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Education Law

Schools, Students, and Special Education


Education is one of many functions of both the state and federal governments. The federal government has an interest in education; however, each state has primary responsibility for the maintenance and operation of its own public schools. Every state has a constitutional requirement to provide a public school system, and state legislatures have the authority to ensure the system remains consistent with the state's constitute ority is usually delegated to a state board of education.

Common issues in education and school law include equality in education; parents' rights to direct their children's education; constitutional freedoms such as freedom of religion and the freedom of speech; special education issues based on the Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. §§ 1400 et seq.); and public and private funding. Some important federal education statutes include:


  1. Self Help
  2. Treatises and Practice Guides
  3. Forms
  4. Statutes, Regulations, and Decisions
  5. Web Sites


These books are highly regarded "plain English" explanations of the law, written by attorneys or other legal experts. They include basic legal discussion and procedures. Unless otherwise indicated, these titles are located in our Self-Help collection.


California Educators' Guide to School Law KFC 648 .C34 (General Collection)
Electronic access
: available via the Internet at\'-Guide-to-School-Law.aspx

California School Rules: A School-Smart Parent's Guide to Advocating For Your Child KFC 648 .Z9 G63

Law in the School: A Guide for California Schools, School Safety Personnel, and Law Enforcement KFC 648 .Z9 L39

Legal Rights for Parents and Students, K-12 California Public Schools KFC 662 .C93


College and School Law: Analysis, Prevention, and Forms KF 4225. P73 (General Collection) [Includes FORMS in the book and on an accompanying CD]

The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child KF 4209 .3 .S57
Electronic access: From any computer (library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website at Forms are available online at

Disability-Based Bullying and Harassment in the Schools: Legal Requirements for identifying, Investigating, and Responding KF 4159 .N67 (General Collection)

The Law of Schools, Students and Teachers in a Nutshell KF 4119 .85 .A43

The Law of Homeschooling KF 4221 .S39

Nolo's IEP Guide: Learning Disabilities KF 4209 .3 .S573 
Electronic access: From any computer (library or home) via the Legal Information  Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website at: Forms are available online at

Practical Education Law for the Twenty-First Century KF 4119 .D63 (General Collection)

Say the Right Thing: A Guide to Responding to Parents' IEP Requests KF 4209 .3 .K56 (General Collection)

School Law and the Public Schools: A Practical Guide for Educational Leaders  KF 4119 .E84 (General Collection)

Searches, Seizures, and Drug-Testing Procedures: Balancing Rights and School Safety KF 4124.5 .R87 

What Do I Do When: The Answer Book on Assessing, Testing and Graduating Students with Disabilities KF 4210 .G68

What Do I Do When: The Answer Book on Discipline KF 4159 .N67 2012 

What Do I Do When: The Answer Book on Individualized Education Programs KF 4209.3 .N67 

What Do I Do When: The Answer Book on Section 504 KF 4210 .N67

What Do I Do When: The Answer Book on Special Education Law KF 4209 .3 .Z9 N67

What Do I Do When: The Answer Book on Special Education Practice & Procedure KF 4209 .3 .L35

What Do I Do When: The Answer Book on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act KF 4156 .5 .Z9 G67 (General Collection)

What Do I Do When: The Answer Book on the No Child Left Behind Act KF 4195 .W35   

What Do I Do When:  The Answer Book on Title I KF 4125 .S925

What Do I Do When: The Answer Book on Transportation for Students with Disabilities KF 4210 .P58  

Write the Right Thing: Sample Letters for Responding to Parents' Concerns KF 4195 .A65 K56 (General Collection) [Includes FORMS in the book and on an accompanying CD]


Although treatises and practice guides are written for attorneys, people representing themselves may also find these resources useful. These materials provide more detailed information than the self-help books. 


California Laws Relating to Minors KFC 1195 .Z9 K38
The author has assembled all of the relevant California code sections related to juveniles for school and community services' professionals.  

California School Law KFC 648 .K45
Examines how federal and state law affects the day-to-day operation of the state's traditional public, charter, and private schools. The book examines student attendance and truancy, curriculum law, teacher and student rights of expression—including the use of electronic communication devices and social media, religion, students with disabilities, discipline, privacy and search and seizure, race and gender discrimination, and issues of legal liability.

