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Supreme Court rules parents have burden of proof in special ed challenges

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website, JURIST news archive] ruled Monday that parents who challenge special education programs for not meeting their children's needs must bear the burden of proving the programs' inadequacies, and not school officials. The case, Schaffer v. Weast [Duke Law backgrounder], is a loss for a Maryland family that challenged a special education program for their son who is afflicted with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Read the Court's majority opinion [text] by Justice O'Connor, along with a concurrence [text] from Justice Stevens, a dissent [text] from Justice Ginsburg and a second dissent [text] from Justice Breyer. AP has more.

Also on Monday, the Court granted certiorari in two cases. In Woodford v. Ngo, the Court is expected to clarify what steps prison inmates must take before they may file a federal lawsuit challenging prison conditions. In Beard v. Banks, the Court could reinstate rules that keep newspapers and magazines out of the hands of disruptive Pennsylvania inmates. The Court agreed to hear an appeal of a decision [PDF text] from the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit which upheld inmates' claims that the ban on most reading material and personal photographs violated their free speech rights. US Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito [JURIST news archive], who currently sits on the Third Circuit, wrote a dissent in the case. Read the Court's full Order List [PDF]. AP has more.

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