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.