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School District requiring IDEA evaluation over parental consent
Filed: October 8, 2004
Nature of Case: Mr. and Mrs. D removed their special needs son from public school and had him privately evaluated at their own expense, choosing to waive any right for a FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) for their son. The school district, however, has insisted that it must evaluate the child, whether Mr. and Mrs. D consent to it or not, and it initiated a due process hearing. The independent hearing officer ruled against Mr. and Mrs. D on June 15, 2005. HSLDA appealed this decision to the State Review Officer, who again ruled against the family on May 16, 2006.
Status: HSLDA filed a civil lawsuit in federal court on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. D on June 14, 2006. In the meantime, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has promulgated a new, unambiguous IDEA regulation. Based on comments HSLDA submitted after the proposed regulation was published, the DOE changed the final regulation to say that school districts may not compel homeschoolers to submit their children to evaluations. We subsequently filed a motion for summary judgement, which the court granted, fully agreeing that the parents could not be forced into an evaluation.
The judge’s decision stated, “I find that the IDEA does not permit a school district to compel the evaluation of a student where the student’s parent has objected to such an evaluation and has refused to accept publicly-funded special-education services.” The court reiterated the Eighth Circuit’s decision in Fitzgerald, the federal appellate court decision HSLDA won in 2006, which stated that such a compelled evaluation “would have no purpose” and be “pointless.”
Last Updated: February 20, 2009