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Supreme Court affirms reimbursement for parents in special education case

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Wednesday affirmed a federal appeals court ruling [order, PDF] that the parents of a disabled child are entitled to reimbursement for the costs of private school education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) [text], even though the child never attended public school. In Board of Education of the City of New York v. Tom F. [Duke Law case backgrounder; JURIST report], the Court split 4-4 and upheld the lower court ruling in a brief per curiam opinion which does not set precedent on the issue. Justice Kennedy did not take part in consideration of the case.

Tom F. was awarded continued tuition reimbursement under IDEA after his disabled child spent two years attending private school following Tom F's successful challenge to the New York public school district's Individualized Education Plan for his son as inadequate. The trial court reversed the administrative ruling, holding that the child was not entitled to tuition reimbursement because he had not previously received education services from a public agency. In reversing the trial court, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld [order, PDF] the reimbursement mandated by the administrative body stating that IDEA did not preclude tuition reimbursement in this situation. AP has more. SCOTUSblog has additional coverage.

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