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

Posts Tagged ‘Change in placement’

District’s failure to continue to develop student’s program while parents litigated a previous IEP denied student FAPE.

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Anchorage School District v. M.P., 59 IDELR 91 (9th Cir. 2012):  A federal appeals court held that a school district denied a student with autism a free appropriate public education (FAPE) when the district failed to continue developing the student’s program while his parents litigated his previous IEP.

The court noted that a school district’s compliance with the IDEA is not conditioned on “parental cooperation or acquiescence in the [district’s] preferred course of action.”  Here, the parents challenged the student’s second grade IEP.  However, when the student moved to third grade, the district relied on the student’s second grade IEP, except for providing third grade lessons and materials.  The district court concluded that the failure to develop an updated IEP flowed from the parents’ “litigious approach.”  However, the appeals court disagreed, noting that such conclusion improperly shifted the burden of substantive compliance with the IDEA from the district to the parents.

The appeals court held that updating a student’s present levels of performance, and establishing corresponding goals and objectives does not qualify as a “change in placement” (which would violate the student’s stay-put rights), provided the academic setting in which the student is placed does not change.  Accordingly, the district had an obligation to continue developing the student’s IEP during the litigation to that extent.  Its failure to so develop the student’s IEP denied him a FAPE.

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District must provide prior written notice for any change or refusal to change the placement of a student with a disability.

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Letter to Chandler, 59 IDELR 110 (OSEP 2012):  The federal Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) informed a disability service professional that prior written notices (PWNs) must issue whenever a district recommends a change in a student’s placement, or refuses to make a change.  OSEP noted that the fact the change or refusal may have been discussed at an IEP team meeting does not eliminate a district’s obligation to provide a PWN.  The PWN must be provided to the parents to allow a reasonable period of time to consider the change, and respond before such change is implemented, if necessary.

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Parent’s objection to IEP placement does not absolve Education Department from ensuring implementation of IEP goals at student’s private school

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

B.T. v. Department of Education, State of Hawaii, 56 IDELR 218 (D. Hawaii 2011): Reversing the decision of an impartial hearing officer (IHO), the court determined that the Education Department (ED) erred in failing to allow the private school of a student with severe autism from implementing the student’s IEP goals.  ED had argued that since the parent formally objected to the proposed change in placement in the student’s IEP, it was not required to implement any aspect of the IEP.   However, the court concluded that since the parent only objected to the placement and not the IEP goals, ED should have provided the IEP to the private school for its implementation.

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