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Autism Speaks Applauds Supreme Court Decision Upholding Families' Right to Challenge IEPs Without First Trying Out School District Proposed Placement
Date:10/10/2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- By a vote of 4-4, the Supreme Court today upheld the Second Circuit Court decision in the case of Board of Education of City of New York v. Tom F., 06-637, thereby affirming parents' statutory right to challenge a school district's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) without first "trying out" the school district's proposed placement. The New York City Department of Education had argued that even if the child's IEP is demonstrably inappropriate, a parent should not have standing to challenge their child's IEP unless the parent has first "tried out" the school district's IEP.

"Today the court affirmed the danger of making students try out an inappropriate school district program. Students who need early intervention do not have time to waste," said Gary Mayerson, an Autism Speaks board member and founder of law firm Mayerson & Associates. "School districts need to fulfill their statutory responsibility to create an appropriate IEP for every child with a disability or to pay for that student to attend an appropriate private school."

Autism Speaks filed an amicus brief in the case, focusing on the critical nature of early intervention for children with autism. The brief explained why parents of children with autism should not be forced to "try out" demonstrably inappropriate and ineffective IEP programs during what may well be a relatively narrow window of opportunity. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg quoted from the brief during oral argument. The brief was prepared as part of The Autism Speaks Federal Legal Appeals Project (FLAP), a national pro bono initiative assembled and directed by Mayerson for Autism Speaks. To date, approximately ten national profile law firms, including Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, have joined the FLAP committee with commitments to provide significant pro bono legal services at the federal level. Akin Gump attorneys Robert H. Pees, Michael D. Lockard, Amanda R. Johnson, Sunish Gulati and Ev
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SOURCE Autism Speaks
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