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The GAP Attorneys Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘hearing officer authority’

IDEA due process hearing officers can review whether student actions violate school codes of conduct

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Letter to Ramirez, 60 IDELR 230 (OSEP 2013):  A federal Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), in a letter to an attorney representing parents, indicated that there may be instances where a due process hearing officer may address whether or not the actions of a student violate the school’s code of conduct.  OSEP noted that, should a hearing officer review such an issue, the federal IDEA regulations neither prohibit (nor require) the hearing officer from exercising such discretion.

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Hearing officer may not delegate authority to fashion compensatory education award by creating a “Consultant Team” which has the ability to supersede the IEP team.

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

M.P. v. Board of Education of the Portales Municipal Schools, 56 IDELR 167 (D.N.M. 2011):  A U.S. District Court found that a hearing officer’s attempt to create a “Consultant Team” to develop a program for an autistic student was not an appropriate remedy under the IDEA.

The Court said that, despite broad discretion in providing equitable relief, a hearing officer likely exceeded her authority by creating a Consultant Team, which included school district representatives as well as the parent of a child with autism and autism experts from a local university.  The purpose of the Consultant Team was to fashion a program that could supersede the school district’s IEP team.  Such relief is not warranted by the IDEA, and the hearing officer should have determined the relief to which the student was entitled as per the IDEA.  As a result, the school district was entitled to an injunction preventing that portion of the hearing officer’s decision from taking effect.

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