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Cedar Rapids Community School District v. Garret F. 526 US 66 (1999)

US Supreme Court

This case is about whether meaningful access to the public schools will be assured, not the level of education that a school must finance once access is attained. It is undisputed that the services at issue must be provided if Garret is to remain in school. Under the statute, precedent, and the purposes of the IDEA, the District must fund such "related services" [nursing services] in order to help guarantee that all students are integrated into the public schools.

Respondent Garret F. was paralyzed from the neck down as a result of an accident and was dependent on a ventilator.  He required certain physical help to attend school and needed continuous one -to-one nursing care in school. The court of appeals agreed with the family that nursing care in this case was a related service, not a medical service.  Under IDEA, nursing must be provided by the District.  The District also raised the cost of the care, stating that it was an undue burden - however, IDEA does not use cost in defining related service.  The Supreme Court affirmed the judgement of the Court of Appeals.

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