Wrightslaw l No Child Left Behind l IDEA 2004 l Fetaweb l Yellow Pages for Kids l Harbor House Law Press
  Home > News > A Short History of New York Bd of Education v. Tom F., on Behalf of Gilbert F. by Pamela Wright , MA, MSW

The Special Ed Advocate
It's Unique ... and Free!

Enter your email address below:

 

2014 - 2015 Training Programs

Nov. 1 - Grand Rapids, MI

Nov 6 - McAllen, TX

Nov 18 - DesMoines, IA

Nov 21 - Temecula, CA

Dec 4 - OKC, OK

Full Schedule

Be a Hero ...

 Jason at Ft. Benning
... to a Hero
Learn more

Wrightslaw

Home
Topics from A-Z
Free Newsletter
Seminars & Training
Consultations
Yellow Pages for Kids
Press Room
FAQs
Sitemap

Books & Training

Wrightslaw Books & DVDs
Wrightslaw Storesecure store lock
  Advocate's Store
  Student Bookstore
  Exam Copies
Training Center
Bulk Discounts
New! Military Discounts
Mail & Fax Orders

Advocacy Library

Articles
Doing Your Homework
Ask the Advocate
FAQs
Newsletter Archives
Summer School Series
Success Stories
Tips

Law Library

Articles
Caselaw
IDEA 2004
No Child Left Behind
McKinney-Vento Homeless
FERPA
Section 504
Fed Court Complaints

Topics

Advocacy
ADD/ADHD
Allergy/Anaphylaxis
Assistive Technology
Autism Spectrum
Behavior & Discipline
Bullying
College/Continuing Ed
Damages
Discrimination
Due Process
Early Intervention (Part C)
Eligibility
ESY
Evaluations
FAPE
Flyers
Future Planning
Harassment
High-Stakes Tests
Homeless Children
IDEA 2004
Identification & Child Find
IEPs
ISEA
Juvenile Justice
Law School & Clinics
Letters & Paper Trails
LRE/Inclusion
Mediation
Military / DOD
No Child Left Behind
NCLB Directories
NCLB Law & Regs
Parental Protections
PE and Adapted PE
Privacy & Records
Procedural Safeguards
Progress Monitoring
Reading
Related Services
Research Based Instruction
Response to Intervention (RTI)
Restraints/Abuse
Retention
Retaliation
School Report Cards
Section 504
Self-Advocacy
Teachers & Principals
Transition
Twice Exceptional (2e)
VA Special Education

Resources & Directories

Advocate's Bookstore
Advocacy Resources
Directories
  Disability Groups
  International
  State DOEs
  State PTIs
Free Flyers
Free Pubs
Free Newsletters
Legal & Advocacy
Glossaries
   Legal Terms
   Assessment Terms
Best School Websites

 

A Short History of New York Bd of
Education v. Tom F., on Behalf of Gilbert F
.
by Pamela Wright, MA, MSW

Print this page

Note: The facts cited in this article are from the Amicus Brief filed by the Solicitor General of the United States.

This case arises out of a complaint filed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act by Tom F., the father of Gilbert F., a child with a disability, against the New York Board of Education. The father argues that his son was denied a free appropriate public education and seeks reimbursement for Gilbert's tuition at the Stephen Gaynor School, a private school that educates children with learning disabilities.

Do All Children with Disabilities Have a Right to a Free Appropriate Public Education?

One issue that sets this case apart from other tuition reimbursement cases is the fact that Gilbert F. did not attend a public school special education program. The Supreme Court's decision will answer this questsion: Do all children with disabilities—regardless of whether they attend public or private school—have the right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE)?

Kindergarten through 2nd Grade (1995-1998)

In the fall of 1995, Tom F. enrolled his son Gilbert in kindergarten at the Stephen Gaynor School, a private school that specializes in educating children with learning disabilities.

In 1996, Tom requested that the school district evaluate his son and provide him with an IEP. The school district evaluated Gilbert and classified him as learning disabled. The school district paid Gilbert’s tuition at the private special education school for the 1997-1998 and 1998-1999 school years.

IEP Team Changes Placement (1999)

On May 28, 1999, the district scheduled a meeting to review Gilbert’s IEP and recommend an appropriate program and placement for the 1999-2000 school year. Because one parent was unable to attend the IEP meeting on that date, the IEP meeting was rescheduled to June 23, 1999. However, no one from Gilbert's school was able to attend the rescheduled meeting, including his special education teacher.

On July 29, 1999, approximately one month before the beginning of the school year, the school district mailed Tom F. a notice advising him that the school recommended that Gilbert be placed in a special education classroom in the New York City Lower Lab School for Gifted Education for the 1999-2000 school year.

