21 Year Old Convict Entitled to Special Education, Says Court

by Joseph C. Maya on Apr. 26, 2017

Other Education Civil & Human Rights  Civil Rights Government  State and Local 

Summary: Blog post about an incarcerated student who was determined to be eligible for special education services.

If you have a question or concern about special education law, school administration, federal standards, or the overall rights of a student, please feel free to call the expert education law attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. in Westport today at (203) 221-3100 .

In the case of Unified School District No. 1 v. Connecticut Department of Education, a school district appealed a decision of a hearing officer of the Connecticut Department of Education to grant a student a one year compensatory education. The superior court initially entered judgment in favor of the Department of Education’s decision. The school sought further review.

The school district contended it did not need to provide special education services to an incarcerated student that had been found incompetent to stand trial in his criminal proceedings. The student is twenty-one years old, who, at the age of eleven, moved to Connecticut from Puerto Rico. At the age of twelve, a public school psychologist found him to have an IQ of 61, placing him in the mildly mentally disabled range. His access to special education was interrupted when the student was arrested at the age of 15. The school district's claim of laches, or unreasonable delay in making a legal claim, in a six-month delay in requesting services, was rejected because there was no unreasonable delay or prejudice shown, and any delay was not attributable to the student. The appellate court found that inactivity by the agency charged with representing a student should not cause a student to lose entitlement.

School districts were held to have the obligation to identify special education students, and to retrieve a student's individual education program, upon becoming aware of its existence. The claim that the student was not entitled to compensatory education because he had not regressed was irrelevant to the analysis of the education given to him in the absence of an individualized education program. The fact the student was found incompetent to stand trial in a criminal matter was not relevant to the civil proceedings. The judgment was affirmed.

If you have a child with a disability and have questions about special education law, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq., at 203-221-3100, or at JMaya@mayalaw.com, to schedule a free consultation.

Source: Unified Sch. Dist. No. 1 v. Conn. Dep't of Educ., 64 Conn. App. 273, 780 A.2d 154, 2001 Conn. App. LEXIS 371 (Conn. App. Ct. 2001)

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