NYLJ:Hearing Must Determine If Girl With Learning Disabilities Was Deprived of “Free and Appropriate Education” by Constant Bullying

T.K. v. New York City Dept. of Edu., 10-CV-00752

This case presents the largely unresolved issue of the extent to which bullying by other students inhibits a disabled child from being educated appropriately, and what her school must do about it. A strict legal test is developed and applied. Plaintiff L.K. acting through her parents, challenges her public school placement by the New York City Department of Education (“DOE”) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. After exhausting her administrative remedies, she brings this action arguing that the placement was procedurally and substantively inappropriate, and her parents seek reimbursement for private school tuition. The DOE moves for summary judgment. The primary complaint is that L.K. was deprived of an appropriate education because her assigned public school did nothing to prevent her from being so bullied by other students as to seriously reduce the opportunity for an appropriate education. Such a contention, under the Individuals with Disability Education Act (“IDEA”) provisions that require a proper school placement and appropriate education, apparently have not yet been ruled upon by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. For the reasons stated below, the issue requires a court evidentiary hearing, and, a possible remand to the state authorities for a rehearing.

Read the full text of decision here (requires free registration).

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