ERIC Number: EJ925474
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Reference Count: 4
Commentary on Forest Grove School District v. T. A.
Cortiella, Candace; Mather, Nancy; Diller, Lawrence; Goldstein, Sam
Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal, v16 n3 p157-160 2010
Forest Grove School District v. T.A. involved a student with learning disabilities, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and depression (T.A.) whose parents had moved him to a private academy for students with special needs without first consulting with his public school. In the past, the school district had found T.A. to be ineligible for special education services and not in need of an Individualized Education Program (IEP). At issue in the case was whether parents who unilaterally enroll their child with a disability in a private school are entitled to tuition reimbursement "if the child never received special education services from the district." According to the School District, T.A.'s parents unilaterally withdrew him from the public school without prior notice and he never received special education, or related services from a public agency. The District contended that since IDEA only discusses reimbursement for children who had previously received special-education services from the public school that T.A.'s parents should not be entitled to private school tuition reimbursement. According to the parents, the District was well aware of T.A.'s learning struggles throughout his school career and made few attempts to provide assistance under the IDEA, the Rehabilitation Act, or by informal means. The parents contended that the District's repeated failure to properly evaluate T.A. and provide a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) entitled them to reimbursement of the private school tuition they paid in order to obtain an appropriate education for their child. The parent's position was supported by a "friend of the court" brief filed by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Supreme Court found that IDEA authorizes reimbursement for private special education services when a public school fails to provide a FAPE and the private school placement is appropriate, regardless of whether the child previously received special-education services through the public school. The opinion reached in Forest Grove serves to affirm the IDEA's strong commitment to ensuring that students with disabilities are identified and served by the nation's public schools. That commitment does not, however, negate the need for mechanisms to provide for speedy and effective resolution of disputes between parents and schools when disagreements arise. The latest renewal of IDEA, which occurred after the events in Forest Grove, seeks to provide expanded options for dispute resolution. Without doubt, parents and schools must strive to work together to assist struggling learners. The Forest Grove decision will only serve to advance the needs of all students, including those with disabilities.
Descriptors: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Public Schools, Private Schools, Individualized Education Programs, Learning Disabilities, School Districts, Related Services (Special Education), Depression (Psychology), Individualized Instruction, Court Litigation, Student Costs, Expenditure per Student, Educational Vouchers, Parent School Relationship, Conflict Resolution, Accessibility (for Disabled)
Learning Disabilities Association of America. 4156 Library Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15234. Tel: 412-341-1515; Fax: 412-344-0224; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.ldaamerica.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; Rehabilitation Act 1973