High Court to Decide Who Must Prove Case in Special Ed. Disputes
When it comes to the legal fight over special education that they have waged for the past seven years, Joceyln S. and Martin P. Schaffer and their Maryland school district don’t agree on much.
But the two sides do see eye to eye on this: With the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last week to review the Schaffers’ case, the dispute suddenly has the potential to shape the outcome of clashes over special education between parents and public schools across the nation for years to come.
At issue before the high court in Schaffer v. Weast (Case No. 04-698) is which side bears the legal burden of proof when parents and school districts disagree over the services or placement that children with disabilities require. With the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act silent on that question, judges in federal and state courts repeatedly have come...
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