If the court were to adopt Moorestown’s position, privately enrolled children with disabilities would not have available to them a free, appropriate public education. Parents would have to enroll their child in public school with no information about the type of program the district may offer, where the child may be placed, or even if the district’s IEP would constitute a FAPE. The child would risk losing his place at the private school without any guarantee that the district would provide an appropriate education. This presents a particularly troubling scenario for parents who withdrew their child from public school in the first place due to concerns that the district was not providing a FAPE. Should the parents take the risk, re-enroll their child in the district and then find the public school unable to provide him with a FAPE, the child may have lost his place at the private school and must pursue relief through the administrative review process.Moorestown tried to settle during the trial for $75,000 but the parents held out. In the end, the court ruled that Moorestown was responsible for IEP’s, evaluations, court costs, and, in the end, tuition at Orchard Friends. Noted the Court,
In the final analysis, Moorestown shucks the word “enroll” from applicable statutory and regulatory provisions to make its case. Such sophism is troubling. Since M.D.’s disabled status and residency were known to the District, Moorestown’s requirement that he enroll in the public school before he would be considered for special education services served no purpose other than to circumscribe the District’s IDEA obligations and provisions of FAPE. Such unnecessary procedural hurdles frustrate IDEA’s broad remedial purpose. They become even more indefensible when they put parents and children in “Zugswang.” Clearly, Congress intended collaboration, not gamesmanship.*Zugswang: "a situation where one player is put at a disadvantage because he has to make a move when he would prefer to pass and make no move. The fact that the player must make a move means that his position will be significantly weaker than the hypothetical one in which it was his opponent's turn to move."
Labels: special education