Friday, September 24, 2004

The Burden We Bear

The Hunts wanted an extended school year for their son, Jason, who was diagnosed as having (1) double spastice him;legic cerebral palsy with greater right sided involvement and (2) delayed cognitive and communication development. The hearing officer held that he was not entitled to that relief. On administrative appeal, the Appeal Board overturned the hearing officer's decision and held that Jason was entitled to an extended school year so that he could obtain a free adequate public education. The School District sought review in federal court. The district court affirmed the decision of the Appeal Board, and the School District appealed to the Sixth Circuit. The Sixth Circuit held that the Appeal Board had committed legal error by failing to place the burden of proof on the proponent of an extended school year, i.e., the Hunts. The Court remanded the case to the district court for a full hearing on the issues raised by the parties, noting that the burden of proof of showing an entitlement to the extended school year program and the denial of FAPE should be placed on the Hunts. The decision in Kenton County School District v. Hunt can be found here.


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