Laura Matlow Wong-Pan
$1.32 million paid to Parents in Landmark Case
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in December 2017 a special education case, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, which has culminated in an April 19, 2018 settlement and subsequent payment of $1.32 million to the parents and attorneys representing the student.
The parents had sought reimbursement from Douglas County School District for their son's education after they placed him in a private school for children with autism. The Supreme Court battle concerned the appropriate standard by which school officials are held, in determining if the student's rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) were violated.
Chief Justice John Roberts, who authored the Supreme Court’s unanimous 8-0 opinion in Endrew F., wrote that "a student offered an educational program providing ‘merely more than de minimis’ progress from year to year can hardly be said to have been offered an education at all." The Supreme Court ruled that, to meet its substantive obligation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a school must offer an individualized education program (IEP) that is reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child's circumstances, and that there must be a showing that the student made substantive progress in order to comply with the IDEA.