Appeals court: Parents’ rights trumps agency authority
(Calif.) In a ruling with implications for how disputes over special education services are resolved, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed a parent’s right to a due process hearing regardless of potentially conflicting state laws.
The ruling, which was released unpublished but could have an influence throughout much of the western United States, also clarified that “related services” under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act can include medically necessary occupational and physical therapy if it has been included as part of a student’s Individualized Education Plan.
The court finding is important to both school districts and state and county social welfare agencies that are often at odds over the need to provide related services to students with disabilities and, more to the point, who pays for it.
To some degree, prior legislative and court actions in many states have already established that occupational and physical therapy can be ordered by an IEP team for a student if deemed necessary.
In this instance, it was the California Department of Health Care Services that brought the case forward against the parents of a severely disabled 12-year-old boy enrolled in the Cupertino Union School District. One of the department’s programs, the California Children’s Services, provides physical and occupational therapy to low-income children with acute or chronic medical conditions.
For several years, the boy’s physical and occupational therapy were provided through the Children’s Appeals court: Parents’ rights trumps agency authority :: SI&A Cabinet Report :: The Essential Resource for Superintendents and the Cabinet: