A policy analysis of the legal aspects of teaching the handicapped child in physical education


Educational law and legislation, Physical education for children with disabilities, Physical education for people with mental disabilities


Within the last decade, handicapped students were routinely excluded from public schools (Cintron, 1983). Federal and state law now guarantee these children a free, appropriate public education. It is the task of school administrators to develop programs and policy to insure the rights of handicapped children. The goal of this research is to present a legal perspective for the teaching of handicapped children in physical education and offer specific recommendations for the successful implementation of educational programs for the handicapped. A policy analysis was performed with regards to the legal aspects of teaching the handicapped child in physical education with emphasis on due process as it applies to PL 94-142, a free and appropriate education under PL 94-142 placement in the least restrictive environment, and individual educational plan as it applied to physical education. The three major sources of American law (case law, statutory law, and administrative adjudication and decision) provided the base of data for this policy analysis. Significant case law was reviewed and analyzed with emphasis on recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Statutes presented include Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Public Law 94-142 and the reauthorization of Public Law 94-142. Administrative adjudications and decisions which have been handed down by various federal and state agencies were also presented. In order for school administrators to successfully implement the intent and spirit of the education of the handicapped regulations, the following guidelines have been recommended: 1. physical education services should be provided for handicapped students commensurate to those provided for non-handicapped students, 2. the needs of each handicapped child relating to physical education should be evaluated individually, 3. shcool administrators should insure that district and building policy interface with the procedural safeguards inherent in PL 94-142. 4, the extent of physical education services offered under PL 94-142 should be delineated in the individual educational progarm for each handicapped student.


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Graduation Date





Harrow, Thomas L.


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education


Administration and Supervision





Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)



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