Saturday, September 26, 2009

NYCDOE Upbraided for Placement Procedures

A child with severe allergies was determined by his physician and by the New York City Department of Education's Committee on Special Education to require an educational setting with central air conditioning. The NYCDOE refused to provide such a setting, relying on NYC Department of Health doctors, who had never seen the child nor reviewed his medical records, to overrule the CSE's determination. An impartial hearing officer found that the DOE violated both the rights of the parent and the child and ordered an appropriate air conditioned setting be provided to the child to accommodate him for his disability. Click here to read the entire decision.

The IHO, in fact, concluded that the NYCDOE's "failure to include the Parent in the placement decision and the inappropriate deferral of the program and placement decisions to DOH physicians constituted a gross deprivation of FAPE which deprived the Parent of the opportunity to meaningfully participate in the development of her son's special education program and placement." Needless to say, the NYCDOE's existing policies and practices are to "eliminate[] the Parent from the placement process by bifurcating the CSE program recommendation and placement process[,]" as "[t]he usual DOE policy is to have the CSE defer the actual placement decision to a placement officer." This decision suggests that NYCDOE may soon be facing regular challenges to its illegal placement policy should it not conform its procedures to the law.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Supreme Court Finds in Favor of Parents in Reimbursement Case

In Forest Grove School District v. T.A., the Supreme Court held that IDEA authorizes reimbursement for private special education services when a public school fails to provide a FAPE and the private-school placement is appropriate, regardless of whether the child previously received special education services through the public school.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

New York Court Rules on Educational Rights of Non-custodial Parents

In Fuentes v. Board of Educ. of City of New York, 12 N.Y.3d 309 (2009), the New York Court of Appeals was presented with the following certified question (as reformulated by the court): "Whether, under New York Law, the non-custodial parent of a child retains decision-making authority pertaining to the education of the child where (1) the custodial parent is granted exclusive custody of the child and (2) the divorce decree and custody order are silent as to the right to control such decisions." The court answered this question in the negative.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Interested in Nationwide law changes

Since I am in WA, I am interested in information for changes in laws nationwide. Thank you for putting this blog together. If Andrew comes back to Washington state to a conference, I am interested in where he will be appearing as well.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Reminder: Proposed Part 200 Amendments

On April 8, 2009, the latest proposed amendments to the New York State Education Department's Part 200 regulations were published in the NYS Register, and are also available on-line, as is the public hearing announcement.

The deadline for receipt of written comments is May 26, 2009; written comments may be submitted to: VESID, Special Education Policy, Room 1624, One Commerce Plaza, Albany, New York 12234, Attention: Public Comment - Proposed Amendment. Comments may also be faxed to 518-473-5387 or emailed to

Public hearings will be held in Binghamton (April 27th), Albany (May 11th), and New York City (May 12th). Further details are provided in the public hearing announcement linked above.

New York SRO Upholds Reimbursement Award

In a recent decision, SRO Appeal No. 09-017, New York state review officer Paul F. Kelly upheld an impartial hearing officer's award of tuition at the Kildonan School for the 2008/09 school year. The school district conceded that it had denied the child a free appropriate public education, but contested the appropriateness of Kildonan for this dyslexic child, arguing, among other things, that Kildonan's five-day residential program was overly restrictive. The SRO agreed with the IHO that the lack of an available day program for the student weighed in favor of finding Kildonan to provide an appropriate program in the least restrictive environment.

Welcome to the Cuddy Law Office Blog!

At the Law Office of Andrew K. Cuddy, the attorneys and their staff work relentlessly to vindicate the educational rights of children with disabilities. We have started this blog to foster discussion of cutting edge issues in special education law, both here in New York, and around the nation. We invite parents, attorneys and lay advocates to join the discussion!