Supreme Court sides with Colorado family, bolstering rights of learning-disabled students

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is bolstering the rights of learning-disabled students in a ruling that requires public schools to offer special education programs that meet higher standards.

The justices on Wednesday unanimously sided with parents of an autistic teen in Colorado who said their public school did not do enough to help their son make progress. They sought reimbursement for the cost of sending him to private school.

Wednesday afternoon, the Douglas County School District issued a statement saying in part that while the district respects the decision of the Supreme Court, "the Court did not hold that Douglas County School District failed to meet the new standard, or say that DCSD can't proceed to prove that it met that standard in the Endrew F. matter." 

The case helps clarify the scope of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a federal law that requires a "free and appropriate public education" for disabled students. Lower courts said even programs with minimal benefits can satisfy the law.

Disability advocacy groups argued that schools must offer more than the bare minimum of services to children with special needs.

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