Special Education Case Law Update — Week of May 24, 2010

Posted on June 2, 2010

R.H. v. Plano Indep. Sch. Dist., 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 10842 (5th Cir. Tex. May 27, 2010)

Court:  Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (Texas)

Nature of Case:  Tuition reimbursement for unilateral private school placement by parents of three-year old boy with autism.

Nature of Disability:  Autism

Issue:  Whether the school district’s IEP was appropriate under the four factors identified in Michael F.: (1) Is the program individualized on the basis of the student’s assessment and performance; (2) is the program administered in the least restrictive environment; (3) are the services provided in a coordinated and collaborative manner by the key “stakeholders”; and (4) are positive academic and non-academic benefits demonstrated?

Holding:  In favor of the school district. The school district’s IEP was reasonably calculated to provide the student an appropriate education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE).

Doe v. Hampden-Wilbraham Reg’l Sch. Dist., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51383 (D. Mass. May 25, 2010)

Court:  U.S. Dist Court for the Dist. of Massachusetts

Nature of Case:  Tuition reimbursement for unilateral private school placement by parents of twelve-year old boy with autism.

Nature of Disability:  Autism

Issue:  Whether the school district violated the procedural requirements of the IDEA by: (1) failing to give the parents adequate notice of meetings to develop the 2007-08 IEP; and (2) failing to have an IEP in place before the start of the 2007-08 school year. The parents also challenged the appropriateness of the IEP and the implementation of the IEP.

Holding:  In favor of the school district. The school district’s IEP was reasonably calculated to provide the student an appropriate education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE).

K.E. v. Indep. Sch. Dist. No. 15, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51004 (D. Minn. May 24, 2010)

Court:  U.S. Dist Court for the Dist. of Minnesota

Nature of Case:  Parent requested a shortened school day, transportation, and an appropriate therapeutic education (day treatment).

Nature of Disability:  Bipolar Disorder

Issue:  Whether the school district failed to comply with certain procedural requirements of the IDEA and whether the District’s failure to conduct appropriate evaluations, include the results of the evaluations that it did conduct in the student’s IEPs, and develop and revise appropriate IEPs and an appropriate BIP for the student denied her a FAPE.

Holding:  In favor of the school district. The school district’s IEP was reasonably calculated to provide the student an appropriate education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE).

K.B. v. Haledon Bd. of Educ., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51337 (D.N.J. May 24, 2010)

Court:  U.S. Dist. Court for the Dist. of New Jersey

Nature of Case: Request for Independent Educational Evaluations

Nature of Disability:  Unspecified

Issue:  Whether parents were given a full and fair hearing, whether student was entitled to an indpendent educational evaluation, and the tolling of the statute of limitations.

Holding:  Student entitled to certain independent educational evaluations.

Tracy N. v. Dep’t of Educ., Hawaii, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50836 (D. Haw. May 21, 2010)

Court: U.S. Dist. Court for the Dist. of Hawaii

Nature of Case: Tuition reimbursement for unilateral private school placement by parents

Nature of Disability: Emotional and Behavioral Disorder

Issue: Whether the school district’s public school placements and programs were appropriate and whether the hearing officer inappropriately focused on the student’s behavioral issues as opposed to other areas of disabilities.

Holding: In favor of the school district.

By Jack Robinson

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