Thursday, February 3, 2011

NY District Court Orders City to Pay for Disabled Child's Attendance at Private School

"City Must Foot the Bill for Disabled Child's Tuition"

"MANHATTAN (CN) - The New York City Department of Education must pay the $84,900-a-year private school tuition of a disabled student whom it was unable to provide a "free, appropriate public education."

Attorneys for the child's family called the decision "groundbreaking" on Thursday.

"This is the first federal court decision to squarely decide this issue: whether or not parents and child can seek direct funding for a nonapproved private school when the district fails to offer an appropriate education, if the family does not have financial means to front the tuition," said Michele Kule-Korgood, one of the lead attorneys representing the plaintiffs, in a conference call with her associate Tamara Roff...

In the 47-page opinion filed on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe wrote that the city's school system failed to meet the demands of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which mandated that all students be provided with a "free, appropriate public education." ...
The family of the disabled child, D.A., who sued the city anonymously, said their son needed private schooling in the 2007-08 school year, when he was 14 and suffering from autism, Asperger's syndrome, bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

D.A. had been educated in the city's public schools until grade six, when he entered the Rebecca School, a private institution not approved by the city that charges $84,900 in annual tuition."

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