ZOOMERS! THIS IS THE DAY OF THE MONTH WHEN WE USUALLY HAVE OUR ZOOM WITH THE DAWG CALL. BUT IT’S THE SUMMER AND WE’RE CHANGING. SO NO ZOOM TODAY. THE ZOOM FOR JUNE WILL BE NEXT THURSDAY, THE 23RD. BE THERE OR BE SQUARE.
What Happened? The parents never asked for a due process hearing to challenge the IEP proposed by the school for 2018-19. Instead they went straight to federal court. The school promptly filed a Motion to Dismiss based on failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
The Dawg’s Commentary: That motion should be granted. It’s a no-brainer. The parties had an IEP Team meeting on April 18, 2018 to discuss the IEP for the upcoming 2018-19 school year. They disagreed about the content of the IEP and the placement. That’s exactly what our special education due process system is designed to deal with. And in fact, these parents were well aware of that, having successfully used that process previously. But this time they went straight into court.
What Did the Court Do? The Motion to dismiss was granted….“nearly four years” later by the 1st Circuit after numerous injunctions and orders had been entered by lower court judges. Key Quote:
We note that this case has been in federal court for nearly four years, when it could and should have been more expeditiously resolved through the administrative process.
What Can We Learn? This one goes on the Sheesh-O-Meter. The 1st Circuit treats the failure to exhaust as a jurisdictional matter. That means that all of the judges who ruled on various aspects of this case did not have the jurisdiction to do so. Finally, the 1st Circuit weighed in, granting the Motion that was filed at the outset. What a waste of time and money.
It's Valentin-Marrero v. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, decided by the 1st Circuit on March 24, 2022. It’s published in Special Ed Connection at 80 IDELR 208.
DAWG BONE: STORIES LIKE THIS DO NOT INSPIRE CONFIDENCE IN THE SYSTEM.
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