Supreme Court case that interprets and defines the statutory term, Free and Appropriate Public Education
Parents requested a sign language interpreter which was denied by the school district. The District Court found for the parents. Although the child performed better than the average child in her class and was advancing easily from grade to grade, she was not performing as well academically as she would without her handicap. Because of this disparity between the child's achievement and her potential, the court held that she was not receiving a "free appropriate public education," which the court defined as "an opportunity to achieve [her] full potential commensurate with the opportunity provided to other children." The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court found that a sign language interpreter was not required and that the school needed only to enable the child to benefit from the education program and pass from grade to grade.