In Marshall Joint School District No. 2 v. C.D., the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) and the federal district court applied the incorrect standard in determining whether a student suffering from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (“EDS”) was entitled to special education services under the IDEA. The 7th Circuit held that the student suffering from EDS was not entitled to special education services because his medical condition did not adversely affect his educational performance.
The ALJ concluded that the EDS adversely affects the student’s educational performance because it causes him to experience pain and fatigue and that when he does “experience pain and/or fatigue at school, it can affect his educational performance.” Marshall Joint Sch. Dist. No. 2 v. C.D., at * 10 (7th Cir. Aug. 2, 2010). This is a misapplication of the governing standard because “it is not whether something, when considered in the abstract, can adversely affect a student’s educational performance, but whether in reality it does” Id., citing to 34 C.F.R. § 300.8(C)(9)(ii) and A.J. v. Bd. of Educ., 679 F. Supp. 2d 299, 310 (E.D.N.Y. 2010). For the student to qualify in this case, his health condition must adversely affect his educational performance and as a result he must need special education. 20 U.S.C. § 1401(3)(A)(ii).
The Court reasoned that while there is evidence that EDS can affect the student’s educational performance, there is no substantial evidence to support the ALJ’s finding that it has an adverse affect. Because the student’s EDS did not adversely affect his educational performance, the panel concluded that both the ALJ and the federal district court had misapplied the standard in determining whether the student’s EDS rendered him eligible for services and reversed the decision.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of H. Jeffrey Marcus, P.C. provide representation to parents who believe their kids are not being properly served. In this blog, I present current developments in special education law. The focus is on recent federal and New York State cases and important legislative and regulatory developments.
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Law Offices of H. Jeffrey Marcus P.C.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
ALJ misapplied governing standard in determining whether student suffering from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome was eligible for special education services.
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