Clare Foley, an eleven year- old, is suffering from mild mental disorder. According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Special School District of St. Louis Country (SSD) should provide special education for children with disabilities in public schools (153 F. 3d 863). However, due to proximity, Clare’s parents transferred her to St. Peter’s Catholic School. It is also required that she has to undergo occupational, physical, and language therapy. These were among the demands of Clare’s parents to the SSD.
SSD, on their part, denied the request because they claim that the statute restrains them from providing special educational services to private schools. Instead, they offered dual enrolment for Clare whereby she has to travel from St. Peter’s to receive the services (153 F. 3d 863). However, Clare’s parents asked IDEA for due process hearing based on the amendment made in the Act wherein disabled children have rights to receive educational services even if enrolled in private schools.
In hearing the case, the panel rejected the claim of Clare’s parents on the ground that IDEA prohibits educational services in a sectarian school. Issue: Does Clare has an individual right to request for special education from SSD despite the fact that she studies in a private school? Holding: The district court decided in favor of SSD based on the hearing panel’s findings. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the district court.
Reason: The hearing panel concluded that the IDEA does not require SSD to provide special education services at a private school (153 F. 3d 863). Moreover, the amendment stated that “SSD cannot pay the costs of special education services for a particular child” (153 F. 3d 863). However, the SSD is required to spend proportionate amount for a class of students. In the present case, Clare alone is asserting such right which has been granted only to a class of students.
Significance: This case limits the responsibilities of the public school mandated to grant public educational services and the rights of the children with disabilities. It serves as a clear example that the special education is not absolute and for reason of fairness it cannot be granted to specific individuals.
Reference Bulk. Resource. Org. (2008). Foley v. Special School District of St. Louis County. Retrieved June 5, 2008, from http://bulk. resource. org/courts. gov/c/F3/153/153. F3d. 863. 97-2419. html
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