On Monday, June 22, 2009, the Supreme Court issued a powerful pro-child decision in Forest Grove School District v. T.A. This is a case about tuition reimbursement for a disabled child who was not found eligible for special education and received no special education services from the public school district.
The Supreme Court held that:
This dispute “…concerns not the adequacy of a proposed IEP but the School District’s failure to provide an IEP at all . . . moreover, when a child requires special education services, a school district’s failure to propose an IEP of any kind is at least as serious a violation of it’s responsibilities under IDEA as a failure to provide an adequate IEP.”
“The District’s position similarly conflicts with IDEA’s ‘Child find’ requirement . . . [requiring States] .. to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities’ to ensure that they receive needed special education services.”
“Indeed, by immunizing a school district’s refusal to find a child eligible for special education services no matter how compelling the child’s need, the School District’s interpretation [of the statute] would produce a rule bordering on the irrational.”
This would “leave parents without relief in the more egregious situation in which the school district unreasonably denies a child access to such services altogether.”
The Court ruled:
“. . . we conclude that IDEA authorizes [tuition] reimbursement for the cost of private special education services when a school district fails to provide a FAPE and the private-school placement is appropriate, regardless of whether the child previously received special education or related services through the public school.” (emphasis added)
The full text of this decision is available at:
To learn more about the case, including what happens next, read Supreme Court Issues Pro-Child Decision in Forest Grove School District v. T.A. by Peter Wright, Esq. and Pamela Wright, MA, MSW.