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Removing Special Needs Student with Dangerous Propensities during Due Process Hearing May Not Violate Stay-Put Provisions of the IDEA

In the case of N.L. ex rel. C.L. v. Springboro Community City School Dist., 119 LRP 20931 (S.D.Ohio 2019), a federal district court held that a public school did not violate the stay-put provisions of the Individuals With Disabilities in Education Act (“IDEA”) when the public school demonstrated that a special needs student was a danger to himself and others.

In this case, a student was diagnosed with autism and displayed several behavioral issues including kicking staff members, destroying school property, leaving school grounds, and verbally threatening all of these behaviors. After repeated instances of these behaviors over several school years, the public school sought to change the student’s placement but the student’s parent refused the change of placement. Both the public school and the parent filed separate due process complaints against each other regarding the student’s placement. An impartial hearing officer entered an order placing the student in a private autism school as the student’s “interim alternative education setting.” The parent filed an emergency motion with a federal district court to prevent the impartial hearing officer’s order under the stay-put provisions of the IDEA.

The stay-put provisions of the IDEA provide that “during the pendency of any proceedings conducted” under the IDEA, “‘the child shall remain in the then-current educational placement of the child.’” N.L. at 3. However, the appellate court went on to find that a public school could overcome the stay-put provisions of the IDEA “by showing that maintaining the child in his or her current placement is substantially likely to result in injury either to himself or herself, or to others.” N.L. at 4. Because the student in this case demonstrated several dangerous propensities toward himself and others, the appellate court held that the public school had not violated the stay-put provisions of the IDEA.

To read this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.

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