Rules Against Parents in Special Education Case
The Associated Press, November 14, 2005
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The Supreme Court ruled today that parents who demand better
special education programs for their children have the burden of
proof in the challenges.
The 6-2 decision, written by retiring Justice Sandra Day
O'Connor, said that if parents challenge a program, they have
the burden in an administrative hearing of showing that the
program is insufficient. If schools bring a complaint, the
burden rests with them, O'Connor wrote.
The ruling is a loss for a Maryland family that contested the
special education program designed for their son with attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The case required the court to interpret the Individuals With
Disabilities Act, which does not specifically say whether
parents or schools have the burden of proof in disputes.
The family's attorney, William Hurd, unsuccessfully argued that
when there are disagreements between schools and parents,
education officials have better access to relevant facts and
Chief Justice John Roberts had recused himself from the case,
because attorneys from his old law firm represented the school
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer wrote separate
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