Doe v. East Lyme Board of Education
Under the IDEA, or Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, a "stay put" is a procedural right that is activated as soon as a planning and placement team reaches an impasse. 20 United States Code §1415(j) states, "during the pendancy of any proceedings conducted pursuant to this section . . . the child shall remain in the then-current educational placement." Allegedly, the defendant board of education sought to change a child's placement, after the parties accepted the IEP, or individual education plan. The District Court rejected both the board's claim that the child never obtained the right to "stay put" at the Solomon Schechter Academy and the board's objection to the date that the stay-put right was activated. The plaintiff is entitled to reimbursement from the date the dispute arose to the date the dispute was resolved. The District Court also found that the proposed individual education plan for the 2009-to-2010 school year did not violate procedural requirements. The board of education reviewed evaluations and provided the plaintiff mother, Jane Doe, the opportunity to participate in the planning and placement team's June 2009 hearing. The IDEA does not require the provision of every special service possible to maximize the disabled child's potential. The proposed individual education plan for the 2009-to-2010 school year included reading instruction, speech therapy and a case manager. That IEP was adequate to provide the student a free and appropriate public education. The board of education also argued that because the plaintiff mother, Jane Doe, did not request an IEP for the 2010-to-2011 school year and presumably would not have accepted any placement other than the Solomon Schechter Academy, the board's failure to propose an IEP did not constitute a failure to provide a free and appropriate public education. Doe continued to send the board of education evaluations and requests for reimbursement. When it failed to convene a planning and placement team for the 2010-to-2011 school year, the board of education denied Jane Doe the opportunity to participate in the development of an individual education plan and violated the plaintiff's right to a free and appropriate public education.