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Legal Memorandum: Conduct in Violation of IDEA in NJ

Issue: Under the law of the Third Circuit and New Jersey, is the failure to develop and implement an individualized education program a violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act?

Area of Law: Administrative Law, Administrative Law & Regulation (Federal and State), Education Law
Keywords: Violation of IDEA; Procedural violation; Failure to develop and implement IEP
Jurisdiction: Federal, New Jersey
Cited Cases: 458 U.S. 176; 336 F.3d 260; 381 F.3d 194; 286 F. Supp. 2d 380; 172 F.3d 238
Cited Statutes: 20 U.S.C. § 1401(8), § 1414(d)(2)(A); 34 C.F.R. § 300.13 , §§ 300.340-350, § 300.342 ; N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.7(a)(1), 6A:14-4.1(a)
Date: 03/01/2005

  The argument that a school board or district need not comply with the strict guidelines established by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for the development and implementation of an individualized education program (IEP) for a particular student, but rather need only afford that student some services results from a misreading of the applicable case law.  (See, e.g., Ridgewood Bd. of Educ. v. N.E., 172 F.3d 238 (3d Cir. 1999). 

It is true that the case of Board of Educ. v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176, 102 S. Ct. 3034, 73 L. Ed. 2d 690 (1982), states that a school district or board need not maximize a student’s educational potential, but rather need only provide him or her a meaningful educational benefit, which is properly measured by educational progress.  Far from concluding that a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) is provided by any school program or services that confer some educational benefit upon a child, the Court in Rowley established detailed requirements incumbent upon the Board when extending special education.  Board of Educ. v. Rowley, 458 U.S. at 188-89. 

Almost as a checklist for adequacy under the Act, the definition [of free and appropriate public education] also requires that such instruction and services be provided at public expense and under public supervision, meet the State’s educational standards, approximate the grade levels used in the State’s regular education, and comport with the child’s IEP.  Thus, if personalized […]

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