On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to weigh in on on what counts as a child's 'stay put' placement. When a parent of a child with a disability disagrees with a school district as to whether the school district has provided the child with a free appropriate public education, the parent may file for a due process hearing to resolve the matter. Until due process hearing procedures are complete, a special education student is entitled to remain in his or her current educational placement, unless the parties agree otherwise. This placement is commonly referred to as 'stay put'. For purposes of stay put, the current educational placement is typically the placement called for in the student's individualized education program (IEP), which has been implemented prior to the dispute arising.
In N.E. v. Seattle School District, N.E., who is a child with a disability, received an individual education program (IEP) with two stages and two placements. The first stage would last the final three-and-a-half weeks of the 2014-2015 school year. His parents agreed with this stage. But his parents disagreed with with the second stage of the IEP in which N.E. was to be placed in a self-contained class.
Over the summer, the family moved to Seattle. Before the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, the Seattle School District proposed that N.E. be placed in a class setting similar to the self-contained class called for in the second stage of N.E.s IEP with which his parents disagreed.
The Ninth Circuit ruled that because the second stage of the IEP had already been scheduled at the time the family moved to Seattle, N.E.s then-current educational placement was the second stage placement in which he was to be placed in a self-contained class, even though his parents filed for due process during the summer before the second stage of N.E.'s IEP had been implemented.
By declining to consider the case, the Supreme Court lets stand the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Martha Millar Law--A special education law firm
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