Mr. P. v. West Hartford Board of Education

885 F.3d 735 (2018)

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Mr. P. v. West Hartford Board of Education

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
885 F.3d 735 (2018)

  • Written by Alexander Hager-DeMyer, JD

Facts

MP (plaintiff) was a high school student in the West Hartford school system (school) (defendant). MP began failing classes, expressing suicidal ideations, and was hospitalized. The school created a planning team to address MP’s difficulties and found that MP qualified for § 504 accommodations under the Rehabilitation Act but not special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). MP stopped attending school, and the planning team arranged homebound tutoring, which was implemented inconsistently. MP’s parents (plaintiffs) referred MP for special education, but at the referral meeting, MP’s parents stated that MP had shown behavioral improvement due to new medication. The planning team denied special education, continued homebound tutoring, and ordered further psychological and psychiatric evaluations of MP. After more issues arose, the planning team met again to discuss MP’s evaluations and special education options. The team referred MP for special education services under an emotional-disturbance disability. The team created an individualized education program (IEP) for MP’s next two years, but MP’s parents were dissatisfied with the program created for MP’s senior year. MP’s parents requested a due-process hearing, alleging multiple procedural IDEA violations, including the school’s failure to timely meet its Child Find obligation, a failure to provide adequate tutoring, and a failure to draft a sufficient IEP, effectively impeding MP’s free appropriate public education (FAPE). The hearing officer found that the school committed procedural IDEA violations but did not deny MP a FAPE. MP’s parents appealed in district court, but the court granted summary judgment for the school. MP’s parents appealed to the Second Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Koeltl, J.)

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