I.R. v. L.A. U.S.D., No. 13-56211 (9th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
California Education Code 56346(f) requires school districts to initiate a due process hearing if the school district determines that a portion of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to which a parent does not consent is necessary to provide a child with a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400–1450. The ALJ concluded that the district offered an appropriate placement but Mother's refusal to consent prevented the district from implementing and providing a FAPE. I.R. appealed, but the district court affirmed. The court concluded that the district court erred in concluding that the district could not initiate a due process hearing to address Mother's refusal to the IEP's recommended placement. In this case, the district waited a year and a half before initiating a hearing, which the court determined was too long a period of time. Therefore, to the extent that I.R. lost an educational opportunity and was deprived of educational benefits for an unreasonably prolonged period, the district can be held responsible for denying her a FAPE for that unreasonably prolonged period. The court reversed and remanded.