“The Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of A Special Education Student
U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the unanimous opinion in today’s ruling.
School districts must provide students with disabilities the chance to make meaningful, “appropriately ambitious” progress, the Supreme Court said today in an 8-0 ruling. (Emphasis added.)
The decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District could have far-reaching implications for the 6.5 million students with disabilities in the United States.
The case centered on a child with autism and attention deficit disorder whose parents removed him from public school in fifth grade. He went on to make better progress in a private school. His parents argued that the individualized education plan, or IEP, provided by the public school was inadequate, and they sued to compel the school district to pay his private school tuition.
The Supreme Court today sided with the family, overturning a lower court ruling in the school district’s favor.
The federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, guarantees a “Free Appropriate Public Education,” or FAPE, to all students with disabilities. Today’s opinion held that “appropriate” goes farther than what the lower courts held.
“It cannot be right that the IDEA generally contemplates grade-level advancement for children with disabilities who are fully integrated in the regular classroom, but is satisfied with barely more than de minimis progress for children who are not,” read the opinion, signed by Chief Justice John Roberts.
The case drew a dozen friend-of-the-court briefs from advocates for students with disabilities who argued that it is time to increase rigor, expectations and accommodations for all.
“A standard more meaningful than just above trivial is the norm today,” wrote the National Association of State Directors of Special Education.
The ruling seems likely to increase pressure from families and advocates in that direction.
Significantly, Judge Neil Gorsuch, currently in confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court’s vacant ninth seat, has repeatedly ruled the other way on similar cases.
Gorsuch’s opinions in eight out of ten cases involving students of disabilities all tended toward limiting the responsibilities of school districts — for example, if they leave school of their own accord out of frustration. IDEA’s standard of a “free appropriate public education,” reads Gorsuch’s opinion in one of these cases, “is not an onerous one.”
When questioned on his record, in light of this new ruling, during his hearing today by Texas Sen. John Cornyn, he said “I was wrong, Senator, because I was bound by circuit precedent, and I’m sorry.”
The next Bloomfield SEPAC Meeting will be Nov.16, 2016 at 6 P.M. at Oakview Elementary School; ;ocated at 150 Garrabrant Ave, Bloomfield, NJ 07003. PLEASE NOTE THE EARLY TIME of 6 P.M. – 8 P.M.
This Meeting will consist specifically of an ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis for Autism) Workshop for Parents of students with Autism. There will be methods, ideas and information on how to carry over ABA Methods at your home; using some of the ABA techniques your child is familiar with and receives in school.
Thank you to everyone that attended our Bloomfield SEPAC Meeting last night at Demarest School. The Meeting began with a special presentation to Brookdale Elementary School Educator, Mr. Jason Triano. Mr. Triano received the SEPAC Certificate of Appreciation for his dedicated, outstanding and ongoing contributions and support of our organization for many years.
Next up, Bloomfield School District Director of Special Services, Ms. Linda Colucci presented a moving film about the VEST, Special Education Program in Bloomfield High School.
Bloomfield Schools Superintendent Salvatore Goncalves answered a series of questions about our schools including, grant funding, security, participation in extra-curricular activities for special needs students, anti-bullying measures, having your special needs child evaluated,The ESSA Act and Charter Schools.
Ms. Colucci described new technologies available in our schools, including the trial introduction of Chrome Books. Special Services Supervisor Keri Regina explained about parents working with the school to try to obtain permission to use special accommodations from the www.https://www.collegeboard.org/students-with-disabilities for PSAT and SAT Testing.
The Meeting closed with our usual session with The Marvelous Marble.
Our SEPAC Parents gave thanks and praise for recent achievements by their kids and the Bloomfield Schools Staff. Thank you to all parents, Teachers and Administrators who came out to participate in our Meeting. Extra special thanks to Demarest Principal, Mary Todaro for the use and abuse of her School Library, her warm, gracious hospitality and her information about the STORIA Reading App.
Our next Meeting will be November 16, 2016 at Oakview Schools, with special emphasis on ABA Methods that Parents can learn to use with their child at home.