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Posts Tagged ‘IDEA’

After Parent withdrew consent to provide special education and related services under IDEA, the District satisfied its 504 FAPE obligations by convening a meeting to develop a 504 plan

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Kimble ex rel. B.K. v. Douglas Cty. Sch. Dist. RE-1, 60 IDELR 221 (D. Colo. 2013)—in this case, the student had been receiving special education and related services pursuant to an IEP. In response to receiving the proposed IEP for the next school year, the parents formally revoked their consent to the District providing special education and related services to their child. The Director of Special Education informed the parents (erroneously) that by withdrawing consent for services under IDEA, the parents effectively withdrew consent for those services under a 504 plan. Nevertheless, the District convened a 504 meeting at the parents’ request and offered a 504 plan “to implement the services as identified” in the previously rejected IEP. The parent who rejected the Section 504 plan but continued to seek accommodations under Section 504 filed a due process complaint, alleging discrimination under Section 504 and Title II of the ADA. The court held that revocation of parental consent to provide IDEA services does not eliminate the District’s obligations under Section 504 and the ADA. However, here the District convened a 504 meeting and proposed a 504 plan. Thus, the parents cannot hold the District liable for discrimination by not providing accommodations that they rejected under the 504 plan.

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Temporary or interim program for a transfer student should include temporary goals and objectives comparable to previous IEP.

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Letter to Finch, 56 IDELR 174 (OSEP 2010):  The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), informed a school district representative that the interpretation of the Texas state education department (“TEA”) is consistent with federal IDEA regulations.  TEA indicated that, when a student with an IEP transfers from one school district to another, the temporary or interim program provided by the new school district must include comparable services to the student’s IEP from his or her previous school district.  TEA found that such comparable services should include temporary goals and objectives consistent with the goals and objectives of the previous school district.  OSEP determined such a finding to be consistent with the IDEA.

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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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School personnel violated a student’s right to privacy by using a redacted psychiatric evaluation as a teaching tool for a literature class.

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

S.S. v. Mount Olive Board of Education, 56 IDELR 99 (D.N.J. 2011):  A U.S. District Court ruled for parents of a student with diabetes and anxiety as a result of the use of a redacted version of the student’s psychiatric evaluation by a school social worker and special education teacher as a teaching tool for a high school literature class.  The Court withheld a determination as to what harm, if any, the student suffered as a result of the unauthorized disclosure of his psychiatric evaluation.

A high school special education teacher wished to provide a sample psychiatric evaluation to his literature class as an instructional tool in relation to J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye.”  The teacher requested a sample from the school’s social worker, who provided a psychiatric evaluation of the student, and attempted to redact personally identifiable information.  However, the students in the class were still able to identify the student due to the substantive information in the evaluation.

The parents sued, and the Court dismissed their claims under FERPA, HIPAA, IDEA and state student records laws.  Additionally, the Court dismissed the claims against the school district itself, and against various school personnel not specifically associated with the unauthorized disclosure of the student’s psychiatric evaluation.  However, the Court ruled in favor of the parents against the teacher and social worker under Section 1983, due to their violation of the student’s constitutional right to privacy.  The Court stated “no reasonable juror could find that” the teacher and social worker “did not breach a duty of care owed to” the student.

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Student’s progress of one grade level over the course of an academic year was sufficient educational benefit, although she remained well below grade level overall.

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

High v. Exeter Township School District, 54 IDELR 17 (E.D. Pa. 2010):  A U.S. District Court determined a program developed by a high school provided a FAPE to a student with significant reading delays.  The school district’s program helped the student to move from a fifth grade reading level to a sixth grade reading level during her eleventh grade academic year.  The Court said that her parents “could not have reasonably expected the District to close a six-year gap in her reading ability in one year.”  Since “the parents of a child without a learning disability could expect no more” than one year’s worth of progress, the student’s progress demonstrated that her IEP provided a meaningful educational benefit.

Although the parents admitted that the student’s progress was more than trivial, they argued that the IEP was still deficient because the school district did not develop a sufficient transition plan, and did not provide an extended school year or assistive technology.  Namely, the parents argued that since the student wanted to attend college, she would not have the skills necessary to achieve that transition goal.  However, the Court rejected that argument, and determined that the student had been provided with a sufficient transition plan.  The Court focused on the significant support the school provided the student (including multiple meetings with a transition counselor, assistance with applying for the PSAT and SAT tests (including seeking accommodations for both), and arranging for job shadowing opportunities).  The Court further determined that, the student did not demonstrate a need for assistive technology, and, in light of the student’s progress, an extended school year was not necessary.  Therefore, the Court found that the school district provided the student a FAPE.

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College program may be appropriate stay-put placement when student challenges a school district’s decision to graduate him.

