Goldstein, Ackerhalt & Pletcher
70 Niagara Street, Suite 200 Buffalo , New York, 14202
Phone: 716-362-1533
Fax: 716-362-1534

The GAP Attorneys Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘emotional disability’

District must conduct medical evaluation if necessary to evaluate all areas of suspected disability.

Monday, September 24th, 2012

M.J.C. v. Special School District No. 1, 58 IDELR 288 (D. Minn. 2012):  A federal district court held that a school district violated the IDEA’s child-find mandate by requiring a parent to obtain a private diagnosis of ADHD before the district would classify the student as other health impaired.

Due to miscommunication, the parent resisted attempts to classify the student with an emotional or behavioral disorder.  Despite such resistance, the parent routinely provided consent for the district to complete evaluations.  However, it was not until the parent finally obtained a medical diagnosis of ADHD that the district classified the student as one with a disability.  The Court deemed the district’s failure to conduct any medical evaluation necessary to determine the student’s possible ADHD violated its child find obligation.  As a result of the district’s failure to complete the necessary assessments, the student’s behavioral issues increased.  Accordingly, by the time the student was classified, he required a greater intensity of services than may have been necessary had the district completed its evaluation.  Therefore, the district denied the student a free appropriate public education.

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on District must conduct medical evaluation if necessary to evaluate all areas of suspected disability.

Unenrollment from school district of residence does not eliminate its obligation to provide a charter school student with an IEP.

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

I.H. v. Cumberland Valley School District, 58 IDELR 94 (M.D. Pa. 2012):  A U.S. District Court held that the IDEA requires a school district to provide a resident student with an IEP even though the student was currently enrolled in a charter school.  The Court distinguished between developing an IEP, or essentially an offer of FAPE, and implementing the IEP, or providing FAPE.

The student, who was identified as having an emotional disability, attended a public cyber charter school due to the emotional difficulties he encountered while attending his local school district.  However, the student’s guardian was considering re-enrolling the student in his public school district of residence.  She requested the school district evaluate the student and develop an IEP in order to adequately weigh her options.  The district failed to develop an IEP, and an impartial hearing officer (IHO) found that the district was not obligated to offer an IEP to a student not enrolled.

The Court overturned the IHO, noting that, while the charter school must provide the student with FAPE, the school district is required to evaluate a proposed student and develop an IEP to designed to offer FAPE.  Here, the guardian requested an IEP to consider the student’s re-enrollment.  Therefore, the school district was required to conduct the evaluation and develop an IEP.  The student’s enrollment in the charter school only affected whether the district was obligated to provide the services identified in the IEP, not whether it was obligated to develop an IEP in the first instance.

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Unenrollment from school district of residence does not eliminate its obligation to provide a charter school student with an IEP.

Student needs more restrictive placement due to his behavioral issues, despite his high academic functioning.

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

J.P. v. New York City Department of Education, 58 IDELR 96 (E.D.N.Y. 2012):  A U.S. District Court affirmed the New York State Review Officer’s (SRO) determination that the school district offered a free appropriate public education to a student with an emotional disability.  Notwithstanding the student’s high level of academic functioning, he required a more restrictive placement.  Specifically, the student exhibited several behaviors that interfered with his ability to learn and disrupted the learning environment for his classmates.

The SRO overturned a ruling by an impartial hearing officer (IHO) awarding the parents reimbursement for their unilateral placement.  The parents placed the student in a private program which allowed the student to progress in a general education setting.  However, based on the information available at the CSE meeting, the CSE recommended a 12:1:1 classroom in order to address his disruptive behaviors.  No one at the CSE meeting, including the student’s mother, requested a general education setting.  The Court gave little weight to the progress the student made in his private program, since that information was not available to the CSE.  Accordingly, the Court agreed with the SRO’s determination that, based on the information the CSE did have, its recommendation was appropriate.

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Student needs more restrictive placement due to his behavioral issues, despite his high academic functioning.

Tuition reimbursement reduced by 75% where parents failed to make student available for intake interview, precluding placement.

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

J.G. v. Scarsdale Union Free School District, 58 IDELR 16 (S.D.N.Y. 2011):  A U.S. District Court awarded parents of a student with an emotional disability tuition reimbursement for their unilateral placement of their daughter.  However, in light of the parents’ failure to make the student available for an intake interview, the Court reduced the award by 75%.

The student was very successful early in high school, but developed emotional issues , including suicide ideation, that ultimately had an adverse effect on her academic performance and school attendance.  In light of her emotional difficulties, the parents placed her in private programs in Vermont and, ultimately, in Montana.  Despite the unilateral placement, the parents continued to work with the school district to develop an IEP and find an appropriate program.  However, each of the potential programs at which the student would be placed required an intake interview with the student.  The parents decided not to bring the student home for such an interview, based on advice from their mental health professionals that such a visit could have negative effects on the student’s emotional state.  Accordingly, since the student was never available for an intake interview, none of the potential public placements accepted her.

In light of the district’s failure to provide a FAPE, and the appropriateness of the private program selected by the parents, the Court determined that the parents were entitled to reimbursement.  However, despite the parents’ willingness to visit potential public placements, their failure to make the student available for an intake precluded the district from recommending an appropriate program.  Therefore, reimbursement was awarded, but reduced by 75%.

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tuition reimbursement reduced by 75% where parents failed to make student available for intake interview, precluding placement.

