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The GAP Attorneys Blog

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

Student’s academic and behavioral issues were a result of drug abuse, not a disability

P.C. v. Oceanside Union Free School District, 56 IDELR 252 (E.D.N.Y. 2011): Affirming decisions of an impartial hearing officer (IHO) and the state review officer (SRO), the court determined that the student did not qualify as a student with an emotional disturbance under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and, therefore, his parents were not entitled to reimbursement for their unilateral private school placement.  The court concluded that the student’s poor academic performance and problem behaviors coincided with his illegal drug use and did not stem from a disability.  The evidence demonstrated that the student had an academic ability in the high average range and that during a time period in which he abstained from drug use, he showed pronounced improvement in his academic performance.  In any event, even if the student were disabled, the private school program was designed to resolve the student’s substance abuse issues and was not designed to treat any type of disability, and would not have been considered appropriate for purposes of reimbursement under the IDEA.

NOTE: Another federal district court in New York arrived at a similar conclusion in a similar case (on almost the same date).  See W.G. v. New York City Department of Education.

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This entry was posted on Friday, September 16th, 2011 at 7:38 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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