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Navigating Education Laws & Policies for Military Families with Special Needs

Navigating Education Laws  & Policies for Military Families with Special Needs

About this Webinar

There are over 1.3 active duty military families serving our country right now.  While many Americans imagine these families work, live and attend school on a military installation, it’s largely not true.  Our 1.5 million military children live and attend school in local communities. Over 140,000 of those families have one or more family members and children with a special need – physical, mental, emotional, medical or educational.  Any family with a child or adult with a special need knows that challenges are normal, but these challenges become magnified especially when a child with a special need is asked to move 6-9 times over a parent’s career.  This presentation will answer those core legal questions that parents face when interacting with a school system and highlight some of the difference in the rules from state to state.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Review requirements for getting children tested for special education or related services.
  2. Identify legal rights when moving states or schools with a child with special educational needs.
  3. Identify the difference between an IEP and a 504 plan.
  4. Address discipline in school for children with special needs.


Colonel Elizabeth Schuchs-Gopaul
Attorney, Retired
United States Air Force

Elizabeth Schuchs-Gopaul is a retired Air Force officer and mother of two children with special needs.  She earned her law degree at the University of Georgia School of Law before embarking on a 22 years career as a Judge Advocate in the United States Air Force.  She is a four-time Staff Judge Advocate, four-time MAJCOM Senior Attorney of the Year, and has been honored with the ABA Keithe E. Nelson award, the Judge Advocate Association Outstanding Career Armed Services Attorney award, and with a special recognition award as part of the Commander-in-Chief Installation Excellence Award.

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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