Endrew v. Douglas County Nominated for Case of the Year

U.S. Supreme Court ruling sets higher standard for special education

Editor’s Note: This is the second of three articles focused on the CTLA’s Case of the Year Award Winners. The third will be published in the May 7 issue.

A landmark decision for disability rights and special education in public schools is one of three finalists for the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association’s Case of the Year Award.

In Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that students with special needs and disabilities are entitled to a higher standard of education. It held that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that a school create an individual education plan that is “reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.” The standard for schools to receive funding through IDEA is that they provide “free appropriate public education” through IEPs.

Endrew was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years old. He attended school in Douglas County through fourth grade, when his parents felt his learning had stalled.

They felt that the IEP provided for him by the school for fifth grade didn’t reflect any growth or learning challenges. They enrolled Endrew in Firefly Autism in Denver in 2010, and he made significant progress.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the April 30, 2017 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.