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and participation in a social skills “lunch bunch” program.  These services were in addition to the increased inclusion supports proposed in the March 2010 to March 2011 IEP.  The parents also rejected the May 2010 to March 2011 IEP. (Exhibits S-2 and 3 and testimony of Medaglio, Benn and Ryan’s mother)


Ryan is an individual with a disability falling within the purview of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 USC 1400 et seq. and the state special education statute, MGL c. 71B.  The IDEA was enacted “to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free, appropriate public education [FAPE] that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living.”7  FAPE must be provided in the least restrictive environment.  The phrase “least restrictive environment” means that, to the maximum extent appropriate for the particular student, the educational services are to be provided with other students who do not have a disability.8

FAPE does not require a school district to provide special education and related services that will maximize a student’s educational potential.9  Similarly, the educational services need not be “the only appropriate choice, or the choice of certain selected experts, or the child’s parents’ first choice, or even the best choice.”10

A student’s right to FAPE is assured through the development and implementation of the individualized education program (“IEP”).11  Each IEP must be “custom tailored to address the handicapped child’s unique needs in a way reasonably calculated to enable the child to receive educational benefits.”12  The appropriateness of the IEP is judged as of the time when it is proposed - that is, whether the IEP was “objectively reasonable at the time it was promulgated.”13

An IEP must be developed which is “reasonably calculated to enable the child to receive educational benefits.”14  The IDEA further requires that special education and related services be designed to result in progress that is “effective”.15

7 20 USC 1400(d)(1)(A). See also 20 USC 1412(a)(1)(A).

8 20 USC 1400(d)(1)(A); 20 USC 1412(a)(1)(A); 20 USC 1412(a)(5)(A); MGL c. 71B, sections 2, 3; 34 CFR 300.114(a)(2)(i); 603 CMR 28.06(2)(C)

9 Bd. Of Educ. of the Hendrick Hudson Central Sch. Dist. v.Rowley, 458 U.S. 176, 197, n.21 (1982) (“Whatever Congress meant by an “appropriate” education, it is clear that it did not mean a potential-maximizing education.”).

10 G.D. v. Westmoreland Sch. Dist., 930 F.2d 942, 948 (1st Cir. 1991).

11 20 USC 1414(d)(1)(A)(i)(I)-(III); Honig v. Doe, 484 U.S. 305, 311-12 (1998)

12 Lenn v. Portland Sch. Comm., 998 F.2d 1083, 1086 (1st Cir. 1993)

13 Roland v. Concord Sch. Comm, 910 F.2d. 983, 992 (1st Cir. 1990)

14 Rowley, 458 U.S. at 207,

15 20 USC 1400(d)(4)

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