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 Home > News > Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - IDEA Burden of Proof - On Parents or Schools? (August 9 2005)


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IDEA Burden of Proof - On Parents or Schools?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act does not specify whether parents or school districts have the burden of proof in special education litigation.

If a parent disputes an IEP, the courts agree that it is the parent’s burden to place in issue the appropriateness of the IEP.The next issue is whether the parent has the burden of proving that the IEP is not appropriate or whether the school district has the burden of proving that the IEP is appropriate.

On October 5, the U. S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Schaffer v. Weast. The Court's decision will shift the balance of power between parents and schools.

National Council on Disability Takes a Position

On August 9, 2005, the National Council on Disability (NCD) published Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - Burden of Proof: On Parents or Schools?

In this Position Paper, the NCD asserts that school districts, not parents, should have the burden of proof in issues about IEPs, placement, eligibility, and other matters related to an appropriate education.

"Should the party attacking the terms of an IEP bear the burden of showing why the IEP is not appropriate? Or, should the party that prepared the IEP and has greater expertise and resources have the burden of proving that the IEP is appropriate?"

The author of IDEA Burden of Proof is Pete Wright.

Meet the Children
When you read IDEA Burden of Proof - On Parents or Schools? you will meet Brian Schaffer, Peter Mills and Bill Dunstan, three children with disabilities whose cases were decided by different courts.

You will learn the outcomes of their cases - and whether these outcomes were fair, right and just. You will also learn about competing principles and how similar cases have been resolved.

Download the pdf version of IDEA Burden of Proof: On Parents or Schools? from http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2005/pdf/burdenofproof.pdf

Download the html version of IDEA Burden of Proof: On Parents or Schools? from
http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2005/burdenofproof.htm

Learn more about
Schaffer v. Weast.

More special education caselaw.

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