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Posts Tagged ‘Appropriateness’

Private Placement where student progressed was appropriate despite lack of physical therapy services

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

M.F. v. N.Y.C. Bd. of Educ, d.b.a. N.Y.C. Dep’t of Educ., 61 IDELR 100 (S.D.N.Y. 2013)—the parents of a student with PDD-NOS sought reimbursement for a private school placement. Although the student had been placed by the district in a private school from Kindergarten through fourth grade, the district recommended a public school placement for the upcoming school year. Although the private school, where the student had progressed, lacked physical therapy services, the court determined that a private placement need not offer every service listed in the IEP, in order to be appropriate. The private school offered, and the student received, additional services that significantly overlapped those listed on the IEP. Also, the curriculum was specifically designed for children with similar needs and met the student’s social and emotional needs. Thus, the court granted summary judgment to the parents and ordered full reimbursement for the unilateral private school placement.

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District Court remanded case for more fact finding to determine whether the proposed placement was appropriate, which may entail looking outside four corners of the IEP

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

J.F. and L.V. v. N.Y.C. Dep’t of Educ., 61 IDELR 78 (S.D.N.Y. 2013)—In this case, the parent of a child with speech-language impairment challenged the composition of the placement classroom, which under New York State regulations must meet specific criteria requiring peers with similar needs. Here, the school district asked the court to reconsider its decision to remand the case to the IHO for further fact finding. The District argued that remand would be futile in light of a Second Circuit Court case limiting the use of retrospective testimony in challenges to IEPs. The court declined to adopt the District’s reading of the Second Circuit’s decision for multiple reasons. First, the court looked at the purpose of limiting retrospective evaluation of the IEP and found that here, there was no risk that allowing plaintiffs to challenge the proposed placement classroom would allow them to “game the system” since these issues were previously raised in the due process complaint. Also, because the IEP does not usually include detailed information about the placement classroom, if the parents wanted to challenge one of the details about the classroom not listed in the IEP (but mandated in state regulations), then they must be allowed to look beyond the four corners of the IEP. Therefore, the parents were allowed to present further facts, not known at the time the IEP was developed, regarding the appropriateness of the proposed placement.

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Where parents unilaterally placed student in a private religious school, (inappropriate to address the child’s needs), District still obligated to develop a student’s annual IEP (but not to reimburse tuition)

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Doe by Doe v. East Lyme Bd. Of Educ., 59 IDELR 249 (D. Conn. 2012)—A U.S. District court reversed the lower court’s Recommended Ruling and held that school district denied FAPE to a student with autism when it failed to develop an IEP for the 2010-2011 school year. Although the parent had previously declined the proposed IEP for the previous year, that did not extinguish the district’s obligation to review the student’s IEP at least annually. The parent had unilaterally placed the student in a private religious school, which the court held was inappropriate to meet the student’s educational needs because it provided no special education services nor did it implement the IEP as the teachers were not certified in special education. The court deferred to the hearing officer’s determination regarding inappropriateness of the private placement and determined that the parent’s were not entitled to tuition reimbursement.

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