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ATG NEWS RELEASE: Ninth Circuit rules in state’s favor in case under the federal individuals with Disabilities Education Act

Posted on Aug 30, 2017 in Latest Department News

HONOLULU – The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act does not require identification of a particular school for delivery of special education services within a student’s individualized education program in every instance, Attorney General Doug Chin announced.

According to the opinion, parents of an Oahu special education student, after notifying the State Department of Education (DOE) of plans to move to a new school district, sued the DOE. The parents’ lawsuit was based on their allegation that the DOE violated federal law by not identifying a new school for delivery of special education services in the student’s individualized education program. As the opinion notes, the DOE’s requests for the student’s new address were, for months, ignored. Hawaii senior federal Judge Helen W. Gillmor ultimately ruled in favor of the DOE and the parents appealed.

In yesterday’s decision, a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled that the requirement of a “location” under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act means that educational agencies must identify, within a student’s individualized education program, the general setting or type of environment in which special education services will be provided. It does not mean, however, that a particular school must be identified in every instance.

Attorney Jay S. Handlin argued on behalf of the parents. The State of Hawaii was represented by Deputy Attorneys General Gary Suganuma and Kalikoʻonalani D. Fernandes.

A copy of the decision, Rachel H. v. Department of Education, State of Hawaii, is attached.

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For more information, contact:

Joshua A. Wisch

Special Assistant to the Attorney General

(808) 586-1284

Email: [email protected]


Twitter: @ATGHIgov