Special Education Law and Stay Put
as of May, 21st 2015
Third Circuit Rules “Stay Put” Extends Through Appeals, Supreme Court, Denies Certiorari
An important right under the IDEA is a student’s right to “stay put.” This means that when a disagreement between the parents and school district arises in regard to a student’s educational needs, the student has the right to remain in their current educational placement or program until the dispute is resolved. This includes students placed outside of district programs. If the school district attempts to change placement to a district placement or reduce services and the parent disagrees, stay put allows the child to remain in that placement at public cost while due process proceedings are pending.
A recent Third Circuit case, Ridley School District v. M.R., has determined that stay put extends to appeals in addition to the initial due process proceedings. Moreover, stay put extends to the completion of “any proceeding” pursuant to the IDEA and related federal claims. Ridley School District petitioned the Supreme Court to review this expansive interpretation of stay put, but upon review of a requested brief from the Solicitor General, the Supreme Court agreed that the statutory language allowing for stay put is unambiguous and does in fact extend to judicial appeals. Accordingly, the Supreme Court denied further review of the Third Circuit case. Ultimately, Ridley School District v. M.R. and subsequent denial of certiorari strengthens the protections parents have when they turn to the courts to resolve the educational needs of their children.