Bucking the parents on eligibility.

It’s risky for an ARD Committee to determine that a student is no longer eligible for special education services when the parents disagree with that assessment.  The latest example comes from a federal court case in Hawaii involving a 12-year old with autism. 

The boy did well academically, but as we all know, there is more to “education” than academics.  The court pointed out that he continued to have emotional and behavioral issues and did not satisfy all of his behavioral goals on the most recent IEP.  Moreover, one of the reasons the student was being successful academically is because of the special education services the district provided.  It’s difficult for the district to argue that the student’s performance is so good that he no longer needs special services when the performance is enhanced by the special services the student has been receiving.  If the school can show that the student does well without any special education services it has a good point; but when the school is providing special services, surely those services are contributing to the student’s success.

This case from Hawaii is one where some courts would probably have agreed with the district that the boy no longer needed special services.  But then you have courts that disagree, like this one.  This business of eligibility is hardly a precise science.  Like I said: it’s risky. 

The case is DOE Hawaii v. Acen T., decided by the District Court for Hawaii on April 6, 2020. We found it at Special Ed Connection: 76 IDELR 121.


Tomorrow: are we teaching kids to hate America?