STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES ARE ENTITLED TO MORE THAN A DE MINIMIS EDUCATION

In a unanimous 8-0 decision, the United States Supreme Court has struck down a 10th Circuit ruling which held that a child who has disabilities and receives an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is receiving an adequate education as long as the educational benefit is more than “de minimis.” In Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, decided March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court analyzed the purpose of IEP’s for students with disabilities. The Court stated “The IEP must aim to enable the child to make progress. After all, the essential function of an IEP is to set out a plan for pursuing academic and functional advancement.” This ruling emphasizes the fact that each child is an individual with varying needs, and that “an IEP is not a form document.” The Court’s decision requires school districts to offer students with disabilities an education which is meaningful for the child and applicable to his or her specific needs.