Throughout this course the founding principles of the main federal statute, the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), have been explored. Specific attention has been given to the core tenets of this comprehensive law:
IDEA’s primary purpose is to assure that students with disabilities receive sufficient services throughout their educational career to enable them to lead productive adult lives.
The IDEA contains several components that are designed to provide specific rights and protections to afford parents an equal partnership in the design and implementation of their child’s IEP. These procedures also give families and school systems exclusive mechanisms by which to resolve their disputes. This means that, for example, a school system cannot take certain actions with respect to their child such as formal assessment or the alteration of their academic placement, without the express consent of the parent. Additionally, in providing a free appropriate public education, students cannot be suspended from school for more than five consecutive days for a conduct violation that was a manifestation of their disability (Honig v. Doe, 2012).
While parents are required to be an integral part of the decision-making and educational planning process, they also have their right to disagree with the recommendations made by the school system. When a disagreement occurs, certain procedural safeguards are triggered which are intended to assist the parties in the successful resolution of the issue.
The 1988 Supreme Court case Honig v. Doe (Links to an external site.)involved two boys with disabilities, both of whom were harshly disciplined by their respective schools for aggressive behavior displayed at school. Due to the extreme behaviors exhibited, the two boys were recommended for expulsion. They were suspended indefinitely, until which time the school district completed the expulsion proceedings. The parents of both boys disagreed with the unilateral decision of the district regarding their exclusion from school and as a result, filed suit against the district.
According to the IDEA, children with disabilities are legally required to stay in their current “…educational placements pending the completion of any review proceedings unless parents and state or local educational officials agree otherwise” (Honig v. Doe, 2012, Facts of the Case, para. 2). The Supreme Court determined that each boy’s behavior was directly related to their disabilities; therefore, the school board’s decision violated the intent of the IDEA.
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