Sample Paper on Procedural Safeguards to IDEA: The Zero Reject Principle

Procedural Safeguards to IDEA: The Zero Reject Principle
The zero reject principle is one of those guiding the implementation of the Education for all Handicapped Children Act (P.L 94- 142). It gives all disabled children the right to appropriate education irrespective of the severity of their disability. No school should deny a child the right to education on the following basis: that the disabled child cannot benefit from public education; that the child’s disability causes inappropriate behaviour; that the child is severely disabled; or that the child has a contagious disease. In the case that a child has a contagious disease, the school has to determine if there is high risk of the disease infecting others (Odom, Horner & Snell, 2009).
The principle requires that local and state educational agencies provide education to all disabled children from age 3 to 21 years. It is an implementation of the 14th Amendment, which requires equal protection guarantee to all. When the Education for all Handicapped Children Act was enacted in 1975, one million disabled children were excluded from public education. The parents were left to provide for their needs at their own expense. This changed with the law (Odom, Horner & Snell, 2009).
Implementation of this law has experienced challenges with some district and state schools creating new bases for refusal to provide the services as determined by law. One such example is the case of Timothy vs. Rochester, New Hampshire, School District (Timothy W. v. Rochester).
In this case, the school argued that Timothy was too handicapped to benefit from education. It involved a series of hearings that required Timothy’s attorney to provide more information about Timothy’s capability to gain from education; and evidence from Timothy’s side indicating his capability to improve when educated. It was, however, established that it was not for the school to determine if Timothy would benefit from the school program or not. It was also established that the ability of Timothy to benefit from education was not a criterion for eligibility. The schools have a mandate to develop special programs for people like Timothy (Timothy W. v. Rochester).

Odom, S. L., Horner, R. H. and Snell, M. E. (2009). Handbook of Developmental Disabilities.
New York: Guilford Press.
Timothy W. v. Rochester, New Hampshire, School District, 875 F.2d 954 (1st Cir. 1989).