Discipline Dilemmas: Your Guide to Avoiding the Top IDEA and Section 504 Mistakes KF 4210 .Y8 2014
You learn about the 10 discipline issues that pose the most difficulties for schools and how you can avoid making discipline decisions that result in emotional, expensive litigation.

School Law: A California Perspective KFC 648 .S36
The author discusses relevant laws and court cases that will assist administrators in making decisions about students, personnel issues, curriculum and instruction, fiscal and legal matters, and copyright. [Includes accompanying CD-ROM]


American Jurisprudence: Proof of Facts, 3rd KF 8935 .A52 (Compact)
Index topics include Special Education, Schools & Education, and Teachers.
Electronic access:  On the Law Library's computers, using WestlawNext.

American Jurisprudence: Trials KF 8915 .A44 (Compact)
Index topics include Schools & Education, Teachers, and Children & Minors.
Electronic access:  On the Law Library's computers, using WestlawNext.

American Law Reports, Federal (ALR Fed) and ALR Fed 2d KF 132 .A47 and KF 132 .A471 (Compact)
Index topics include Curriculum; Discipline and Disciplinary Actions; Discrimination; Public Officers and Employees; Private or Parochial Schools; School Bond; School Buses; Schools and Education; Segregation; Teachers and Instructors; and Text Books.
Electronic access:  On the Law Library's computers, using WestlawNext.

Analysis of State Bullying Laws & School Policies KF 4159 .S78
Electronic access:  
This report reviews states' bullying laws, model bullying policies, and school districts' bullying policies in every state including California.

Breaking Down Barriers: A Legal Guide to Title IX  KF 4166 .B74 
Electronic access:
[Includes FORMS in the book and on an accompanying CD]
This is a guide to educate those subject to athletics discrimination on how to assert a Title IX claim. It describes how private parties can enforce Title IX, with a focus on the rights of student-athletes.

Causes of Action KF 8863 .S53 (Compact)
Index topics include Schools & Education, Truancy, and Children.
Electronic access:  On the Law Library's computers, using WestlawNext.  

The Challenges to School Policing KF 4192.5.P65 C69
This book covers the legal responsibilities and limitations of school police and the standards governing search, seizure, interrogations, and arrests in the school setting.

Educating Students with Disabilities: An Analysis of Federal Law KF 4210 .G65
The author presents an analysis of federal law that applies when educating students with disabilities, provides coverage of IDEA, Section 504 and ADA. Explains the current status of specific provisions; plus how judicial and administrative decisions interpret your districts' legal obligations. 

Education Law: First Amendment, Due Process & Discrimination
Electronic access Only:  On the Law Library's computers, using WestlawNext
This database contains the well-respected two volume treatise providing expert guidance, as well as selected statutes and sample pleadings and forms, on topics such as rights to freedom of speech and due process in the public school context and laws prohibiting public school discrimination on the basis of gender, race and disability.

The IDEA Due Process Survival Guide: A Step-by-Step Companion for Administrators and Attorneys KF 4209 .3 .I34 
Real-life experts walk you through the entire IDEA due process procedure, explaining the roles of both the administrator and the school district attorney at every step.

Legal Problems of Religious and Private Schools KF 4124 .M39
The amount of litigation continues to increase for nonpublic organizations, and problems such as security and bullying that have become commonplace in public schools are becoming issues for nonpublic organizations as well. This book is helpful to leaders in taking preventive measures to keep their schools out of court. 

Lentz School Security
Electronic access Only:  On the Law Library's computers, using WestlawNext.
This database provides up-to-date case law developments in such areas as the duty of care owed students and school employees, as well as the duty to provide adequate supervision and how that extends to students' bullying behavior.

School Law Handbook KF 4118 .P58
The author provides a comprehensive analysis of major legal issues affecting elementary and secondary students, schools and staff. Includes easy-to-understand commentary and summaries of judicial decisions, including the cases' backgrounds, outcomes and the courts' reasoning behind the decisions.

Special Education Law  KF 4210 .R68
Current information on special education statutes, regulations, and case law, including substantial changes in the interpretation of this legislation. 

Special Education Law and Litigation Treatise KF 4209 .3 .W43
Highly regarded comprehensive overview of the law related to special education.



