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Review of Disability Laws
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act came into force in 1975 after the US Congress approved of its suitability towards offering children with disabilities the opportunity to acquire free public education which is duly appropriate (McBride, Dumont & Willis, 2011). This essay seeks to discuss the Doug C. v. State of Hawaii Department of Education (2013) case as well as offer a personal opinion on the Court’s ruling in this case. The core issues of the case revolve around the fact, whether the State of Hawaii’s Department of Education fully met the requirements stipulated under IDEA in inviting Doug C. in inviting him for an IEP meeting scheduled for November 2010 (Paez, 2012).
The plaintiff, Doug C. whose son, Spencer, had been diagnosed as autistic at the age of two was eligible to receive special education services as prescribed by IDEA (Paez, 2012). Prior to the commencement of the school district’s fifth grade year, the Hawaii Department of Education’s Individualized Education Program for Spencer decided to place him at Horizon’s Academy, a privately run education institution. The Department was to cater for Spencer’s IEP’s tuition fees and related expenses (Paez, 2012).
On the 9th of November 2010, the Department held its yearly IEP meeting despite the fact that Doug position was such that he was unable to be in attendance (Paez, 2012). At the meeting Spencer’s IEP placement was switched to one of the Department’s education institution known as Maui High School. This had effectively served to deny Spencer of free, appropriate public education (FAPE) (McBride, Dumont & Willis, 2011).
Scheduling this particular IEP meeting was marred with a number of challenges. The Department’s panel testified to the effect that the meeting had been initially slated for the 28th of October. Doug provided that he and the Department had tentatively agreed to have the meeting during the last days of the same month. Maui High School’s special education coordinator called Doug on the 22nd of October to get his confirmation to attend the 28th October meeting (Paez, 2012). Doug provided that he was non committal on the particular day and the two settled on the 4th or 5th of November tentative on Doug’s confirmation of his attendance. On the 23th, Doug called Waiau, the special education coordinator and settled on the 9th of November. Doug sent an email to Waiau on the 9th November at 9.27 am informing him of his illness and inability to be in attendance (Paez, 2012). Doug suggested to have the meeting held on either the 16th or 17th of November. Spencer’s yearly review deadline was the 13th of November. As some of the Departments members were not available on the 12th, the Department decided to met on the 10th or 11th. Doug responded to the effect that he could perhaps be available during the two days. He was ill during the two days and could not attend. Waiau suggested that Doug could participate via phone or the Internet (Paez, 2012). Doug objected providing he wanted to be available in person. Unfortunately, he bacame ill at the time.
The meeting went ahead on the 9th during which Spencer was placed from Horizons Academy to the Department’s Maui High School (Paez, 2012). A follow up meeting was held on the 7th of December in review of Spencer’s IEP. Doug duly filed a complaint on the due process on the 6th providing that his exclusion from the earlier meeting denied his son’s FAPE. Doug wanted Spencer’s placement at Horizon’s Academy upheld (Paez, 2012).
The district court was of the view that the department did not deny Doug’s son his FAPE and that he failed to show the department’s failure in allowing him to participate in the November 9th meeting (Paez, 2012). Upon appeal, the ninth Circuit determined that Spencer should continue with his IEP at Horizon’s Academy. The Ninth Circuit referred the case to the district court which ruled that the Department was under obligation to pay for Spencer’s tuition at Horizon’s Academy (Paez, 2012).
In conclusion, I am of the opinion that the Court’s should have sanctioned Doug for his poor committal towards his son’s education. The Court was right towards ensuring Spencer’s FAPE was upheld. However, Spencer’s father showed poor judgment on desiring the best for his child and the Court’s should have mentioned so in its judgment. Special education requires dedicated cooperation from the Education Departments as well as from the individual parents.
McBride, G., Dumont, R. & Willis, J. O. (2011).Essentials of IDEA for Assessment Professionals. Hoboken, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Paez, R. A. (2012). Opinion. United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, No. 12-15079. Retrieved from http://www.wrightslaw.com/law/caselaw/2013/9th.doug.c.v.hawaii.pdf