Breaking News, Great Victory for Disabled Students

Breaking news: Supreme Court ruling allows publicly funded private schools for special ed students

In a new Supreme Court ruling today, it was decided that parents who send their special needs children to private schools due to a public school district’s inability to fulfill the child’s needs will be eligible for reimbursement of the cost of the private school from the public school district that is supposed to serve them.

Justice John Paul Stevens said, “We conclude that IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) authorizes reimbursement for the cost of special education services when a school district fails to provide a FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) and the private-school placement is appropriate, regardless of whether the child previously received special education or related services through the public school”.

Time for Public Schools to put up or shut up
Rob O’Donnell
Diabetes School Advocate

Part of me wants to be thrilled that special needs children are finally going to have a shot at getting their needs met. (One of my beloved nephews is autistic) But with so many school districts laying off teachers and scrambling to provide a decent education with ever decreasing tax bases, I can’t get too excited. So who should get the short end of the stick? Do we leave the money with the school district and serve the most children while possibly/probably underserving special needs children? Or should we reimburse private schools and leave less resources for the rest of the children attending public school? If I were Queen, I’d fund education very well, and cut other services as necessary.

How about a LINK to this specific ruling… please?!

Except… that private schools do not accomodate children with diabetes as a whole. Public schools are required to do so; private schools can opt out of having a full time school nurse. A lot of the private schools in our area employ an R.N., but on an extremely limited basis. And you will run into the same kind of problem… lay persons having to agree to give a child insulin, be it the teacher or a school secretary or aide. Chances are, they won’t want to do it. However, if you can find a private school that will accommodate your child, while the public school won’t, I am glad the ruling supports having the school district pay for the private school. I think if parents can take advantage of this ruling, the school districts would find it is less expensive to hire a full time nurse, rather than paying for private education for a lot of its students. I don’t know when it was that schools in many of the states decided the school nurse was an expendable position. Or that school nurses are only needed on a very part time basis. I probably am in the minority and would not want a teacher or secretary drawing up insulin and dosing our kid, regardless of the situation. I would allow them to verify numbers dialed into the pump, carb counts, where I could easily figure out if the pump calculations were accurate for carb counts given. And only if I were supervising via phone.