Articles Posted in Education Law

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Plaintiff filed suit alleging that defendant, the principal of Capital Prep, violated plaintiff's First Amendment right of freedom of assembly and his state-law right to be free from the intentional infliction of emotional distress in banning plaintiff from attending virtually all Capital Prep events, on or off school property, because of his opposition to defendant's bullying and harassing efforts to compel plaintiff's daughter to remain a member of the girls varsity basketball team. The district court denied defendant's motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity. The Second Circuit dismissed the appeal insofar as it related to the claimed due process violation, holding that the claim was not properly before the court. As to the First Amendment claim, the court held that defendant's motion for summary judgment was properly denied to the extent that plaintiff complained of being banned from events beyond school property and from sports contests on school property to which the public was invited; but defendant was entitled to qualified immunity as a matter of law to the extent that he banned plaintiff from school property otherwise. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and dismissed in part. View "Johnson v. Perry" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, on behalf of herself and her autistic son, filed suit under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq., against the DOE, seeking tuition reimbursement and claiming procedural and substantive violations of the IDEA. The district court affirmed the denial of relief. The court concluded that there were no procedural violations of the IDEA. However, the court concluded that plaintiff's son was denied a free and appropriate education (FAPE) because there were significant deficiencies rendering the individualized education program (IEP) inadequate. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "A.M. v. N.Y.C. Department of Education" on Justia Law

Posted in: Education Law

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Plaintiffs, individually and on behalf of their respective daughters J.C. and T.H., filed suit against District Defendants and NYSED Defendants. Plaintiffs claim that the district court erred in concluding that plaintiffs did not make a prima facie showing of discrimination against District Defendants pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), 29 U.S.C. 794 et seq. In this case, plaintiffs' disparate impact claim relies exclusively on data concerning students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq. The court concluded that, aside from their receipt of special education services, the record is devoid of any evidence as to whether the students included in the data qualify as disabled under the ADA or Section 504. Because, as a matter of law, an IDEA disability does not necessarily constitute a disability under the ADA or Section 504, the court concluded that plaintiffs’ data does not establish “a significantly adverse or disproportionate impact on persons of a particular type produced by the defendant’s facially neutral acts or practices.” Therefore, the court concluded that plaintiffs failed to make their prima facie showing that District Defendants’ academic intervention services (AIS) policy adversely impacted individuals protected by the ADA and Section 504. The court concluded that the district court properly entered summary judgment in favor of District Defendants as to the ADA and Section 504 claims. Likewise, the district court properly entered summary judgment on their derivative Section 1983 claim against the District Defendants. The court affirmed the judgment. View "B.C. v. Mount Vernon Sch. Dist." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, students who are currently enrolled in the District's public school system, filed suit alleging that a majority of the School Board are of the Orthodox/Hasidic Jewish faith or are sympathetic to the interests of the Orthodox/Hasidic Jewish community. Plaintiffs claim that the Board Defendants have promoted the Hasidic Jewish faith in violation of the First Amendment. Plaintiffs argue that defendants' unconstitutional actions contributed to the defunding of the public school system, which in turn injured plaintiffs by depriving them of educational opportunities and by damaging their psychological and mental well‐being.The court held that plaintiffs lack standing to assert an Establishment Clause claim against defendants because they are only indirectly affected by the conduct alleged to violate the Establishment Clause. Therefore, it is unnecessary to decide whether defendants are entitled to absolute or qualified immunity. View "Montesa v. Schwartz" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a Columbia University student, appealed the dismissal of his amended complaint for failure to state a claim. Plaintiff alleged that the University violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq., and state law, by acting with sex bias in investigating him and suspending him for an alleged sexual assault. The court concluded that the complaint meets the low standard described in Littlejohn v. City of New York, by alleging facts giving rise to a plausible minimal inference of bias sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss, which the court held applies to Title IX cases. In this case, the complaint alleged that both the investigator and the panel declined to seek out potential witnesses plaintiff had identified as sources of information favorable to him; the investigator and the panel failed to act in accordance with University procedures designed to protect accused students; and the investigator, the panel, and the reviewing Dean reached conclusions that were incorrect and contrary to the weight of the evidence. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded. View "Doe v. Columbia University" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, on behalf of herself and her son, K.T., filed suit under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq., against the DOE. At issue is the adequacy of three individualized education programs (IEP), which were characterized by a pattern of procedural violations of the IDEA committed by the DOE, and whether these errors deprived K.T. of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for a period of three consecutive years. The court concluded that the procedural violations in formulating each IEP, when taken together, deprived K.T. of a FAPE for each school year. The DOE displayed a pattern of indifference to the procedural requirements of the IDEA and carelessness in formulating K.T.’s IEPs over the period of many years, repeatedly violating its obligations under the statute, which consequently resulted in the deprivation of important educational benefits to which K.T. was entitled by law. Accordingly, the court reversed the judgment of the district court and remanded for further proceedings. On remand, the district court is directed to consider, in the first instance, what, if any, relief plaintiff is entitled to as an award for K.T.'s FAPE deprivations. View "L.O. ex rel. K.T. v. N.Y.C. Dep’t of Educ." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a class action alleging that federal student loans were fraudulently procured on their behalf when the Wilford beauty schools falsely certified that plaintiffs had an ability‐to‐benefit (ATB) from the education they received from Wilfred. Plaintiffs allege that the DOE’s refusal to temporarily suspend collection of the student loan debt of putative class members, and refusal to send them notice of their potential eligibility for a discharge, was arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 701. The court concluded that it has jurisdiction to review this case because plaintiffs had standing when they filed their class action complaint and this case fits into the narrow exception to the mootness doctrine for class action claims that are “inherently transitory.” On the merits, the court held that plaintiffs are entitled to judicial review because there is sufficient law to apply to the challenged agency decisions. The text of the relevant statute directs that the DOE “shall” discharge a borrower’s loan liability when a school has falsely certified a student’s ATB.  DOE’s regulations and informal agency guidance direct that the DOE “shall” temporarily suspend collection on loans and notify borrowers of their possible eligibility for a discharge when the DOE has reliable information that a borrower “may be eligible” for discharge.  Because plaintiffs' claims are judicially reviewable under the APA, the court vacated and remanded. View "Salazar v. King" on Justia Law

