The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

BSEA #09-7983 Sutton

Date: 
01/26/2010
Author: 
William Crane Hearing Officer

Hearing Officer (HO) determined that parents were entitled to reimbursement for program they privately provided for thei son, who was a 13 year old boy with severe neurological deficits, including apraxia, gross motor and need for help with activities of daily living (ADL's).  The district proposed the Cotting School, but parents withdrew the student and developed an individualized program for their son which included tutoring and therapy.  Parents requested reimbursement for their out-of-pocket expenses.  The HO ordered Sutton to reimburse parents as they requested.  Although parents gave late notice to the town about the student's withdrawal, the HO would not reduce the reimbursement.  He stated, "Just as the First Circuit has concluded that failure of a school district to follow IDEA procedures should have no legal consequence unless educational harm can be shown,[1] so too Parents should not be penalized for failing to comply with a procedural requirement if their failure has not harmed Sutton."

[1] Roland M. v. Concord Sch. Comm., 910 F.2d 983, 994-95 (1st Cir. 1990).

Limit Offer