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Thursday, October 14, 2010

State agency not subject to the jurisdiction of the IHO

Chavez v. NEW MEXICO PUBLIC EDUCATION DEPARTMENT, 10th Circuit 2010: A high functioning autistic child was home schooled for 18 months because the school district refused to address his school refusal or avoidance problems. The parent took the school to hearing and also attempted to take the state education department to hearing. The IHO ruled that there was no jurisdiction over the state agency. The state level review affirmed that decision. The district court, however, held that the IHO had jurisdiction over the state agency and that the state agency was at fault for not providing direct services to the child. The 10th Circuit reversed reasoning that the state agency was not directly involved in the provision of the child's program. It’s an interesting opinion as the Court struggles with the reality that the child had been denied an education, the role that the state is to play in such situations and the potential ramifications of holding the state responsible. The Court makes clear that there could be situations where a state agency may be held responsible for direct provision of a child's services.

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