm, the risks are manageable but should not be ignored. For a quick checklist of five issues to consider if a team decides a student should use virtual technology in the classroom, continue reading! Continue Reading Virtual Technology in the Classroom: Five Legal Issues to Consider