Case Law
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The cases listed below are the most important court decisions that impact you and your family's rights.

SCH. COMM. OF BURLINGTON V. DEPT OF EDUC., 471 U.S. 359 [1985] : This ruling gave the parent a right to reimbursement of private school tuition in certain situations.  The court found that if the School District's offer didn’t meet the definition of FAPE (Free and Appropriate Public Education) and the parent's private school placement did give FAPE then they could get reimbursed.  They also found that the parent's who privately place their children and seek reimbursement do it at their own financial risk.

FLORENCE COUNTY SCH. DIST. FOUR V. CARTER, 532 U.S. 942 : In this case, the Supreme Court decided as long as the parents meet the test for reimbursement established in Burlington parents have a right to reimbursement even if the private school is not a non-public school certified by the State.

BD. OF EDUC. V. ROWLEY, 458 U.S. 176 : This case was the first special education Supreme Court case.  Amy Rowley was a bright first grader who was also deaf.  While the school district initially decided to fund an interpreter to attend class with Amy they later changed their mind.  The parents took the District to due process and lost so they continued their fight to the federal courts.  The parents won in the U.S. Courts and later the U.S. Court of Appeals.  The District appealed to the Supreme Court.  While, Amy lost in the Supreme Court it set the standard for what is a Free Appropriate Public Education.   The ruling provided children with disabilities access to public schools that also provided a basic floor of opportunity.  Not the best education, but one where the child has passing grades in classes and is advancing to higher grades.

SCHAFFER V. WEAST, 546 U.S. 49 : Here, the Supreme Court decided that the burden of proof is on the party who files.  In 2007, New York State passed a law requiring school districts to bear the burden of proof in special education challenges, although New York also provides that the burden falls on parents or other persons in parental relation "seeking tuition reimbursement for a unilateral parental placement."

HONIG V. DOE, 484 U.S. 322 : This case is the only discipline case the Supreme Court has ever heard.  It removed a school's unilateral authority to suspend or expel a student with an IEP for more than 10 days unless there is evidence of weapons, drugs, or serious bodily injury.  The school must get a ruling from a hearing officer or court. 

ZVI D. V. AMBACH, 694 F 2D. 904 : In this case, the District court agreed with the plaintiff's contention that the hearing officer's interim decision constituted the stay-put placement during the pendency of the federal court litigation. The court reasoned that while IDEA's vague definition of stay-put, namely that "the child shall remain in the then-current educational placement," sheds little light on the matter, second circuit precedent indicated that the "then current placement" means the placement consented to by the school district and the parents before the parents requested a due process hearing.

BUCKS COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH V. DEMORA, 379 F.3d 61: The court held that under appropriate circumstances, parents may be personally compensated for performing a FAPE function that the school district was required to perform. 

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