The fact that the facility selected by the parents to provide special education services to the child is not approved as a school for children with disabilities by the State is not dispositive of the parents’ claim for reimbursement.
The Supreme Court affirmed the stay-put pendency mandate designed to establish degree of stability for the child. The court ruled that authorities cannot move students from the last agreed upon placement without a due process hearing.
The Court ruled that a board of education may be required to pay the expenses of disabled children enrolled in private programs, if it has been decided that such a placement is necessary to provide the child with an appropriate education in the least restrictive environment.
This landmark first decision in a special education case by the U.S. Supreme Court defined free appropriate public education. The decision states, "schools who let one criterion, such as specific disability, automatically determine the placement are likely to be held in violation of federal law." Individual decisions based on the specific needs of each child were deemed essential under federal law.