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The GAP Attorneys Blog

Meeting the needs of people with disabilities, their families, educators & service providers

Archive for July, 2014

School districts responsible to offer IEPs to private school students

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

District of Columbia v. Vinyard, 62 IDELR 13 (D.D.C. 2013): A U.S. District Court held that a school district must develop and offer an IEP to its resident students who are placed in private schools by their parents.  The school district initially offered the student, who was diagnosed with a cognitive disorder and borderline intellectual functioning, an IEP (which, in the Court’s view, offered the student an appropriate education), but refused to develop an IEP for the subsequent school year when the student’s parents notified the school they intended to maintain the student in his private placement.  The Court held that the school district denied the student an appropriate education, as the district is obligated to develop and offer an IEP to each of its resident students with disabilities.  Here, the district conditioned its offer of an IEP on the student’s re-enrollment in the public school system.  However, the Court found such a condition improper.  In the Court’s view, the school district must develop an IEP.  If, after offering an appropriate IEP, the parents reject the public schools in favor a private placement, at that point the school district is no longer obligated to provide services.  Accordingly, here, the school district failed to offer an appropriate program and was therefore ordered to reimburse the parents’ for the private placement.

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Parent consent not necessary to disclose records to potential private placements

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Letter to Anonymous, 113 LRP 35724 (FPCO 2013): The federal Department of Education’s Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) advised an attorney that school districts have the ability and authority to disclose a student’s educational records to a potential out-of-district placement as part of the school district’s attempt to secure an appropriate program under the IDEA.  In that circumstance, parental consent is not required before the school district can disclose personally identifiable information.

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Notice of private evaluation and frequent absences requires school district to evaluate

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Broward County (FL) School District, 61 IDELR 265 (OCR 2013): The federal Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) determined that a school district should have suspected a student as having a disability where the student was excessively absent and his teacher contributed to a private evaluation obtained by the student’s parent.  Since the teacher contributed to the parent’s private psychiatric evaluation of the student, and the student’s frequent absences related to his disability, the school had a duty to initiate its own evaluation to determine the student’s need for special education and related services.

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Teacher observations, progress reports enough data to develop IEP

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

D.B. v. New York City Department of Education, 61 IDELR 245 (S.D.N.Y. 2013): A federal U.S. District Court excused a school district’s failure to conduct a triennial re-evaluation, as such failure ultimately did not deny the student a free appropriate public education (FAPE).  Although the school district did not conduct any updated testing, the IEP team had various progress reports evaluating the student’s ability levels, as well the feedback from the student’s teachers and other service providers.  There was no indication at the IEP team meeting that anyone, including the student’s parents, believed the information available to the IEP team was insufficient or otherwise inadequate.  Accordingly, as the resulting IEP was suitably designed to provide the student with FAPE, any procedural violation committed by the school district was excused.

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