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The GAP Attorneys Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘Cerebral palsy’

Unavailability of proposed out-of-district placement does not excuse district’s failure to provide services.

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Penn Yan (NY) Central School District, 60 IDELR 80 (OCR 2012):  The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) determined that a school district did not comply with Section 504 when it failed to provide educational services to a student with a disability while it arranged for an out-of-district program.  The district recommended a specific program to address the student’s cerebral palsy, autism, and epilepsy, but needed to satisfy certain requirements in order for the student to be accepted in the out-of-district program.  This led the district to unilaterally amend the student’s IEP to include a licensed practical nurse (which OCR found violated the rule that decisions must be made by a group of persons knowledgeable about the student).  The district also failed to provide any services to the student while it worked to arrange for the student’s enrollment in the out-of-district placement.  OCR found such failure to provide services unacceptable, and that school districts must take reasonable steps to ensure disabled students received educational (and related) aids and services.  Accordingly, the IEP team should have convened to consider whether an alternative placement was necessary.

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Revocation of parental consent for IDEA services prevents student from receiving services under Section 504

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Lamkin v. Lone Jack C-6 School District, 58 IDELR 197 (W.D. Mo. 2012): The Court determined that when the parent of a student with cerebral palsy, seizure disorder, visual impairment, scoliosis, and osteoporosis revoked consent for the provision of services under the IDEA, the parent also in effect revoked consent for services under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  After having disagreed with the IEP team’s decision to place the student at a school for the severely disabled, the parent revoked consent for the provision of IDEA services, but requested accommodations under Section 504.  The school district did not violate Section 504 or the ADA when it rejected this request.

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Despite its large cost, the use of screen readers for students with disabilities during state assessments is a reasonable accommodation

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Seminole County (FL) School District, 58 IDELR 113 (OCR 2011): The United States Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) determined that the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it denied a student diagnosed with cerebral palsy (and other students similarly situated) the use of a screen reader as an accommodation for a state assessment.  Alternative accommodations offered by FDOE did not meet the student’s unique needs.  OCR did not accept FDOE’s argument that the initial cost of purchasing the screen readers ($250,000), plus the cost to modify the new version of the exam each year, made the accommodation cost prohibitive.

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School district violated child-find obligation by failing to evaluate student in all areas of his suspected disability

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

School Board of the City of Norfolk v. Brown, 56 IDELR 18 (E.D. Va. 2010): Although a school district had previously evaluated and classified a student with cerebral palsy and seizure disorder as a student with a disability under the category of “other health impairment,” the court affirmed the decision of an impartial hearing officer who had concluded that the school district had violated its child-find obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by failing to evaluate the student in all areas of his suspected disability.  The school district should have also provided the student with a functional behavioral analysis (FBA) and behavior intervention plan (BIP) due to the evidence of the student’s history of engaging in behaviors that impeded the student’s learning or that of others.

The court also affirmed the hearing officer’s conclusion that the school district violated the IDEA by conducting a procedurally flawed Manifestation Determination Review (MDR) following a behavioral incident that led to a suspension.  In particular, the MDR team failed to consider a psychiatric report that was generated as a direct consequence of the behavioral incident and the MDR team failed to afford the parents an adequate opportunity to participate at the meeting.

Moreover, the court agreed with the hearing officer that the school district procedurally violated the IDEA when it placed the student in an alternative setting during the student’s suspension.  The decision to place the student in the alternative setting was made by the school board, but should have been made by student’s IEP team.  Moreover, the placement substantively violated the IDEA because it was not the least restrictive environment (LRE) in which the student could receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

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