Judicial Interpretations

U.S. Supreme Court decisions
Schaffer v. Weast
On November 14, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Schaffer v. Weast, 546 U.S. 49, that it is the party which requests a hearing under IDEA who has the burden of proof in such an action.

Arlington v. Murphy
On June 26, 2006 the Supreme Court held in Arlington Central School Dist. Bd. of Ed. v. Murphy, 548 U.S. 291, that prevailing parents may not recover expert witness fees as part of the costs under 20 U.S.C.§ 1415(i)(3)(B).

Winkelman v. Parma City School District
On May 21, 2007 the Supreme Court held in Winkelman v. Parma City School District, 550 U.S. 516, that parents have independent enforceable rights under the IDEA and may appear pro se on behalf of their children.

Forest Grove School District v. T.A.
The case of Forest Grove School District v. T.A., 129 S.Ct. 2484, argued before the Supreme Court on April 28, 2009, addressed the issue of whether the parents of a student who has never received special education services from a public school district are potentially eligible for reimbursement of private school tuition for that student under the IDEA. On June 22, 2009 the Supreme Court held that parents of disabled children can seek reimbursement for private education expenses regardless whether their child had previously received special-education services from a public school. By a vote of six to three, the Court held that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) authorizes reimbursement whenever a public school fails to make a free appropriate public education (FAPE) available to a disabled child.

Cedar Rapids Community School Dist. v. Garret F.
RULE: Continuing nursing services is "related service" that district must provide under IDEA
- Ventilator-dependent student needs nurse/attendant with him all day and parents want school to pay for this nurse/attendant.

School says no, thinking this isn't a legal obligation (to provide 1:1 nursing).
- TEST applied (from Tatro)
* Related service? Yes: help kids benefit from school
* Medical service exemption? No, school nurse services not covered by exemption (pretty much only services covered by a doctor can be excluded). This is a service which must be paid for by the school. Cost of service is not a factor in determining whether it is required by IDEA. There is no undue burden exemption.