FAPE--A Free and Appropriate Public Education
FAPE is the acronym which stands for “Free and Appropriate Public Education.” After the PARC decision, Congress passed the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. FAPE is a huge part of this act. This is probably the most important part of IDEA.
The idea of a free and appropriate publicly funded education is interesting, and also a bit vague; who determines what is appropriate? What happens when the school and the parents don’t agree? What happens if the parents think a child is not getting needed services? What happens if the parents think their child could be reaching higher educational goals in a different classroom, or a different school? What if a school does not have the resources to deal with a severely disabled student? How much is open to interpretation?
There are more questions than answers. The courts have, however, answered some. Below is a brief summary of some of the more pivotal (or just plain interesting) cases which focus on FAPE. One point to note: In every case I read, the reason a school district was a defendant in an lawsuit regarding a student with a disability was due to the district not providing a free and appropriate public education. Much of the time the students and the parents won the cases, and the districts were held liable for damages.
Click on a link below to read my summaries of some of the landmark FAPE cases.
Timothy W v. Rochester School District
Board of Education v. Rowley
Daniel R.R. v. State Board of Education
Jarron Draper v. Atlanta Board of Education
Kevin T v. Elmhurst Community School District
(similar to Draper case)
Doe and Doe v. Withers IDELR224--if you read nothing else, read this!!
Irving Independent School District v. Tatro