Significant Court Cases in Special Education<br />By Angelyn Cheatham<br />
Brown v. Board of Education (1954)<br />Landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court<br />Case declared state laws that established ‘separate but equal’ public schools for black and white students violated the Equal Protection clause of the 14th amendment and was deemed unconstitutional<br />Overturned Plessyv. Ferguson decision which allowed such state-sponsored segregation<br />Declared education as a right that must be available to all on equal terms.<br />Basis for future rulings that children with disabilities cannot be excluded from school<br />
Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children (PARC) v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (1972)<br />The state of Pennsylvania did not have public education for the mentally or physically handicapped, leaving parents to acquire private education for their handicapped children<br />Commonwealth of Pennsylvania issued a decree that demanded that education should be provided for all children, regardless of physical or mental handicap. <br />The federal Department of Education used this decree to issue their federal mandate for education for all. <br />Set the stage for the national special education law<br />
Mills v. Board of Education of the District of Colombia (1972)<br />A case against the District of Columbia that declared that students with disabilities must be given a public education, regardless of the cost to provide it<br />This case set a precedent that educational services must be given based on children’s needs, not of the schools’ financial capabilities.<br />Reinforced the right of all children with disabilities to a free public education<br />
Rowley v. Hendrick Hudson School District (1984)<br />The court ruled that a free appropriate education requires school boards to provide individualized instruction with adequate support services <br />Support services must ensure that every child receives and ‘educational benefit’ from the program <br />
Irving Independent School District v. Tatro (1984)<br />The parents of a child with spina bifida contested that the Education of the Handicapped Act should require school districts to provide special services to handicap students. <br />The court had to define ‘special education’ and ‘related services’. <br />
Smith v. Robinson (1984)<br />The parents of a special education student took the Cumberland, Rhode Island school district to court when they removed the handicapped child from a program for special needs children.<br />The court decided that parents will be reimbursed any legal fees that are accrued from a win in special education litigation. <br />
Burlington School Committee v. Department of Education (1984)<br />Parents of a special needs child placed the child in a private school after believing that he was not receiving an appropriate education in the public schools. <br />The Supreme Court recognized the authority of the courts to grant retroactive reimbursement of private school tuition. <br />In some cases, public schools may be required to pay for private school placements with the district does not provide an appropriate education. <br />
Honigv. Doe (1988)<br />Two emotionally disturbed students were suspended indefinitely for violent and disruptive conduct related to their disabilities, pending the completion of the expulsion proceedings by the district. <br />Court ruled that students whose misbehavior is related to their disability cannot be denied education.<br />
Recent Court Cases affecting Special Education…<br />Zobrestv. Catalina Foothills School District (1993)<br />District may pay for a students’ services if needed even when the student attends a parochial school without violating separation of church and state<br />Carter v. Florence County School District 4 (1993)<br /><ul><li>If schools do not provide appropriate services and a private school does, the district may have to pay, even if they did not approve the placement and parents acted unilaterally</li></ul>Cedar Rapids v. Garret F. (1999)<br /><ul><li>Supreme Court issued a favorable decision on behalf of child who needed related services to attend school.</li></ul>Winkelmanv. Parma City School District (2007)<br /><ul><li>Supreme Court rules that parents may represent their children's interests in special education cases, and are not required to hire a lawyer before going to court. The Court held that parents have legal rights under the IDEA and can pursue IDEA claims on their own behalf.</li></li></ul><li>Recent Court Cases affecting Special Education Continued…<br />Board of Education of City of New York v. Tom F (2007)<br />The question before the Court was whether parents of a child who has never received special education from the public school district can obtain reimbursement for a unilateral private placement. <br />Fitzgerald v. Barnstable(2009)<br /><ul><li>In a unanimous decision, the Court reinstated the lawsuit filed by the parents under Title IX, which bars gender discrimination at schools that receive federal funds, and under Section 1983, a broader civil rights law.</li></ul>Forest Grove School District v. T.A. (2009)<br /><ul><li>The Court held that IDEA allows reimbursement for private special education services, even when the child did not previously receive special education services from the public school.</li>
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