Sharing the Short Bus: Eligibility and Identity Under the IDEA

57 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2007 Last revised: 28 Sep 2008

See all articles by Wendy Fritzen Hensel

Wendy Fritzen Hensel

Georgia State University College of Law

Date Written: 2007


This article explores the impact of the rising number of children in special education on eligibility under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. At the heart of the eligibility debate is the question of which children are disabled enough to qualify for protection and services under the statute. Although many scholars have evaluated the parameters of disability under the ADA, few have done so in the context of the IDEA. This article explores this issue and concludes that calls to restrict the protected class to the truly disabled, as defined to include only those children with the most severe impairments, represent a retrenchment of the medical model of disability and would erode the gains made in reducing the stigma of disability in American education.

Keywords: special education, disability, education, discrimination, public policy

JEL Classification: I2, I28, J71, J78, K4

Suggested Citation

Hensel, Wendy Fritzen, Sharing the Short Bus: Eligibility and Identity Under the IDEA (2007). Hastings Law Journal, Vol. 58, No. 6, 2007, Georgia State University College of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper Series No. 2008-04, Available at SSRN:

Wendy Fritzen Hensel (Contact Author)

Georgia State University College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 4037
Atlanta, GA 30302-4037
United States
404-982-6803 (Phone)

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