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The GAP Attorneys Blog

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

School districts responsible to offer IEPs to private school students

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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