Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Breaking: Supreme Court To Hear Special Ed Case #SupremeCourt #ServiceDog #Exhaustion

The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear Fry v Napoleon Community Schools, #15-497.  It is a service dog case. Unfortunately, however, the issue before the court has very little to do with service dogs and the rights of kids with disabilities to have service dogs in school. Instead the issue is the more legalistic one of exhaustion of administrative remedies. 

The parent brought the case under §504 and ADA. The District Court dismissed the complaint because the parents had not exhausted administrative remedies by first having an IDEA hearing. The Sixth Circuit affirmed by a 2-1 vote.  After requesting a brief from the Solicitor General, the Supremes granted certiorari yesterday. The Court will hear argument on the case in the fall term.

Here is a news report about the case. This is the case page on the SCOTUS blog.  Here is our previous post on this case. Stay tuned.


  1. To require a parent to first “exhaust all administrative remedies” under I.D.E.A. at the local or state level before they can seek due process in a real court of law on an issue that involves a public agency (school district) denying their child’s rights and protections under the A.D.A. and Section 504 is wrong. It doesn’t work that well in the real world. For too many parents the I.D.E.A. is the very mechanism used by some unscrupulous school districts to trap parents and their children at the administrative level for months and months, sometimes over a year, while the child is denied any and all access to education and services or may be sitting at home for a year waiting for a due process hearing at the administrative level to conclude. I.D.E.A. is used by some school districts as a sword instead of the shield Congress intended it to be. Parents exhaust their finances and emotions trying to get through the required due process proceeding at the administrative level while the school district utilizes the “stay put” provision of the I.D.E.A. to keep your child trapped in the very I.E.P. the parents disagree with. It took us 15 months to finally get through the “administrative exhaustion requirement” before we could file in “real court”. How fair of a hearing do you think the parents get when the administrative law judge is under a continuous contract and on the payroll of the school districts. Many of them have NEVER ruled in a parent’s favor. Push too much for your child’s rights to an I.D.E.A. or A.D.A./504 due process hearing at the administrative level and you might find yourself and your child being subjected to incredible and disgusting retaliation. Just because a child has a disability does not make it fair to subject them to “administrative requirements” that are not also imposed on non-disabled children whose parents may disagree with a school district about the education their child is or is not receiving. It is discriminatory to impose that extra step on a child because they are different or have a different need.