NDRN Files Amicus in Special Education Supreme Court Case

November 22, 2016
NDRN Files Amicus in Special Education Supreme Court Case

NDRN Amicus Supported by Forty-four Disability Rights Organizations

For Immediate Release      
November 22, 2016

Contact: David Card
202.408.9514 x122
[email protected]

WASHINGTON –The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN)filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in a case known as Endrew F. vs. Douglas County School District. The case involves a student with autism whose parents claim the school district failed to provide their son with an appropriate education as guaranteed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

The NDRN brief rejects the notion that schools can satisfy the IDEA by providing “some” educational benefit to students with disabilities, as both a hearing officer and the U.S. District Court ruled.

Forty-four organizations that are made up of, represent, and advocate for the rights of Americans with disabilities signed on to the amicus.

“For too long, too many children with disabilities have been held to low expectations,” said Ron Hager, senior staff attorney for NDRN and an author of the NDRN amicus brief. “Students rights under the IDEA must reflect the high expectations we have for these children.”

Nearly 35 years ago in Board of Education v. Rowley, the Supreme Court ruled schools can satisfy the IDEA’s (then called the Education for All Handicapped Children Act) free appropriate public education (FAPE) requirement by providing some educational benefit, rather than educational opportunities equal to their classmates.

NDRN contends in the brief that since the Rowley ruling Congress has made clear that a free appropriate public education must provide students with disabilities with an equal opportunity to meet the standards the district applies to all children.

Specifically, amendments to the IDEA together with Congress’ inclusion of students with disabilities in the national commitment to standards-based education under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), have been part of a comprehensive Congressional effort to ensure that students with disabilities are provided the individual services they need to meet the standards that schools apply to all students.

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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.