Gilbert's father disagreed with the proposed program and placement and continued to send his son to the Gaynor School.

Due Process Hearing & Review

Tom F. requested a due process hearing to challenge the district's recommendation to change his child's placement and to request reimbursement for Gilbert's tuition at the private special education school for the 1999-2000 school year.

On April 6, 2001, the impartial hearing officer issued a decision. The hearing officer found that the school district failed to offer Gilbert an educational program that met his needs, that the Gaynor School was appropriate, and granted the parent's request for tuition reimbursement. The hearing officer found that Tom F. “did everything asked of him . . . in regard to this matter.”

The school district appealed. The state review officer affirmed the hearing officer's findings, found that the parent was entitled to tuition reimbursement, and dismissed the school district's appeal.

District Court Overturns Decisions by Hearing Officer & Review Officer (2005)

The school district appealed this decision to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. On January 3, 2005, the district court overturned the decisions of the impartial hearing officer and review officer. Citing Section 1412(a)(10)(C)(ii) of IDEA 97, the Court ruled “that where a child has not previously received special education from a public agency, there is no authority to reimburse the tuition expenses arising from a parent’s unilateral placement of a child in private school.”

The relevant statute reads:

(ii) Reimbursement for Private School Placement. If the parents of a child with a disability, who previously received special education and related services under the authority of a public agency, enroll the child in a private elementary or secondary school without the consent or or referral by the public agency, a court of a hearing officer may require the agency to reimburse the parents for the cost of that enrollment if the court or hearing officer finds that the agency had not made a free appropriate public education available to the child in a timely manner prior to that enrollment." 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(10)(C)(ii) (page 74 in Wrightslaw, Special Education Law, 2nd Edition)

The court did not consider the finding by the impartial hearing officer and review officer that Gilbert was denied a free appropriate public education.

Court of Appeals Vacates District Court Decision (2006)

On August 9, 2006, in an unpublished Summary Order, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated and remanded the district court’s decision in light of their decision in Frank G. v. Board of Education of Hyde Park, 459 F.3d 356 (2d Cir.).

In Frank G., the Second Circuit held that IDEA does not “establish a threshold requirement that a disabled child must have previously received public special education and related services in order to be eligible for reimbursement” for tuition reimbursement for a private school.

In Frank G., the Court of Appeals explained that Section 1412(a)(10)(C)(ii) “does not say that tuition reimbursement is only available to parents whose child had previously received special education and related services from a public agency, nor does it say that tuition reimbursement is not available to parents whose child had not previously received special education and related services.”

The court reasoned that reading that language into Section 1412(a)(10)(C)(ii) would conflict with other provisions of the Act, including the Act’s broad equitable relief provision, and lead to the “untenable” result that parents would have “to jeopardize their child’s health and education in this manner in order to qualify for . . . reimbursement.”

Supreme Court Grants Certiorari (2007)

On Monday, February 26, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in New York City Board of Education v. Tom F., on Behalf of Gilbert F., a Minor Child.

Question Presented

Does the holding of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit,
stating that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act permits tuition
reimbursement where a child has not previously received special education from a
public agency, stand in direct contradiction to the plain language of 20 U.S.C. Sec.
1412(a)(10)(C)(ii) which authorizes tuition reimbursement to the parents of a
disabled child who previously received special education and related services
under the authority of a public agency?


Oral Argument

Oral argument scheduled for Monday, October 1, 2007, the first day of the Fall term. Learn more about the case, legal issues, significance, read briefs, and news.


To Top

Revised: 08/12/07
Created: 08/12/07



Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon The Special Ed Advocate: It's Free!

 

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
About the Book

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board
About the DVD Video

 

Copyright 1998-2014, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved.

Contact Us | Press Mission l Our Awards l Privacy Policy l Disclaimer l Site Map

What's New!

Now Shipping!

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
About the Book

Check it out!

Wrightslaw Store

The Advocate's Store

Get Help!

Blog the Wrightslaw

Wrightslaw on Facebook

Find us on Facebook

Wrightslaw Books

Student Discounts

Military Discounts


Wrightslaw: All About IEPs

About the Book
To Order

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
About the Book
To Order


About the Book

To Order


Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board

About the DVD Video
To Order


To Order


Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind

About the Book
To Order

Wrightslaw Multimedia Training


Understanding Your Child's
Test Scores (1.5 hrs)

Understanding Your Child's Test Scores

Learn More
To Order
Retail Price: $
24.95
Wrightslaw Special: $14.95

Special Education Law & Advocacy Training
(6.5 hrs)


Wrightslaw WebEx Special Education Law & Training Program (6.5 hrs)


Learn More
To Order
Retail Price: $99.95
Wrightslaw Special: $49.95