Special Education Case Law Update — Week of July 5, 2010
District of Columbia v. Doe, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 13697 (D.C. Cir. July 6, 2010)
Court: United States Dist. Ct. for the Dist. of Columbia
Nature of Case: Authority of impartial hearing officer (IHO) to modify discipline of disabled student
Nature of Disability: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Issue: Whether the IDEA hearing officer exceeded his authority by modifying the terms of student’s class exclusion, and whether the case was moot because student no longer attended a district school.
Holding: Court reversed the district court and held that even if it was found that behavior was not a manifestation of student’s disability and student should be treated as regular education student. IHO had authority to modify discipline to ensure student received a FAPE. Case was not moot because issue could recur.
Doe v. Marlborough Pub. Schs, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66482 (D. Mass. June 30, 2010)
Court: United States Dist. Ct. for the Dist. of Massachusetts
Nature of Case: Tuition reimbursement for Unilateral private school placement and discontinuance of services based on graduation
Nature of Disability: Chromosomal disorder resulting in significant language-based learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and difficulties with executive functioning, auditory processing, social and emotional functioning, and behavior.
Issue: Whether school district was required to pay for unilateral private school placement based on improper discontinuance of services following graduation.
Holding: The district court affirmed the hearing officer’s decision and held that: (1) the school district properly graduated the Student because he validly passed the MCAS exam and his senior year IEP was reasonably calculated to provide him with educational benefit; (2) the stay-put provision was properly applied; and (3) reimbursement of the cost of the private school placement was not appropriate.
By: Jack Robinson