Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools
On October 31, 2016, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in this case involving the question whether the family of a disabled student may sue for damages under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and the Rehabilitation Act before exhausting the administrative remedies contained in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"). The family of Ehlena Fry, a student who was prohibited by her elementary school from attending school in the company of her service dog, wished to sue for emotional distress damages, which are not a recoverable remedy under the IDEA. If the questions and comments of the Justices during oral arguments are any indication, the following issues may bear on the Court's resolution: whether allowing suit sans administrative exhaustion "gut[s] the carefully written procedural system that the IDEA sets up"; whether the existence of one statute, the IDEA, which protects students with disabilities, precludes lawsuits under other similar statutes; and whether IDEA requires exhaustion only for cases related to the development of an education plan, and not cases involving "access," like this one.
Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District
On September 29, 2016, the Court granted certiorari to hear this case, which will clarify the parameters of the IDEA's "free appropriate public education" ("FAPE") requirement. Endrew's family moved Endrew, a student with autism, from his public school into a private school for students with autism because it believed that the public school was not providing Endrew with a FAPE. Endrew is an appeal from the Tenth Circuit, which held for the School District because the District had provided Endrew with "some educational benefit." The Supreme Court will decide whether the IDEA's FAPE provision requires a school district to provide a more robust array of services.
Gloucester County School Board v. G.G.
On October 28, 2016, the Court granted certiorari to hear this case involving the question whether a school district may prohibit a transgender student from using the restroom that conforms with his or her gender identity. The United States Department of Education issued guidance that interpreted Title IX as requiring that schools treat transgender students "consistent with their gender identity." The outcome of this opinion will likely turn on whether the Court believes that the Department's interpretation of Title IX is entitled to deference, and to what extent. The School Board appeals from a divided panel of the Fourth Circuit that held in favor of the Plaintiff, Gavin Grimm.
Posted By: Charles Fine
Credits: https://www.oyez.org/cases/2016/15-497, http://www.npr.org/2016/10/31/500097634/service-dog-case-draws-skepticism-from-both-sides-at-the-supreme-court, https://www.oyez.org/cases/2016/15-827, http://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/co/2016/09/29/u-s-supreme-court-takes-up-douglas-county-case-centered-on-serving-students-with-disabilities/#.WBqdR5grIyk, https://www.oyez.org/cases/2016/16-273, http://www.bricker.com/documents/misc/transgender_student_restroom_access_1-2015.pdf, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/29/us/politics/supreme-court-to-rule-in-transgender-access-case.html?_r=0, http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/terms/ot2016/.
Photo Credit: https://www.aoc.gov/projects/supreme-court-west-facade-restoration