Student’s refusal of IEP accommodations triggered school district’s duty to reevaluate student

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Rockbridge County (VA) School Division, 57 IDELR 144 (OCR 2011): The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) determined that a school district did not discriminate against a student with an emotional disability by not implementing the student’s IEP when the student began refusing his IEP accommodations.  Nevertheless, OCR stated that the school district should have reevaluated the student and reconvened an IEP meeting to determine how this refusal impacted the student’s educational goals.  As an adult, the student had a right to refuse IEP services.  However, since the student’s parent was still a participant in the student’s IEP Team meetings, the parent should have been provided with an opportunity to discuss, and to have the IEP Team address, the student’s refusal of his accommodations.

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Student’s refusal of IEP accommodations triggered school district’s duty to reevaluate student

Parents need not provide prior notice to be reimbursed for privately obtained related services.

Monday, September 26th, 2011

A.G. v. District of Columbia, 57 IDELR 9 (D.D.C. 2011):  A U.S. District Court determined that the federal IDEA regulations do not require parents, who are privately paying for related services, to provide notice to the school district of their intention to seek reimbursement for services that the school district should have provided under the auspices of an IEP.

The student, who was classified as having an emotional disability, was discharged from a therapeutic school and, as part of that discharge, the school recommended various counseling services.  The school district failed to convene an IEP team meeting for nearly a year following the student’s discharge, and the parents privately paid for the recommended services during that time.  The parents filed a due process complaint, seeking reimbursement for such services.

The impartial hearing officer held (and the Court affirmed) that although the IDEA regulations require parents to provide at least ten days’ written notice of their intention to seek reimbursement for a private placement, no regulation requires a similar notice when parents seek reimbursement for related services they obtain to supplement what the school district should have provided all along.

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Parents need not provide prior notice to be reimbursed for privately obtained related services.

School district must reimburse parents for educationally necessary out-of-state residential placement.

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Jefferson County School District R-1 v. Elizabeth E., 57 IDELR 13 (D. Colo. 2011):  A U.S. District Court held that the parents of a student with emotional difficulties were entitled to reimbursement for the student’s placement at a private, therapeutic program out-of-state.

The student, who was diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, reactive attachment disorder, and bipolar disorder, had previously attended a private school for students with behavioral problems.  However, her emotional disabilities required a prolonged hospitalization, after which her parents placed her at a therapeutic program incorporating both academics and psychotherapy.

While the student was hospitalized, her home school district disenrolled her from her previous program and ultimately took the position that it had no obligation to provide special education services, nor any obligation to even evaluate her need for such services, while she was out-of-state.  The hearing officer, administrative law judge, and District Court all agreed that the school district did, in fact, retain the obligation to evaluate the student and provide special education services, and its failure to do so denied the student a FAPE.  Additionally, the psychotherapy component of the student’s private placement was necessary in order for her to make academic progress.  All told, the student’s residential placement was appropriate and her parents were entitled to reimbursement, except for those services provided by a licensed physician (which thereby do not qualify as related services).

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on School district must reimburse parents for educationally necessary out-of-state residential placement.

Parent’s presentation of issues relating to student’s behavior in prior hearing precludes her from relitigating related issues in second hearing.

Monday, April 25th, 2011

T.G. v. Baldwin Park Unified School District, 55 IDELR 2 (C.D. Cal. 2010):  Under doctrine of collateral estoppel, a parent cannot litigate an issue in a second hearing which could have been raised in a prior hearing, by raising a different, but related issue in the second hearing.

A U.S. District Court upheld an administrative law judge’s dismissal of a second due process complaint by a parent seeking to have her son classified as having an emotional disability.  The student was diagnosed with autism and mental retardation, and the parent had unsuccessfully litigated a first hearing which included and addressed numerous behavioral issues, including the student’s aggressive behaviors, but did not specifically address the possibility of the student being classified with an emotional disability.

The parent filed a second due process complaint, this time attempting to address the student’s classification and have it changed to emotional disability.  Since the prospect of changing the student’s classification related to his behavioral issues, which were addressed in the previous hearing, the parent was precluded from raising essentially the same issue in a second hearing and her complaint was dismissed.

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Parent’s presentation of issues relating to student’s behavior in prior hearing precludes her from relitigating related issues in second hearing.

Student’s overall ability and progress, not just the student’s performance on standardized testing, are taken into account when determining the appropriateness of an IEP.

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Jaccari J. v. Board of Education of the City of Chicago, District No. 299, 54 IDELR 53 (N.D. Ill. 2010):  A U.S. District Court rejected a parent’s argument that standardized test scores for her son, who was diagnosed with a learning disability, speech impairment, emotional disability, central auditory processing disorder, and a mild cognitive impairment, demonstrate his lack of progress under his IEP.  Noting that “other indicators suggest that [the student] is making progress,” the Court stated that his “failure to increase his standardized test scores is not dispositive in determining whether he made progress.”

The parent emphasized that the student’s performance in several specific areas failed to improve on several standardized tests over the course of two years.  However, the Court gave weight to other evaluations indicating that the student’s cognitive ability was low.  Therefore, his scores on standardized tests were not reliable enough, in and of themselves, to show his program did not provide an educational benefit.  Instead, the Court gave weight to other evidence indicating the student met his language arts benchmark, nearly met his math goal, and made significant progress behaviorally.  These demonstrated progress, meaning the school district offered a FAPE.

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Student’s overall ability and progress, not just the student’s performance on standardized testing, are taken into account when determining the appropriateness of an IEP.

Entries (RSS) | Comments (RSS).