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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Joint Post II. Another Second Circuit special education case about which I am posting here and on The FAPE Page, Second Opinions's sister blog. (I am the father of both.) In J.S. v. Attica Central Schools, six students who attend school in the Attica Central School District brought an action against the school district, claiming that they had been denied a free appropriate public education and stating claims under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, section 1983 and New York State education law. The school district moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The District Court denied the motion but certified the issue of subject matter jurisdiction for interlocutory appeal. The Second Circuit agreed to hear this appeal.

The jurisdictional issue was whether exhaustion of administrative remedies was required before a Federal District Court could hear the case. The District Court had held that the school district's alleged systemic violations of IDEA could not be remedied through administrative proceedings and that exhaustion would be futile.

The Second Circuit affirmed, holding that systemic violations of IDEA, as opposed to "textbook" cases presenting issues involving individual children, could not be remedied by administrative action and that the exhaustion requirement would be futile.

The systemic problems at issue included: (1) the school district's total failure to prepare and implement Individualized Education Programs, (2) the school district's failure to notify parents of meetings as required by law, (3) the school district's failure to provide parents with legally required progress reports, (4) the school district's failure to provide appropriate training to school staff, (5) the school district's failure to perform timely evaluations and reevaluations of disabled chilren, (6) the school district's failure to provide parents with required procedural safeguards regarding identification, evaluation and accommodation of otherwise disabled children and (7) the school district's failure to perform legally required responsibilities in a timely manner, including providing and implementing transition plans, transitional support services and declassification services for children with disabilities.

The decision can be found here.

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