Friday, June 8th, 2012
Congrats to COPAA members of the firm Reisman Carolla Gran, LLP for a decision received yesterday in Alief Independent School District v. C.C., a district court case in Texas, re-affirming that school districts cannot get attorney’s fees absent a showing of improper purpose and acknowledging the important role of parental advocacy in the enforcement of IDEA.
"IDEA has a broad remedial purpose: "to ensure that all children with disabilities are provided with a free appropriate public education . . . [and] to assure that the rights of [such]children and their parents or guardians are protected.” Forest Grove Sch. Dist. v. T.A., 129 S. Ct.2484, 2491 (2009) (internal quotation omitted). "Parental participation in the development of an IEP is the cornerstone of the IDEA.” Ector County Indep. Sch. Dist. v. VB, 420 Fed. Appx. 338,348 (5th Cir. 2011) (internal citations omitted). After all, parents play a "significant role” in the IEP process. Winkelman v. Parma City Sch. Dist., 550 U.S. 516, 523 (2007) (internal quotation omitted). "A central purpose of the parental protections is to facilitate the provision of a ‘free appropriate public education,’ § 1401(9), which must be made available to the child ‘in conformity with the [IEP],’ § 1401(9)(D).” Winkelman, 550 U.S. at 524. Procedural safeguards, including the right to seek administrative review of school district determinations, are at the "core of the statute.” Schaffer v. Weast, 546 U.S. 49, 53 (2005) (internal citation omitted). "The IDEA also imposes extensive procedural requirements designed to ‘guarantee parents both an opportunity for meaningful input into all decisions affecting their child’s education and the right to seek review of any decision they think inappropriate.’” Buser by Buser v. Corpus Christi Indep. School , 51 F.3d 490, 493 (5th Cir. 1995) (quoting Honig v. Doe, 484 U.S. 305, 311-12 (1987)).
Full decision in Alief Independent School District v. C.C.