In a recent court decision, Madison Meares v. Rim of the World Unified School District, the federal judge ruled that a gender-specific one-to-one aide, in this case a male aide, was required to prevent escalation of the student’s sexual behaviors and provide him with proper supervision in the locker room.
The boy's IEP failed to directly address his sexual and aggressive behavior toward women. The evidence showed that he responded more appropriately to male staff, and assigning him a female one-to-one aide was not reasonably calculated to enable him to receive educational benefits to which he was entitled.
Of note is that in a lower court, the administrative law judge who heard this case before it reached the federal district court had concluded that an incident that administrators called sexual assault was inadmissible because it occurred following the boy’s IEP meeting. However, the federal judge disagreed with the lower court's conclusion. Instead, the federal court found that the state was on notice of a flaw in the boy's IEP of failing to offer a one-to-one male aide and was responsible for correcting it.
Ultimately, the federal court concluded that the school district should have corrected the student’s deficient IEP, and by failing to make this correction, the school district denied him a FAPE.
Martha Millar Law-A special education law firm serving California students