Forest Grove School District v. T. A.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Forest Grove School District v. T.A.
Argued April 28, 2009
Decided June 22, 2009
Full case nameForest Grove School District v. T.A.
Docket no.08-305
Citations557 U.S. 230 (more)
129 S. Ct. 2484; 174 L. Ed. 2d 168; 2009 U.S. LEXIS 4645
Case history
Prior640 F. Supp. 2d 1320 (D. Or. 2005); reversed, 523 F.3d 1078 (9th Cir. 2008); cert. granted, 555 U.S. 1130 (2009).
SubsequentOn remand, 675 F. Supp. 2d 1063 (D. Or. 2009); affirmed, 638 F.3d 1234 (9th Cir. 2011); cert. denied, 565 U.S. 1185 (2012).
Court membership
Chief Justice
John Roberts
Associate Justices
John P. Stevens · Antonin Scalia
Anthony Kennedy · David Souter
Clarence Thomas · Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Stephen Breyer · Samuel Alito
Case opinions
MajorityStevens, joined by Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito
DissentSouter, joined by Scalia, Thomas
Laws applied
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. § 1400

Forest Grove School District v. T. A., 557 U.S. 230 (2009), is a case in which the United States Supreme Court held that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) authorizes reimbursement for private special education services when a public school fails to provide a "free appropriate public education" (FAPE) and the private school placement is appropriate, regardless of whether the child previously received special education services through the public school.[1]


T.A. attended public school in the Forest Grove School District in Forest Grove, Oregon, from kindergarten through the winter term of his junior year in high school. In high school T.A. had difficulty with his schoolwork, but the school determined that T.A. did not qualify for special education services. In 2003 T.A. was diagnosed with ADHD and a number of learning disabilities. Subsequently, T.A. was enrolled in a private school that focused on special needs children.[1]

Opinion of the Court[edit]

Justice Stevens held that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act did not categorically bar reimbursement of private education tuition if a child had not previously received special education and related services through the school.[1] The court remanded the case back to the United States District Court for the District of Oregon to determine if the family at issue was then entitled to reimbursement.[2]


Justice Souter filed a dissent joined by Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas. Justice Souter argued that School Comm. of Burlington v. Department of Ed. of Mass., 471 U.S. 359 (1985), was controlling and IDEA prohibits reimbursement if the school district has made a free appropriate public education available.

Subsequent history[edit]

In December 2009, federal district court judge Michael W. Mosman determined the family was not eligible for reimbursement under the IDEA.[3][2] The parents in the case had sent their son to Mount Bachelor Academy due to behavioral problems and the use of drugs.[2] Mosman ruled that the special reason for the special education, behavioral issues and drug use, were not disabilities covered under federal law, and the parents had not listed ADHD when applying to the academy.[2] The parents appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit, which upheld Judge Mosman's ruling.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Forest Grove School District v. T. A., 557 U.S. 230 (2009).
  2. ^ a b c d Owen, Wendy (December 14, 2009). "Judge says Forest Grove family doesn't qualify for special needs reimbursement". The Oregonian. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  3. ^ Forest Grove School District v. T. A., 675 F. Supp. 2d 1063 (D. Or. 2009).
  4. ^ Forest Grove School District v. T. A., 638 F.3d 1234 (9th Cir. 2011).

External links[edit]