3/22/2017 – Individualized Education Plan Must Be Reasonably Calculated to Make Progress Appropriate for Special Needs Child’s Unique Circumstances (U.S.)
Endrew F., an autistic child, received Individualized Education Plans (IEP) for several years from the Douglas County (CO) School District. When the District presented an IEP similar to past years, Endrew’s parents, who believed that his academic progress had stalled, placed him in a specialized private school and sought tuition reimbursement from the Colorado Department of Education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The claim was denied, and the denial was affirmed by both by the federal district court for the District of Colorado and by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Tenth Circuit held that an IEP is adequate as long as it is “calculated to confer an educational benefit that is merely…more than de minimis” and that Endrew’s IEP was created to enable him to make some progress in compliance with IDEA’s guarantee of a free and appropriate education (FAPE). The U.S. Supreme Court vacated in a unanimous decision. The Court held that, to meet its obligations under IDEA a school district must implement an IEP that is reasonably calculated to enable the child to make progress that is appropriate in child’s unique circumstances. This is a higher standard than the “de minimis” standard applied by the lower courts.
Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, 2017 WL 1066260 (U.S. March 22, 2017)