Committee Reports

Z.Q. v. NYC Amicus Brief


The Education and the Law Committee filed an amicus brief in the Second Circuit arguing that plaintiffs-appellants (parents of children with disabilities) should not be required to exhaust administrative remedies before pursuing judicial relief for violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. § 1401, et. seq., because they are not seeking individualized relief but, rather, systemic changes in the NYC public schools to ensure that students with disabilities and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are provided with adequate services in compliance with federal law. The IDEA requires states to implement procedures to ensure provision of a FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) to students with disabilities, in order to receive federal supporting funds. In challenging NYC Department of Education’s neglect of students’ needs, members of the plaintiff class do not raise individualized concerns (which would properly be subject to the exhaustion of administrative remedies provision of the IDEA (§1415)) but, rather, their claims charge New York with failing to meet the mandate of §1412, which conditions receipt of federal funds on development of a system that provides every eligible child a FAPE. While the plaintiffs here allege that they have not received a FAPE, the relief sought is not individualized, and is therefore distinguishable from cases in which exhaustion has been required.