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Legal Memorandum: FAPE Dependency on an IEP

Issue: Whether a school district can provide a student FAPE without implementing an IEP?

Area of Law: Education Law
Keywords: FAPE; IEP
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 381 F.3d 194; 238 F.3d 755
Cited Statutes: 20 U.S.C. § 1401(8)(D); 34 C.F.R. § 300.342(b)(1)(i)
Date: 01/01/2005

Board of Educ. v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176 (1982) (FAPE “consists of educational instruction specially designed to meet the unique needs of the handicapped child, supported by such services as are necessary to permit the child ‘to benefit’ from the instruction, . . . [is] “provided at public expense and under public supervision, meet[s] the State’s educational standards, approximate[s] the grade levels used in the State’s regular education, and comport[s] with the child’s IEP.”) (emphasis added).

Shore Reg. High Sch. Bd. of Educ. v. P.S., 381 F.3d 194 (3d Cir. 2004) (“States provide a FAPE through an individualized education program (‘IEP’).”).

20 U.S.C. § 1401(8)(D) (defining FAPE as special education and related services that “are provided in conformity with the individualized education program required.”).

34 C.F.R. § 300.342(b)(1)(i) (“Each public agency shall ensure that [a]n IEP [I]s in effect before special education and related services are provided to an eligible child under this part.”)  (Note:  since an IEP is required before special education can be provided, there can be no FAPE until an IEP is implemented).

See generally Knable v. Bexley City Sch. Dist., 238 F.3d 755 (6th Cir. 2001).

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