If you are a parent in need of help for a child with a disability, please email us at specialedlaw@mac.com, call us at 716-634-2753 or contact us through our website.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Enforcement of hearing officer orders: SRO says go to federal court, federal court says go away

The NYS SRO has repeatedly stated that school district failure to implement a hearing officer’s order can only be enforced via complaint to state ed or in federal court. For example, in SRO 06-130, SRO Paul Kelly stated that:

The enforcement of an impartial hearing officer's order can properly be sought by filing an administrative complaint with the State Education Department's Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities pursuant to applicable federal and state regulations (see 34 C.F.R. §§ 300.151-300.153 [formerly 300.660-300.662]; 8 NYCRR 200.5[l]), or in federal court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (see A.T. v. New York State Educ. Dept., 1998 WL 765371 at *7 [E.D.N.Y. August 4, 1998]; Blazejewski v. Bd. of Educ., 560 F. Supp. 701 [W.D.N.Y. 1983]; see Application of the Bd. of Educ., Appeal No. 04-085; Application of the Bd. of Educ., Appeal No. 99-004); see generally A.R. ex. rel. R.V. v. New York City Dept. of Educ., 407 F.3d 65, 78 n.13 [2d Cir. 2005] [impartial hearing officers have no enforcement mechanism of their own]; Application of a Child with a Disability, Appeal No. 04-100; Application of a Child with a Disability, Appeal No. 04-007; Application of a Child Suspected of Having a Disability, Appeal No. 03-071; Application of a Child with a Disability, Appeal No. 01-086; Application of the Bd. of Educ., Appeal No. 99-4).  The impartial hearing officer therefore properly dismissed petitioners' due process complaint notice.

The federal courts are not so amenable to such complaints, however. A number of courts have held that the IDEA does not grant a district court jurisdiction to enforce a hearing officer's order because a party who prevails at a due process hearing is not aggrieved by the decision. Rather, the party is aggrieved by the later failure to implement the decision and that does not give rise to federal court jurisdiction(see e.g. Brennan v. Reg'l Sch. Dist. No. Bd. of Educ., 531 F.Supp.2d 245, 261 (D.Conn.2008)). For a more complete discussion of the issue, see James S. ex rel. Thelma S. v. School Dist. of Philadelphia--- F.Supp.2d ----, E.D.Pa.,2008.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.