Mother Challenges IEP for Lack of Emotional Support

by Joseph C. Maya on Apr. 26, 2017

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

Summary: Blog post about a mother who challenged her child's IEP on the basis that it did not provide for adequate emotional support.

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 Souza v. State, a mother filed an administrative appeal for the final decision of a hearing officer for the Connecticut State Department of Education regarding an education plan for her son.  When a court reviews the decision of an administrative agency such as the board of education, its judicial review of the conclusions of law reached administratively is limited. A court's ultimate duty is only to decide whether, in light of the evidence, an agency has acted unreasonably, arbitrarily, illegally, or in abuse of its discretion.

The student was an 11-year old who had been diagnosed with Autism and classified as having a learning disability. On appeal, the mother challenged the hearing administrator’s conclusion that the Board's Individualized Education Program (IEP) was appropriate. An IEP is a written statement of an education program designed to meet a child’s individual needs. All children require an IEP to receive special education services. The administrator had concluded that the son did not need out of town placement or an independent student evaluation.

The court concluded that it could not set aside the administrator’s conclusion and hold the IEP defective simply because it did not address "emotional" needs. The IEP allowed sufficient access for the child to receive educational benefits. In finding that no out of town placement was necessary, the court found that the record supported the administrator’s finding that it was not necessary based on the apparent success of the student's placement at the Intensive Education Academy. Finally, the court found no support for the mother's contention that in independent evaluation of the child should have been ordered by the hearing officer, particularly where the topic of assessment was not raised as an issue before the hearing officer.

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: Souza v. State, 2007 Conn. Super. LEXIS 3456, 2007 WL 4754963 (Conn. Super. Ct. Dec. 26, 2007)

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