A.D. v. State of Hawaii Dep’t of Educ.

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Disability Law
  • Date Filed: 08-14-2013
  • Case #: 12-17610
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge D.W. Nelson for the Court; Circuit Judges Farris and Nguyen
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act’s “stay-put” provision, a child shall remain in his current educational placement during the pendency of any proceedings; the injunctive qualities of the stay-put provision apply to challenges to the legality of a State’s law, “prohibiting changes to a student’s educational placement until the legal dispute is resolved.”

Under Hawaii’s Act 163, “[n]o person who is twenty years of age or over on the first instructional day of the school year shall be eligible to attend a public school,” and those turning 20 after the first day of school remain eligible until the end of the “full school year.” A.D., a severely disabled student, turned 20 in May 2011, resulting in the Hawaii Department of Education issuing a formal notice that his special education placement would end with the 2010–2011 school year. A.D. challenged the termination of his services and the legality of Act 163. The “stay put” provision refers to 20 U.S.C. § 1415(j)’s proclamation that students with existing special education placement filing a complaint under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) are entitled to remain, or “stay put,” in that placement until their case is decided. Stay put “functions as an ‘automatic’ preliminary injunction” in IDEA cases by barring changes to the student’s educational placement until the dispute is resolved. This appeal determined whether the “stay-put” provision applied to students “who have exceeded a state imposed age limit on eligibility for public education.” The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s order that A.D. was entitled to remain in his special-education placement awaiting resolution of his challenge against Act 163. The IDEA’s “stay-put” provision applied, even for a student who had exceeded the state imposed age limit on eligibility for public education, because at the time A.D. filed his complaint, he was still fully eligible for public special education under Hawaii law. Thus, the stay-put provision enjoined Hawaii from invoking Act 163 to alter A.D.’s placement, and the district court was correct to grant A.D.’s motion for stay put. AFFIRMED.

Advanced Search