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Friday, May 28, 2010

Court considers more than academic progress in determination of whether child has received educational benefit

COMPTON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT v. A.F. (C.D.Cal. 4-26-2010): The appropriateness of a child’s program is determined, at least in part, by whether it is designed for the child to receive educational benefit. There have been a number of recent cases in which the Courts have addressed the boundaries of “educational benefit”. Compton is the most recent of these cases. The child was getting good grades, but was only “accessing” about 50% of his classroom activities and instruction due to interfering behaviors. The child was also suffering with respect to social skills and work habits.The Court held that calculation of educational benefit encompasses more than just academics; the decisionmaker must also look at social and emotional needs that impact academic progress.

3rd Circuit finds for district on reimbursement claim despite failure to have IEP in place prior to start of school year

C.H. v. CAPE HENLOPEN SCHOOL DISTRICT, 08-3630 (3rd Cir. 5-25-2010): Parent placed the child at the Gow School, but did not give the requisite notice of intent to make a reimbursement claim. The district proceeded with the evaluation process and the CSE met prior to the start of the school year. The CSE process was not completed prior to the start of the school year, however. The Court attributed the delay to the parents and declined “to hold that a school district is liable for procedural violations that are thrust upon it by uncooperative parents.” Further, in rejecting the parents’ claim of inadequate notice of the CSE meeting, the Court stated that “the Parents have been their own greatest impediment to participation in the evaluation of C.H.'s disabilities and the development of an appropriate IEP.” Finally, the Court also denied the parents’ claim on equitable grounds for failure to give proper notice of the intent to make a reimbursement claim and for disregarding “their obligation to cooperate and assist in the formulation of an IEP.”