Special Education Case Law Update — Week of July 5, 2010

Posted on July 9, 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

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