FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
UNION OF ORTHODOX JEWISH CONGREGATIONS WELCOMES SUPREME COURT RULING COMPELLING STATE SUPPORT FOR NON-PUBLIC SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENTS
Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization – applauded a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court requiring the New York City school system to reimburse the parents of a learning disabled student for the cost of their child’s special education program at a non-public school.
The Supreme Court issued a brief opinion in the case, Bd. of Educ. of New York City v. Tom F., in which it affirmed the decision of the lower federal court in favor of the parent by virtue of a 4-4 vote on the high court; Justice Kennedy did not participate in the case.
The issue in the case was whether, under the terms of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), parents of learning disabled students must first enroll a learning disabled child in a public school which is then demonstrated to be incapable of serving the child’s learning needs before the parents can enroll the child in a suitable non-public school program and receive government reimbursement for the non-public school tuition costs. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled for the parents in its consideration of this case – and its decision was affirmed this morning.
Nathan J. Diament, director of public policy for the UOJCA stated:
The Orthodox Jewish community applauds the Supreme Court’s ruling today. By summarily affirming the Second Circuit opinion, the high court has kept a just and equitable policy in place for learning disabled children and their parents across the United States. The federal IDEA law guarantees a “free and appropriate…education” to all children with learning disabilities and no parent should be forced to enroll their child in an inadequate school as a precondition for getting their child the educational program the IDEA promises them. This is an important precedent for educational opportunity and freedom for all Americans.