A district’s failure to reevaluate a student with asthma and allergies for several years in a row violated the IDEA procedurally and denied him FAPE, the U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut held. The fact that the student’s parent unilaterally placed him in private school in another district did not excuse the district’s continuing responsibility to conduct an evaluation.
Residency, not enrollment, triggers a district’s FAPE obligations. Thus, the district of residence has the duty to respond to a request for an evaluation from a parent who has placed a child in private school, even when the private school is located outside of the district’s boundaries.
A Connecticut district violated the IDEA rights of a student with allergies when it repeatedly declined to evaluate the student to determine his eligibility as a student with an OHI. While the District Court denied his parent’s reimbursement for a unilateral placement, it concluded that the district deprived the student of FAPE by failing to convene an IEP meeting and reevaluate the student based on his asthma and numerous allergies. Because the parent believed the student’s worsening allergies were the result of water damage and indoor mold at the child’s elementary school, she withdrew him and placed him in private school in another district in 2003. Between 2003 and 2006, the prior district evaluated the student in response to the parent’s requests and found him ineligible for special education. From the 2006-07 school year through the 2009-10 school year, the parent continued to request evaluations. The district responded that the town in which the private school was located was the agency responsible for developing the student’s IEP. The parent alleged that the district denied the student FAPE by failing to evaluate him. The court agreed. Citing Doe v. East Lyme Board of Education, 59 IDELR 249 (D. Conn. 2012), the court observed that a district has a continuing responsibility to develop an IEP for a student even after he has been parentally placed in private school. Here, the parent continued to request IEP meetings for four consecutive years, asking the district to determine the student’s eligibility as OHI. In each instance, the district, based on a misinterpretation of the IDEA, told her to request an IEP meeting from the district where the private school was located, the court stated. The court pointed out that when parents request a reevaluation of a child for purposes of having a FAPE offered to him, and the child resides in the district, the district has an obligation to conduct the evaluation. In this case, the district had a continuing duty to develop an IEP and respond to the parent’s evaluation requests even after she placed him in private school. The failure to meet that obligation denied the parent opportunity to participate and constituted a denial of FAPE. Nevertheless, the court declined to award the parent tuition reimbursement, concluding that the student, who had solid grades and progressed academically throughout his school years, was not IDEA-eligible.
This case was not handled by our firm. However, if you have any questions regarding this case, or any education matter, please contact Joseph Maya at 203-221-3100 or by email at JMaya@MayaLaw.com.
If you have a child with a disability and have questions about special education law, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq., at 203-221-3100, or at JMaya@mayalaw.com, to schedule a free consultation.
Please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq., at 203-221-3100, or at JMaya@mayalaw.com, to schedule a free consultation.
For continuous access to the legal world, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. We offer the latest updates on caselaw and legal news. In addition, informational videos are available for your convenience on our YouTube channel.
Source: 17 Today’s School Psychologist 06 (Jan 1 2015)
***All posts for the MayaLaw.com blog are created as a public service for the community. This case overview is intended for informational purposes only, and is not a solicitation of any client.***