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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Court allows parent to proceed on behalf of child

B.J.S. v. STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT (W.D.N.Y. 2-9-2010): Parent appealed the SRO’s denial of her claim that her child’s IEP was inappropriate. She proceeded pro se and brought the claim “individually and on behalf” of her child. The school district sought to have counsel appointed for the child. The Court denied the motion reasoning that the child was not an individual plaintiff in the action. Rather, the parent, who has a right to proceed pro se pursuant to Winkelman, was asserting her own IDEA rights, rights that are “coextensive” with the child’s rights. Thus, the parent was suing to enforce the parent’s individual right to a FAPE for her child.

This case also presents an interesting discussion about confidentiality, the sealing of records and the proper captioning of IDEA cases to preserve the privacy of the child.

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