Education Law Topics: Student & Parent Rights

Threats of Violence May Justify Student's Suspension or Expulsion

The Ninth Circuit appropriately summarized the difficult job of a school administrator in Wynar v. Douglas County School District when Circuit Judge Margaret McKeown noted that “[w]ith the advent of the Internet and in the wake of school shootings at Columbine, Santee, Newtown and many others, school administrators face the daunting task of evaluating potential threats of violence and keeping their students safe without impinging on their constitutional rights. It is a feat like tightrope balancing, where an error in judgment can lead to a tragic result.”

Court Rules Schools Must Meet Stricter Standards Under ADA than IDEA

The IDEA and the ADA are related, but they are not the same.

The beginning premise is simple enough:  When a disabled student requests help under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)(20 USC §1412) in order to obtain a “free appropriate public education,” commonly known as a FAPE in education law lingo, school districts must develop an Individualized Education Plan (“IEP”) to bridge the gap. 

Cyber-Bullying Update - U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review in Three Cyber-Bullying Cases

We previously reported on the decision in J.C. v. Beverly Hills Schools, 757 F.Supp.2d 1094 (C.D. Cal. 2010),  a case that held in favor of a suspended student and  established the principle that in order to discipline students for off-campus Internet bullying, school administrators must establish that the activity in question had a substantial disruptive impact on school related activities. 

Students First Amendment Rights Upheld in Major Cases Related to Cyber-Bullying; Third Circuit Affirms Rule That There Must be a Substantial Disruption At The School Site In Order To Justify Discipline For Posting On-Line Content

Cyber-bullying is a major topic of discussion in every school district in America.  Not surprisingly, this issue is finding its way into the courthouses all across the country, too.

Forest Grove Update – Parents Denied Reimbursement Under IDEA Statute in Groundbreaking FAPE Case

In the context of free appropriate public education (FAPE) litigation under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the words "Forest Grove" mean many things, especially to lawyers.

This is because the case bearing that caption has landed in several courts and there are multiple published opinions which bear the name “Forest Grove.” 

IDEA Rights – Court Awards Full Reimbursement for Less Than Perfect Private Placement

In Florence County School District Four v. Carter, 510 U.S. 7 (1993), the U.S. Supreme Court set minimum criteria that must be met before a guardian may obtain reimbursement for the unilateral placement of a child in a private school.

Parent Who Loses IDEA Case Is Not Liable for School District's Attorney's Fees, Unless the Claim is Frivolous

Parents can breathe a sigh of relief now that the Ninth Circuit has decided the case of RP Prescott Unified School District.  In that case, parents sued a school district, contending that the special education services for their autistic son were inadequate. But they lost, and rubbing salt in the wound, the trial court awarded the winning school district a whopping $140,000 in legal fees that had been incurred to defend the case.

California Supreme Court Rules that School District May be Sued for “Negligent Hiring”

The California Supreme Court has ruled that a school district may face liability if it negligently hired a known child abuser and then allowed the person to closely interact with students as a counselor without adequate supervision.

California Supreme Court Upholds Resident Tuition Break for Illegal Aliens; Federal Immigration Law Does Not Preempt Education Code Provision That Allows Certain Illegal Aliens to Pay In State Tuition

Illegal immigration is a hot topic, and so are laws that allow undocumented aliens to enjoy benefits provided to legal residents.  In Martinez v. Regents of the University of California, the California Supreme Court has upheld a provision in the state Education Code that allows certain illegal aliens to enjoy favorable tuition rates that apply to legal California residents.

Federal Rehabilitation Act Is Potent Weapon For Disabled Students Because It Authorizes Damages, While IDEA Statute Is Restricted to Injuncitve Relief

When it comes to disabled students, there are two potent weapons for parents in the form of the Federal Rehabilitation Act (29 USC § 794) and the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA,” 20 USC § 1400, et seq.).  The Rehabilitation Act forbids organizations that receive federal funding, including public schools, from discriminating against people with disabilities.  Thus, section 504 of the Act states that “no otherwise qualified individual with a disability . . .