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Tindell v. Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation, 54 IDELR 7 (S.D. Ind. 2010):  A U.S. District Court determined a student’s pendency placement to be a college internship program, when the program in which he was currently enrolled was on the verge of closing. Since the district did not offer any alternative placement for pendency, the Court decided that the student (who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, but was originally classified with a learning disability of written expression) should attend the college program located by his parents at district expense.

The Court rejected the school district’s argument that since the student had graduated, he was no longer entitled to special education services and, therefore, the district need not pay for any pendency placement (let alone a college program).  The Court explained that the school district could not rely on the student’s graduation to discontinue services since the parents were challenging the validity of that graduation.  When it is impossible to replicate a student’s current educational placement (such as when a school is closing), it is the school district’s responsibility to locate educational services which approximate the current program as close as possible.  Here, the school district did not locate any such placement, and the Court accepted the parents’ chosen placement.

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Individual Family Services Plan (“IFSP”) Team should make an individualized determination relating to respite services.

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Letter to Hutton, 53 IDELR 334 (OSEP 2009):  The New York State Department of Health (“DOH”) sought clarification from the U.S. Dept. of Education Office of Special Education Programs (“OSEP”) that its policy regarding respite services is consistent with the Early Intervention Services (EIS) required by Part C of the IDEA.

OSEP found that the DOH’s policy is consistent with Part C because (1) it “requires consideration of a variety of factors that highlight specific circumstances when respite may be needed;” (2) “the determination of whether respite is identified on the child’s IFSP is made on an individualized basis and is made by the eligible child’s IFSP team;” and (3) under its policy, respite does not serve as routine child-care, but is limited to when respite may enhance, in child and family specific circumstances, the capacity of the family to meet the developmental needs of their infant or toddler with a disability.

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Bus suspension is to be treated the same as an instructional suspension; a student’s transportation needs are to be determined by the IEP team.

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Questions and Answers on Serving Children with Disabilities Eligible for Transportation, 53 IDELR 268 (OSERS 2009): The U.S. Dept. of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (“OSERS”) issued one of a series of question and answer documents to address issues raised by requests for clarification.  The issue addresses questions relating to transportation.

Transportation is a related service under federal special education regulations and the student’s IEP team is responsible for determining if transportation is necessary for a student with a disability to benefit from special education and related services.  OSERS also explained that the IDEA does not require school districts to transport children in isolation from their peers (such as in separate vehicles).  Instead, districts should “explore options for integrating children with disabilities with nondisabled students.”  Transportation providers, such as bus drivers, should also be informed about the students’ needs, while also being made familiar with protecting the confidentiality of student information.

In addition, OSERS noted that if transportation is included in the student’s IEP, a suspension from the bus is to be treated the same as if the student were suspended from instruction.  If the school district transports the student through an IEP, a suspension may constitute a change in placement, especially if the district does not provide any alternative transportation.

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Compensatory education may be awarded prospectively to students under the age of 21.

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Petrina W. v. City of Chicago Public School District, 53 IDELR 259 (N.D. Ill. 2009):  A federal district court ruled that an impartial hearing officer had the ability to award compensatory education to a 19-year-old student with a learning disability.  The court held that the hearing officer incorrectly ruled that “any claim the student may have for compensatory education is not ripe until she turns 22.”  Instead, “compensatory education can be appropriately sought and granted prospectively—that is, before the student has reached the age of 21.”

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Student’s parents not entitled to reimbursement for private placement where private placement was designed to address student’s drug abuse and behavior issues rather than his educational disabilities.

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Forest Grove School District v. T.A., 53 IDELR 213 (D. Or. 2009):  A federal district court determined, after balancing the equities, that parents were not entitled to reimbursement for their son’s unilateral private placement.

The student, diagnosed with ADHD and depression, was placed in a private school due to his difficulties in public school.  The parents thereafter requested a hearing seeking reimbursement.  The hearing officer determined that the student was sent to the private placement “for reasons unrelated to his disabilities (i.e., substance abuse and behavioral problems)” as well his educational difficulties.  The parents placed the student in his private school on March 24, 2003, but the court determined that the parents could not have disagreed with the school district’s decision until a final decision was made (in this case, not until August 26, 2003, when the school district ultimately determined that the student was not eligible for services under IDEA or Section 504).

The court weighed several factors, but ultimately decided that, in large part because of the fact that the parents placed the student because of his drug abuse and behavioral problems (and “not because of any disability recognized by the IDEA”), reimbursement should be denied.  The court noted that “the [school district’s] responsibility under IDEA is to remedy the learning related symptoms of a disability, not to treat the underlying disability, or to treat other, non-learning related symptoms.”

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