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US Supreme Court Ruling on Special Education

Posted Jun 24 2009 12:12pm

The US Supreme Court has ruled in the case of Forest Grove School District v T.A. The question was fairly simple: can a child be granted a private placement (outside of the state educational system) if that child doesn’t receive any services from the district?

The district in question argued that the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) states that a placement could not be paid for (or in this case reimbursed as the parents were footing the bill at first) if:

“previously received special education or related services under the [school’s] authority.”

The family argued that the key provision of the IDEA is the concept of FAPE: the school system must provide a Free Appropriate Public Education. If the district has no appropriate placements, how can the parents be expected to place their child with the district?

The US Supreme Court sided with the parents:

Held: IDEA authorizes reimbursement for private special-education services when a public school fails to provide a FAPE and the private school placement is appropriate, regardless of whether the child previously received special-education services through the public school.

Kristina Chew has covered this already at Change.Org
, as have others.

This is exactly the sort of topic we as a community and as a part of a greater disability community should be discussing. It is vitally important to those with children in the US. I hope that such decisions will have impact internationally as well.

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