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School district’s classification of student after consideration of IEE suggests that student was harmed by delay in provision of IEE.

Taylor v. District of Columbia, 56 IDELR 128 (D.D.C. 2011):  A U.S. District Court found that a school district’s delay in providing a student with an independent educational evaluation (IEE) may have denied the student a FAPE.

The school district conducted a psychological evaluation of the student, and its evaluator determined that the student did not qualify for special education services. The IEP team, however, determined that it required additional information before reaching a conclusion.  Subsequent to the IEP team meeting (in early June 2008), the parent requested an IEE.  The school district did not respond, and the parent filed a due process complaint.

In response to the hearing request, and more than four months after the parent requested the IEE, the school district authorized the IEE.  When the IEE was complete (in December of 2008), the corresponding IEP team that determined the student had an emotional disturbance and ADHD, and required a full time therapeutic setting.  Since the hearing officer was not privy to the determination of the IEP team, the Court remanded the case back to the hearing officer for a determination as to whether or not the delay in the IEE denied a FAPE.  The parent requested a finding that a failure to timely respond to an IEE request be held as a “per se” denial of FAPE, but the Court declined to so hold.

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