Victory: Federal Court Decision on Residential Placement

Cassady Law achieved a federal court victory requiring a school district to reimburse our clients for a therapeutic residential placement. This ruling will affect many students with profound mental health needs and other disabilities who need to be placed in residential treatment schools in order to receive a free appropriate public education in a therapeutic setting. Our firm prevailed in a due process hearing for our clients, and the school district appealed in federal court seeking to overturn the decision. While the school district argued that such a placement was solely for medical reasons, the judge found that just because a student could be capable of learning in general education without support if he had no disability, does not mean that the support given was solely medical. The judge also explained that the related services provision of the IDEA covers psychological services, social work, therapeutic recreation, counseling, and medication management. The student needed all of these services in a residential setting in order to address truancy and elopement, which directly impacted his learning.

Judge Lasnik wrote, “Having failed to provide an appropriate public education from which [the Student] could derive any educational benefit, the district is financially responsible for the appropriate residential placement the parents were forced to find on their own.”  Edmonds School District v. A.T., Western District of Washington C16-1500 RSL (November 7, 2017).