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The Department appealed a judgment awarding plaintiffs reimbursement under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq., for one year of private school education for their daughter, L.K. The court concluded that the Department’s refusal to discuss the bullying of L.K. with her parents during the process of developing L.K.’s individualized education program (IEP), violated the IDEA. The court also concluded that plaintiffs have met their burden to show that their choice of a private placement for L.K. was appropriate and that the equities favored reimbursing them. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "T.K. v. N.Y.C. Dept. of Educ." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a reimbursement action for a unilateral private placement under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq., challenging the adequacy of the public school proposed by the school district for the placement of their child. The court found that the due process complaint’s challenges to the school were in fact substantive attacks on the child's individualized education plan (IEP) rather than prospective challenges to the school's capacity to provide the services mandated by the child's IEP. Therefore, the court agreed with the SRO and district court’s ultimate conclusions that the school district was not required to present evidence regarding the adequacy of the school at the impartial hearing, and the school district provided the child with a free appropriate education plan (FAPE). The court further clarified its decision in R.E. v. N.Y.C. Dep’t of Educ., which imposes no such requirement. Consequently, plaintiffs are not entitled to reimbursement for their unilateral placement of the child in private school for the 2012 school year. The court affirmed the judgment. View "M.O. v. N.Y.C. Dep't of Educ." on Justia Law

Posted in: Education Law

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The Board appealed the district court's holding that the Board violated the stay-put provision of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1415(j), and awarding reimbursement to plaintiffs. Plaintiffs cross-appealed. The court held that the appropriate equitable relief for a stay-put violation is reimbursement or compensatory education (or both) for the full value of services that the educational agency was required to fund, not the (lesser) value of services the parent was able to afford. The court further held that an educational agency’s obligation to maintain stay-put placement is triggered when an administrative due process proceeding is initiated, not when an impasse is reached. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment in most respects, but vacated the award of reimbursement and remanded for further proceedings. View "Doe v. East Lyme Bd. of Educ." on Justia Law

Posted in: Education Law