• In 1972, the United States District Court declared students with disabilities have the inalienable civil right to an equal public education.


    Seven students successfully sued the District of Columbia School Board in the case of Mills v. Board of Education for the right of all "exceptional students" to receive a publicly funded education.


    Before this trial, public schools were not required to educate students with disabilities. Such students were labeled as "exceptional" and expelled from school without due process of law.

    "Exceptional Students"

    The term "exceptional student" was used to broadly categorize children that were, among other things, hyperactive, mentally retarded, emotionally disturbed, suffering from learning disabilities, behavioral problems or physical disabilities.


    As a result of the trial, the District of Columbia's Board of Education immediately hired special education teachers to accommodate the court's ruling and set forth to establish a plan for the education and treatment of children ages 3 to 21.


    The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was created in 1975 to guarantee a free public education for all students with disabilities. IDEA is the foundation from which all public schools now design their intervention and education programs for disabled students of all ages.


    U.S. Department of Education

    The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities

    Kids Together

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