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Ninth Circuit Ruling: Special Education Student Not Protected By Furlough of Teachers


Government Law-
Where state decided to shut down public schools and furlough teachers on
17 dates, and student sought an injunction claiming violation of the
stay-put provision of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,
which provides that a child shall remain in the then-current education
placement during the pendency of any proceedings, state teachers
association, which signed contract agreeing state may implement
furloughs, was not a necessary party since relief requested–keeping
schools open, but not addressing staffing–would not render contract
illegal and would not affect a legally protected interest held by the
association. Plaintiff challenging shutdowns was not required to exhaust
administrative remedies given the time-sensitive nature of the right to
remain in the current educational placement, which the IDEA was designed
to protect. District court considering injunction request was not
required to apply the stay-put provision’s automatic injunction standard
rather than the preliminary injunction balancing test, and court did not
err in concluding that the balance of the equities did not tip in favor
of the plaintiffs. Plaintiff was unlikely to prevail on the merits
because IDEA’s stay-put provisions do not apply to system-wide changes
in public schools that affect disabled and nondisabled children alike,
and district court did not err in denying injunction.
N. D. v. State of Hawaii Department of Education – filed April 5,
Cite as 09-17543
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