SCOTUS Decision On Schools Outlines Legal Compliance For Disabled Students

Two students holding white canes walk down a snowy campus with two teachers.

U.S. Supreme Court rules schools must comply with the American With Disabilities Act.

April 10, 2017

Parents of a child with disabilities are applauding a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that says a parent no longer needs to ask the question of what qualifies as an appropriate public education for their child.

The Supreme Court rendered a decision last month that outlines the link between public education and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The ruling deals specifically with the obligations of schools and what they must do to comply with the ADA by providing free appropriate public education to students with disabilities and to provide individualized education programs, or IEPs.

WGBH interviewed Ed Bosso, the executive director and superintendent of Educational Programs at Perkins School for the Blind. Bosso also has a young daughter with vision loss.

Bosso says, "the Supreme Court and their clear unanimous decision…said that minimal progress of a child is not enough and the decision raised the bar for what IEPs must do to meet the needs of students."

According to NPR, the decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District could have far-reaching implications for the 6.5 million students with disabilities in the United States.

The case centered on a young Colorado child with autism who received annual IEPs in the Douglas County School District from preschool through fourth grade. But by fourth grade, Endrew’s parents believed his academic and functional progress had stalled. The parents removed him, placed him in a specialized private school and sought to have the district reimbursement for Endrew’s private school tuition. 

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