California Forms of Pleading and Practice KFC 1010 .A65 C3 (Ready Reference)
Vol. 45 Chapter 512, Schools: Certification and Dismissal, Chapter 513, Schools: Student Rights, and Chapter 514, Schools: Injuries to Students [contains FORMS with accompanying comments and suggestions for their use.]
Electronic access:  On the Law Library's computers, using the Matthew Bender CD.

West's California Code Forms with Practice Commentaries: Education KFC 30 .W482  E38
Electronic access:  On the Law Library's computers, using WestlawNext.


American Jurisprudence Pleading and Practice Forms Annotated KF 8836 .A45 (Ready Reference)
The only major set of general pleading and practice forms, volume 5B on Colleges and Universities and volume 22, Schools contain a variety of forms relating to education law and practice.
Electronic access:  On the Law Library's computers, using WestlawNext.



(A) Statutes

Deering's California Education Code Annotated KFC 30.5 .D4 P76 (Compact)

West's Annotated California Education Code KFC 30 .W48 P76
Electronic access:  On the Law Library's computers, using WestlawNext.

The current un-annotated (just the statutes without editorial analysis by the publishers) Codes is online at on the title you are interested in, e.g. "Education Code" to display a hyper-linked table of contents.

B) Regulations

The California Board of Education promulgates most of the regulations implementing education policy, and those regulations are codified primarily in Title 5, Education; although regulations applicable to schools also appear in Title 13, Motor Vehicles, and Title 19, Public Safety.

Barclay's Code of California Regulations KFC 35 .A23 (Ready Reference)
Electronic access:  A searchable online version of the California Code of Regulations is posted by the California Office of Administrative Law at

C) Decisions

West's California Digest, 2d KFC 57 .W471 (Compact)
Summaries of and citations to decisions regarding education law can be found in Volume 37A, Schools.


A) Statutes

Most of the federal education-related statutes are codified in Title 20 (Education) of the United States Code; some are codified in Title 42 (Public Health and Welfare).

United States School Laws and Rules KF 4105 .U55
Compilation of federal statutes from the United States Code and U.S. government agency regulations from the Code of Federal Regulations.

United States Code Annotated (USCA)
Title 20, Education; Title 42, Public Health and Welfare.
Electronic access Only:  On the Law Library's computers, using WestlawNext.

United States Code Service (USCS) KF 62 .L38 T26 (Compact)
Title 20, Education; Title 42, Public Health and Welfare.

B) Regulations

The U.S. Department of Education promulgates most of the regulations implementing federal education policy, and they are codified in Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Code of Federal Regulations KF 70 .A3 (Compact)
Title 34, Education, contains the current federal education regulations in [Subtitle A – Office of the Secretary – Dept. of Education; and [Subtitle B – Regulations of the Office of the Department of Education Chapters 1-3]
Electronic access: On the Law Library's computers using HeinOnline or from the U.S. Government Printing Office. Go to the Code of Federal Regulations and scroll Down to Title 24 Education to find these sections.

C) Decisions

Autism Case Law: A Desktop Reference to Key Decisions KF 4209 .3 .A98

From Rowley to Forest Grove: Key Court Decisions Special Educators Need to Know KF 4209.3 .A53 N64

IDEA Eligibility Case Law:  A Desktop Reference to Key Decisions KF 4209.3 .I34


California Department of Education
The California Department of Education (CDE) oversees the state's diverse and dynamic public school system. In conjunction with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the agency is responsible for enforcing education law and regulations. Forms, publications, and legislative and regulatory resources are available on the department's website. 

California State Board of Education
The State Board of Education (SBE) is the governing and policy-making body of the California Department of Education. The SBE sets K-12 education policy in the areas of standards, instructional materials, assessment, and accountability; adopts textbooks for grades K-8; adopts regulations to implement legislation; and has authority to grant waivers of the Education Code.

Sacramento County Office of Education
Is one of 58 county offices of education in the State of California. SCOE provides oversight to Sacramento County school districts. Their website includes a local public school directory, and parent resources such as the booklet "Parents Rights and Responsibilities and Student Behavior Standards," and much more.

U.S. Department of Education
The federal Department of Education (DOE) establishes policies related to federal education funding, administers distribution of funds and monitors their use; collects data and oversees research on America's schools; and enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination in programs that receive federal funds.


Updated:12/14 jc