OCTOBER TERM, 1998
certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the eighth circuit
No. 96-1793. Argued November 4, 1998—Decided March 3, 1999
To help "assure that all children with disabilities have available to them . . . a free appropriate public education which emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs," 20 U. S. C. § 1400(c), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) authorizes federal financial assistance to States that agree to provide such children with special education and "related services," as defined in § 1401(a)(17). Respondent Garret F., a student in petitioner school district (District), is wheelchair-bound and ventilator dependent; he therefore requires, in part, a responsible individual nearby to attend to certain physical needs during the schoolday. The District declined to accept financial responsibility for the services Garret needs, believing that it was not legally obligated to provide continuous one-on-one nursing care. At an Iowa Department of Education hearing, an Administrative Law Judge concluded that the IDEA required the District to bear financial responsibility for all of the disputed services, finding that most of them are already provided for some other students; that the District did not contend that only a licensed physician could provide the services; and that applicable federal regulations require the District to furnish "school health services," which are provided by a "qualified school nurse or other qualified person," but not "medical services," which are limited to services provided by a physician. The Federal District Court agreed and the Court of Appeals affirmed, concluding that Irving Independent School Dist. v. Tatro, 468 U. S. 883, provided a two-step analysis of § 1401(a)(17)'s "related services" definition that was satisfied here. First, the requested services were "supportive services" because Garret cannot attend school unless they are provided; and second, the services were not excluded as "medical services" under Tatro's bright-line test: Services provided by a physician (other than for diagnostic and evaluation purposes) are subject to the medical services exclusion, but services that can be provided by a nurse or qualified layperson are not.
Held: The IDEA requires the District to provide Garret with the nursing services he requires during school hours. The IDEA's "related services" definition, Tatro, and the overall statutory scheme support thePage: Index 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Next
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