Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Special Needs Children and The U.S. Supreme Court - news

While not probably technically within the brief for this blog, I really think this is important news that does affect quite too many people. At issue is whether parents should be able to sue a school for failing to comply with the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act).

Parents unhappy with a district's plan can appeal the decision through an administrative process. If they remain dissatisfied, they can file a civil lawsuit on their child's behalf, federal courts have said.

At that point, however, they must find a lawyer, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the Winkelmans' case. People who are not lawyers can represent themselves in court proceedings, but not other parties. The appeals court said the law requires the child to be the plaintiff.

The Bush administration and 12 Democratic lawmakers, including Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, have sided with the Winkelmans. They contend Congress clearly intended the special education law to allow parents to go into court without a lawyer's help.

The AP report can be seen here.

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