The Supreme Court has ruled that New York City schools must reimburse former Viacom executive Tom Freston for private special education for his son, who has learning disabilities. The Supreme Court voted 4-4, with Justice Anthony Kennedy not participating, and thus upheld a lower court ruling that sided with Freston. According to that ruling, even though the student was enrolled in a private school and his learning disabilities were diagnosed after he was enrolled in it, the city had to pay for the student
From today’s Associated Press:
The New York City board of education had asked the justices to take the case after a lower court said that tuition reimbursement is available to the parents under the Individuals With Disabilities Act.
Lawyers for the boy’s parents said the special education program proposed by the public school system was inadequate to meet the child’s needs.
The parents say that under federal law, they may challenge inappropriate proposals and obtain reimbursement for the costs of placement in private school.
In arguments before the Supreme Court on Oct. 1, New York City’s top appeals lawyer argued that when a school district says it has a good program for special ed students, the law requires parents to enroll their children in the program before transferring to private school and seeking reimbursement.
I understand the rationale for this last statement—–but as a parent, I would find it very difficult to enroll my child in a public school program that I know is inappropriate, and have to in effect wait for him to fail, and only then seek a private placement. My first priority is my son’s education, first of all.